Julieta Lessne ’24 (she/her)

A portrait photo of Olivia Guarinello '24
Photo by Sydney Schertz ’24.

Julieta Lessne ’24 (she/her)

Arts & Culture Editor

Julieta: How are you? 

Liv: Good. How are you doing? 

Julieta: Good. Thank you. To start off, when did you start your poetry account, Localarium?

Liv: I want to say it was towards the beginning of the first quarantine. I had been doing some writing exercises with Poets House, which is in New York. My friends and I were doing this challenge called 10*10*10, where you would write ten poems over ten days at 10 AM. So I thought, you know what, do an Instagram. I’m gonna do it. I’d probably shared work online before but never with a specific place to do it.  

Julieta: So why did you decide to move towards a consolidated platform if you had shared work online before?

Liv: Well, when I say share, I mean more that I was submitting to literary magazines or small publications, and just having my name on it. Later, I realized that I wanted somewhere to put my work where I could be interacting with other writers online. Also, I wanted to have a place where that was all organized, where if I opened Instagram, my feed would just be poetry. I’ve discovered a lot of other writers through just having that space.

Julieta: And how long have you been writing poetry? 

Liv: Oh, I want to say, since I started high school. One of my English teachers encouraged me to write. From then on, I started using it as a way to process things, like high school. But later, I became more interested in reading poetry and getting better at it, rather than just throwing words on a page. 

Julieta: Do you have any favorite poets or poets that particularly inspire your work? 

Liv: Yes. Currently, I’m obsessed with Richard Siken. I bought his book Crush from Main Street Books over the summer, and I have read it like three times. I like Audre Lorde a lot. I’ve been reading a lot of Ocean Vuong as well. I bought his poetry collection the other day, and I’ve been trying to get through it and that’s really fun.

Julieta: And how do you take inspiration from your own life?   

Liv: Sometimes you just see something or think of something and just have to write it down, but also, I’m learning to not write in a sporadic way without form. Just writing random feelings is not how I like to do things now, so I have been trying to have more of a narrative or a specific thing that I’m trying to do. I’m trying to move away from the mentality of like, “this is my life, take everything I’m writing as truth,” and move towards the idea that being good at writing sometimes is being able to write something completely fictional and your audience will never know.

Julieta: So, do you usually write with a specific sort of structure or free verse? Is there 

something you prefer?

Liv: That’s kind of funny because we were talking about how I wrote in high school and for the very first month, or maybe even longer than that, I wrote exclusively in haiku. Now, it’s mostly free verse. In the poetry class I just started here at Davidson, I think we’re going to be experimenting with different forms. I look forward to that as I’m getting out of that routine of just throwing things onto a page, as I was saying earlier.

Julieta: And then do you think that writing poetry and managing this account helps support your life as a student at Davidson, maybe emotionally or as a sort of catharsis?

Liv: I do think that. I personally don’t really have any stress about my academic life at Davidson, so I don’t really need help processing that. In terms of other things, things I had to process and wasn’t able to understand, like my gender or sexuality or being neurodivergent, I would just write about them. Even just being able to go on the account and see mutual poets’ writing has helped because it’s really nice to have that constant flow of content. 

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Olivia Guarinello ‘24 (they/them) is a Physics and Hispanic Studies major from New Jersey. They can be reached for comment at @1more2cu.