“My name is Lang Leav. I am the author of the international best-selling books: Love & Misadventure, Lullabies and Memories. I was born in a refugee camp in Thailand where my parents were seeking refuge from the Khmer Rouge regime. We emigrated to Australia where I grew up in the low socio economic town of Cabramatta as a second generation migrant. I am currently based in beautiful New Zealand where I live by the sea with my partner and talented author, Michael Faudet.”
When reading her poetry, you are left with a soft welcoming embrace of passion and crude intimacy. Leav, who is currently one of the best selling young female poets out there, has opened a gate of inspiration throughout the world of upcoming aspiring writers and has built a solid readership with her flair and openness to discuss complex emotions which are relatable to people from all walks of life.
“I write about the intricacies of love and loss. My work takes complex emotions and translates them into simple, relatable pieces that resonate with thousands of people all over the world. My work is read and loved by people from all walks of life. It crosses over the boundaries of age, religion, ethnicity and gender”, Leav explains.
Bearing a strong passion for books and poetry, Leav admits her inspiration is hazardous and mildly jokes about her need to express emotions hopefully when she is within the vicinity of a pen. When I ask her how she began writing, she brings up her early years, explaining that poetry is something that tends to become ingrained in you in your formative years and follows subsequently in adult age.
Poetry is one of those things that you encounter very early on in your life. Whether it is Dr. Seuss or Shel Silverstein, it’s one of those things that will induct you into the wonderful world of literacy. Poetry tends to find you in your formative years and stay with you throughout. (Lang Leav)
Leav agrees that poetry has changed her life completely, and happily recalls the first encounter that drew her interest in writing: “I don’t remember the first poem I wrote but I do remember the first poem I fell in love with. It’s called ‘A Word is Dead’ by Emily Dickinson.”
Poetry has changed my life in a number of ways. I have always found it cathartic to be able to put my thoughts down on paper and often, have found solace in the work of other poets. Poetry has always been a constant companion in my life, whether I am writing or reading it. Now, with the success of my books, poetry has provided me with a living and the freedom to create more books. (Lang Leav)
She comments on the influence of the internet and social media becoming more and more important for upcoming artists to promote themselves and believes poetry, although now vastly found online, is still a personal resort that has to do with the act of putting words down on paper.
“Poetry is poetry. The internet is just another medium. I believe that social media is a great avenue for self-expression but the same rules apply to poetry as they do for any other piece of content. If you post something that people like, they will share it and the more people that do, the more viral it becomes. On the other hand, if people don’t connect with a piece of content, it will go nowhere. There is no magic trick to it, she claims. Leav admits, however, that the current state of things bring more support for creativity than not. “I have always held the firm belief that you should support what you love instead of bashing what you hate. One of my favourite authors, Ray Bradbury, puts it most succinctly: Those who don’t build must burn. It’s as old as history and juvenile delinquents. Poetry has existed long before the digital revolution and is still going strong today. In fact, in some countries, poetry book sales have never been better.“
Poetry is our most beautiful form of language. It expresses the inexpressible. Poetry is universal – it is the very essence of what makes us human. (Lang Leav)
How do you use social media/the web for your own work?
I use social media mainly as a means to interact with my readers who I love and adore. It is a great opportunity for me to listen to their stories and thank them personally for their kind support.
Who is your favorite digital poet?
Orion Carloto writes beautiful things and I hope she releases a book soon.
Do you notice a bigger interest in poetry?
Yes. When Love & Misadventure was first published in 2013, it was topping not only the poetry charts but in some cases, it outsold major fiction titles by established authors such as Paulo Cohelo and Gillian Flynn. I don’t think the success of my work really hit me until my first book tour, where hundreds waited in line for hours to have their books signed by me. Some even camped out overnight! The bookstores told me that it was the first poetry book that had ever caused such a sensation and has since sparked a new interest in poetry. Many of my readers tell me that through my work, they have discovered poets such as Emily Dickinson and Sara Teasdale and I think this is a wonderful thing.
What chances does the new era of digital poetry give female writers?
It is an amazing time for female writers to get their thoughts out into the world. I think the internet provides us with a great platform to have our voices heard. Whether that voice is conveyed through poetry, novels, blogs, music, humor, satire or art—the most important thing is for women to stand up and lead the conversation.
What new books do you have planned?
Recently, I completed the manuscript for my first novel Sad Girls, which my literary agent and team at Writers House, New York, are very excited about.
Your message to upcoming poets:
My mantra has always been:‘Your words are your power, never forget your words.’