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An Interview with Kim D. Brandon

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Kim D. Brandon is a Poet/Artist/Activist/Storyteller. Her work has been included in stage performances, anthologies, and journals. She is a 2021 Brooklyn Poets’ Poet of the Week, and a VONA alum. Her poem “Love On the Front Line” was nominated for Best Of the Net. She has attended Women of Color Writers, Wild Seed Retreats and Cave Canem Writers Workshops. She is the founder of Brooklyn Society Writers group and the host of writing workshops for people of color. This year her work centers on the revolutionary power of Black love. A Joe for Annie Mae, her upcoming novel, highlights the transformative power of love in the lives of those who seek it. She is hoping to publish her first poetry collection in 2024.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I started writing poems when I was very young. Later in my teen years, I discovered James Baldwin. I remember loving the way that he made space for my experiences in his writing. It was a gentle power to his work. I read everything from him that I could get my hand on looking back I realize I had no idea of the depth of his work and now as an adult I’m still growing into his powerful work.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

I started writing Red Honey as a waystation to inspire my community to find the sweet joy in waiting and the power in it. Sometimes in making do there is a richness that is sometimes overlooked while wishing for better days. Finding the honey requires, appreciating all the actions we take to survive until we can thrive.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title Red Honey came to me while listening to a story about the different colors of honey, especially the ingenuity of bees when they can’t find the right flowers. How they will sip on red dyed syrups and even anti-freeze. This will turn the honey all different spectacular colors, much of it is rancid to the taste, but it keeps the hive alive until a bounty a resources can be found. In my own life, I so relate to the things that are necessary to do until we can thrive.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

The soundtrack would include Tracy Chapman’s “All That You Have Is Your Soul” and any and every song by Stevie Wonder and James Brown. It would also include Ray Charles singing “America,” and then, if I am to be honest, I’d have to include some lowdown blues.

Describe your dream book cover.

My dream cover would be red, and it would be a collage with a jar of honey, all in different shades of red, representations of the joy in the day today.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have had a long career in IT for financial institutions. I enjoyed that work. I think my readers wouldn’t know that my mind runs ahead of me most days. I am always trying to catch up and praying that my mind takes a nap.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I always enjoy reading from JP Howard’s collection of poems say/mirror. I love reading Cheryl Boyce Taylor’s work. Reading bell hooks’ All About Love keeps me centered.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

To embrace your whole self. My perfect reader is anyone who wants to own their history by embracing it.

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