why are you doing a self-interview?

Rich asked that I do a self-interview which really feels kind of weird asking myself or responding to my own questions. But I’m always asking myself questions, so I guess this is a part of a natural process for me.


what do you mean when you say “unsettled water?”

When I decided to record a spoken word cd, I knew that I wanted to record difficult and important subject matter. If you were to ask my poetry home, The World Stage – Anansi Writers Workshop, they would say that this is conscious poetry or spoken word. and it’s about things unresolved, not calm so to speak. I ended up spending almost a year recording. When all said and done, i ended up recording two spoken word cds. Unsettled Water and River & Moan, which is a cd that deals with love and relationships.


what do you enjoy most about writing?

There are several things I love about writing: First is probably self-discovery. It’s amazing to me whenever I have an idea for something that I want to write about and then to see what that idea evolves into; especially if it’s a personal poem. I love the thought of peeling away portions of myself in order to reveal them to strangers. But probably most of all, I love the idea of having a voice. and not just having a voice, but one that others want to hear. writing validates my humanity. Who I am and what I desire to be. It forces me to see myself in ways I probably never would if I wasn’t a poet.


what do you find is the most difficult part of writing?

i believe that being honest and truthful are the hardest part of writing for me. I’m overwhelmed sometimes with ideas to write about. but it’s not the easiest task to really be honest and truthful, because an easy phrase or cheap retort is always standing beside you, trying to influence what you create. being vulnerable and open to what will come compels me in everything i create; whether I’m writing or performing. to me, it’s all about being true to the vision because it’s so easy to just settle and say what seems to be convenient. it’s so easy to convince yourself that a cliché will suffice. whenever I think about writing, i always think of a biblical scripture that says: “write the vision and make it plain”


“blues red soul falsetto” was the title of your last book. Is that riddle or what?

that title sort of defines who I am or the way that I see myself; or have seen myself since birth. I’m a blues child; born and raised. I love the blues because they are honest. no bullshit. “Red” was my nickname when I grew up in Shreveport, La. I hated that nickname, but it defined me. the ruddy skin color and sandy red hair. I tried my best to be something other than Red; not just the name, but myself. I learned to love that kid. I’m a blues child but my soul is falsetto. it’s not the regular voice but one that reaches high and has a different pitch to it; but no one sings the blues falsetto; but my spirit does because that’s who i am. I consider myself a Los Angeles poet with a southern influence.


do you have a process or ritual?

for whatever reason, I love writing at night; late at night. I write sometimes during the day, but I feel like a vampire and I crave writing when it’s darkest. It’s as though I can see the light that I want to reveal much brighter at night. I love to have music real low in the background with several books close by. I want all the lights out except for the computer screen and have incense burning. it’s as though I can hear and see so clearly inside that darkness. it provokes me to find the light; search for it and reveal it with my thoughts, my words.


what projects are your on at this time?

I have a new manuscript that is heading to the publisher within the next month. The title is “the distance of observation” and it deals with my view of love. The idea is that love is never as close or as far away as we really think; most times, I think that we misjudge the distance (of love in our lives) in observation of where we think we actually are in that particular relationship; it’s never as far or as close as we think it is.


why is your name Conney?

I don’t know; no one in my family has this name. but I’ve learned to love all of him.

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CONNEY D. WILLIAMS is a poet, actor, community activist, and performance artist with two collections of poetry “Leaves of Spilled Spirit from an Untamed Poet (2002)” and “Blues Red Soul Falsetto (2012).” In 2015, he released two critically acclaimed cds of his poetry accompanied by music titled: “River&Moan and Unsettled Water.” He is the former Artistic Director at the World Stage and Coordinator for the Anansi Writers Workshop. His poems have also been published in various anthologies & journals including Dryland Review, Voices from Leimert, Cultural Weekly, Drumming Between Us, Askew Poetry Journal, Wide Awake Anthology, and Poets & Allies Anthology. He has performed his poetry on television, radio, universities & colleges, and various venues across the U.S.

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