Katie Clark interviews Adrian Rojas

So I first read your work on Maudlin House and I’m curious: what is your relationship with the poems in that set (wonderfully titled “SOME *DRAKE VOICE* TINGS I WROTE AFTER I THOUGHT FOR A SECOND“)?

i tend to write a lot about my anxiety, which, as i’m sure countless others can attest to, is often an overwhelming sensation to deal w. that particular collection was more-or-less a reflection of how anxiety has impacted me in my relationships with others (relationships are complicated as fricking heck!!!).

i tend to have a hard time focusing on a particular theme or motif, so i feel like a lot of things i write can often be non-linear in their approach and execution, which was the case in these poems. so there’s non sequiturs and unfinished thoughts in my writing, and that used to be hecka frustrating for me when creating work (professional or passion). but the inability to center on just (1) feeling is something i’m finally learning to embrace. by doing away w whatever rigidity i tried to impose on myself in the past, i feel like i’m finally able to talk abt myself in a way that reflects how i actually think and feel. (uh, which is disorganized as hell lol.)

AR Maudlin

What makes you want to create?

arguably my best and tightest skill is “””not being able to open up to people”””. but i feel like over the past couple of years i’ve been able to look at myself differently w the help of poetry and social media. they’ve kinda served as not just an extension of myself (sometimes serious, mostly not), but also an outlet to just talk through things out loud. it’s just good to say to words sometimes.

I hear that. I’m glad you’re saying words. Having read through a good bit of your twitter, I definitely see what you mean. What is the role of silliness or ridiculousness in your life, by way of creating and simply day-to-day experience? 

Adrian Rojas: silliness is a big part of my life in a lot of regards. it’s strange because how i present myself Online™ is different than how i am IRL. so i guess having that medium by which to be a caricature of myself allows me to talk about problems without being abrasive or direct, which is something i feel pretty uncomfortable doing. so when i’m on twitter asking people to pay attention to me “because i am extremely hot and deserve it,” it comes from a real space where maybe im feeling dysmorphic. i just rly like towing the line of “is this real or not lol?” on social media spaces because sometimes absurdity is the best way to get real points across (not like in a boring-ass samuel beckett way, but like in a das racist way) without taking oneself too seriously or self-triggering trauma.

(quick sidebar: das racist is/was such a major influence on me. they made me appreciate my brownness in ways i never did before, and their activism via absurdity is so slept on.)

in terms of how silliness reflects on my work, having a sense of humor is rly key for me. i’m a big fan of finding meaning in meaningless things, so there are little, forgettable moments in everyday life that i love to use as jumping off points for poems. from uber notifications in my crush’s pocket to listening to 21 savage while thinking abt my body image, my work features a lot of tiny reminders of how i’m feeling.

What in your art are you currently excited about? 

i’ve been pooling together a number of pieces that i’d like to push out as a physical and digital chapbook soon. my publishing connects kinda stopped what they were doing, so i’ve been in the mindset of self-publishing it before summer ’17 with the help of my office’s printer – pls don’t tell my boss. (lol unless y’all web readers out there want to help out, hmu.) i’m really hype abt the direction it’s going, though. the only trouble i’m having is narrowing everything down to something succinct so readers don’t get bored of me.

Oh no way!! That’s so exciting (and I definitely won’t tell your boss)!! My final question has to be: what is your vision for the chapbook?

as a relative newcomer, i think i want it to serve as kind of an introduction to myself. outside of some of my friends (s/o the wildt horntberries crew!!!) and my partner, i’ve kept my poetry presence fairly low key to others. i’ve still yet to decide if there will be an overarching theme, or if each piece in it will kind of exist independent of connection, but i’m leaning toward the latter. i’m just really excited to do something tangible that isn’t, like, writing content for brands™ (my day job). i’m just a v soft boy who wants to HAVE FUN (!!), grow a lil more, and put a bunch of sentences together. :~)

Adrian Rojas is a bad poet and an even worse professional. i like malort, pink things, jeremih and absolutely destroying teens at pokemon the card game online. i flip my money back and forth / i don’t listen to anybody anymore. contact at tcdrojas@gmail.com

KATIE CLARK is an Interviews Editor for Vagabond Lit and a poet. Katie has been published in Voicemail Poems, Alien Mouth, and Nostrovia!, among other kind pages. Tweets @octupiwallst.

Vagabond City Literary Journal

Founded in 2013, we are a literary journal dedicated to publishing outsider literature. We publish art, prose, reviews, and interviews from marginalized creators.