Q&A with poet Tiara Brown ’16: On Becoming a Writer

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Poet Tiara Brown ’16 is completing her MFA at the University of Kentucky as a Lyman T. Johnson Fellow. At Transy she received both the Delcamp and the Judy Gaines Young student writing awards and gained the confidence she needed to pursue the “writing life.” Watch for the next issue of Third + Broadway magazine (coming in June) to read her poem that answers the question: “How can you become a writer?”

Where did you grow up and why did you choose Transy?

I’ve had the pleasure of living in Lexington my entire life. That was part of Transy’s appeal to me. I loved that I was able to stay close to my family and also join a new community with such a rich history.

How did you become a writer?

My path to becoming a writer is not unlike others’, I imagine. I read an absurd amount growing up (starting around kindergarten) and after some time, I also wanted to write things that caused others to feel the way my favorite writing made me feel. I wanted to transport others to another world with my writing.

What calls you to be a writer by profession? (You chose to get an MFA after a BA in English and Spanish and a minor in WRC.)

Ultimately, the ability to communicate with others, though I’m drawn to the process itself. The way that I am constantly learning from, reflecting on, and receiving feedback from my writing has helped me develop as a writer and communicator. I enjoy seeing my students and peers benefit from the writing process, as well. Observing my students’ writing strengthening over the semester and seeing them become more comfortable with their voices is something I will always cherish.

How did Transy help you find your path and develop as a writer?

During my time at Transy, I was surrounded by wonderful professors/writers who constantly encouraged me and showed me what the “writing life” was all about. I cannot thank professors Maurice Manning and Jeremy Paden (among others) enough for their endless support along my journey.

You received both the Delcamp and the Judy Gaines Young student writing awards. How was that helpful?

I was pretty shy about my writing before these awards—my poetry, in particular. These awards gave me an extra push/boost of confidence that encouraged me to pursue an MFA in poetry.

Congratulations on receiving your MFA from the University of Kentucky. What’s next?

Thank you! I’m looking to go into technical writing next. This will allow me to use my creativity and communication skills collaboratively.