Author’s Bio: Brenda D. Bunting is a socially conscious Poet and Educator, Spoken Word Artist and Workshop Facilitator. She is a Poet in Progress (PIP) through the DC Commission on Arts and Humanities headed by Poet Laureate Dolores Kendrick. She is a member of the Sanctuary’s multi-disciplinary team in Washington DC. A University of Kentucky alumna with her B.A. in English Brenda has been writing and performing poetry for over 30 years.
Published in newspapers, anthologies and journals Brenda knows the benefits and advocates for the therapeutic use of writing poetry for mental and emotional wellness and healing from traumatic events. Her book of poetry, "Poems of Love and Violence in between Life and Death 2nd Edition" is available for purchase on Amazon.com. She is an original member of the DC Poetry Project and a life member of the Kentucky State Poetry Society (KSPS).
What inspired you to write your book?
I had a lifelong dream of being a published author since I was 12 years old. When I was about 25 years old I got the title, “Poems of Love and Violence In Between Life and Death.” Because the themes of love and violence persisted in my life and I had been near death I knew that is what would be in my book. I was 49 years old when the first edition was published.
Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
As a young African American woman I fell in love with poetry when I heard it but it was not until tenth grade did I realize it was accessible to me. I heard Shakespeare and many old English gentlemen but when I heard Gwendolyn Brooks, “We Real Cool” my young mind was struck by the fact that her voice was valid in academia. Her voice was considered poetry. Her style was not a poetic form of de rigueur but it was about her experience. The message was just as important as the mode.
Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
This was my first book and although I have very old poems in the pages it took approximately two years from start to finish for completion. I knew exactly how I wanted the layout, the pictures and the flow. Because I have some experience with editing I was able to do everything myself. No one helped me with this book project. I have learned so much more since this first effort I was amazed to see how many people usually are involved in a book publication even if you do self publish.
Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically? Ever since I have heard of “The Muse” I knew that was what happened to me. I am suddenly inspired. Those are my best poems. While I may write from an outline or some such other prompt if inspiration does not come to me, the writing with be lackluster. I do not know how else to write. There is a Muse.
Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book? I never listen to music when I write but I may be inspired by music. The music that inspires me the most is Classical and Jazz.
What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
I have a very supportive company where I work and when the CEO found out I published a book of poems I had my first book signing at my company. My boss bought 115 copies of my book. Aside from that an author should have a concrete plan, not thoughts, no vague feelings but an actual plan. Talk to family and friends about purchasing your book. Write a great press release. Have at least five places you are able to have a book signing or author event. Have a couple of scripted and prepared speeches about your book. Investigate having reader reviews. Don’t lose faith in your book and what you have accomplished. Keep rebranding your book and yourself.
What advice would you give to new authors? Know what you want to accomplish by writing the book. Have a realistic expectation about what is going to happen after you put the pen down. Very few players go to the big leagues so if you solely want commercial success then you should research the subject matter and what is popular and move in that direction. If you are writing a memoir to work through something or something else think about who else do you want to share your book with and find the niche.
How about sharing an excerpt from Poems of Love and Violence In Between Life and Death 2nd Edition?
Love to Resurrect
Stark is the harsh cry of winter winds,
They lash into tender and vulnerable skin,
Making memories of sunshine and friends,
Fade into despair.
When I first reached out,
To touch you to love you and to hug you,
Your attitude was forget me and you
It’s too late. I am dead.
Your thorns cut me so deeply.
I bleed red and you see me,
With tears of hope and needing
To comfort you somehow
I know a dying flower,
Can resurrect in hours,
Good earth, hot sun, rain showers,
Can bloom for ever on
Please reach out just touch me,
Don’t be afraid of loving.
I’m not the one, who’s cutting,
Down flowers for graveyards
I want to see you flourish,
To rise again be nourished,
With all the care and courage,
It takes to love again.
Then there will come the season,
You will understand the reason,
To know your suffering’s meaning,
Was to make your joy so strong
Your scars are healed and covered,
An inner strength’s discovered,
Come laugh with me my lover,
In the meadow green of spring
What’s next for you?
I will be presenting my original work at the Bridgewater International Poetry Conference January 12-15, 2017 at Bridgewater College in Virginia. I will be presented as a PIP poet in Washington DC in April 2017. I am working on my next book and continuing to perform public and private events.
Where can readers find out more about you and your book(s)?
- Website: www.gigsalad.com/brenda_bunting_silver_spring
- Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com Brenda Bunting
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BDBpoet
- Twitter: @Beerunner1964
DL: It’s been a pleasure having you here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.
BB: Thank you Dee for having me and I appreciate the opportunity to be featured on your blog!