Let me introduce you to the talented Jake Banks! He is an Australian writer and poet making his mark. I am so honoured to be the first person to ever interview him! What?! I have followed Jake for the last year and there is just something about his work that draws you in. He is honestly the most entertaining poet on insta with his funny videos and 15 second book reviews. His interview will leave you wanting to know more about him and you will get lost in his words, I know I did. This is a poet your MUST get to know.
I just want to start off by saying thank you so much for doing this interview with me. Out of all the poets on instagram, you are one who inspires me the most. Your poetry is so unique and it really resonates with me as you focus mainly on love and relationships between people. I can’t wait to learn more about you and your work!
Tell us a little bit about your life.
This is the first question in my first interview and it might be the hardest to answer. The word little is so far removed from the word life. I guess I can give you the cliff notes. I’ve lived what seems to me an extraordinary average lifestyle, unfortunately. I ate my greens and left biscuits and milk out for Santa. My parents are still together and I finished high school. If there were one thing that defines my life right now it’d have to be nerves. Butterflies, whatever you want to call it. Constantly. Some people might call that anxiety, and perhaps in a few years after a professional tells me this is indeed the case I’ll agree, but I don’t know how to define it. I worry, about everything, & I try not to. It’s easy enough to trick everyone else into thinking you’re laid back, but it’s a hold different kettle of fish trying to fool yourself. I remember when I was like twelve or thirteen & I woke up at something like two am to wake my dad up because I got myself so worked up over the thought of growing up and having to pay bills. I think I’ve learnt to rationalise my fear of the unknown, but I’m not sure if I’ll ever rid myself of it entirely. That got really deep and it’s only question one.
When did you start writing poetry and why? How did the journey start for you?
I’m not sure I’ve ever written poetry. From my little experience there seems to be two paths people take on this. The first is that poetry has structure and discipline. This is the main reason I don’t actively label my work as poetry as I dive in with no rhyme or reason for what I write other than for the sole purpose of writing something that I’m feeling or thinking about in that moment. That mindset in itself is the other side of the coin that many are calling modern poetry to a degree, unchained, unhinged, messy and raw. But to answer your question it started on the first of January 2013. New Years Day. It may be the cheesiest answer of all time, but it was a girl. I don’t want to get into details but I met her while I was away from home and when I had to fly back to Sydney I wrote her a letter, drunk of course. Up until that point I’d never really written anything that was pure expression of emotion, able to let go of structure or critique. It was exciting, so I kept doing it.
How would you describe your style of writing?
Erratic. Spontaneous. Without thought. I strive for realistic expression. I like to label things as they are, not what we wish they were. If something feels good, or if something hurts I don’t want to dress it up to a point where people can’t feel the weight of that emotion instantaneously because they’re too busy translating the meaning behind it because I’ve written a few too many metaphors and used one too many synonyms. I’ve probably done that though, so I’m a hypocrite of course.
What inspires your poetry?
Everything, of course. Sometimes something big, sometimes something small. A thought I’ve dwelled on for days, weeks, months, or something that hits me there and then. It’s never the same and I hope it never is.
I have noticed that your poetry seems to gravitate towards relationships between couples. Is there a reason why this theme grasps you more than others?
I think it’s the most relatable subject. I enjoy writing about many things, but yes, relationships do take the limelight. It’s just what I’m attracted to. I think it’s weird and scary and peculiar to have a relationship of any sort with anyone. I’m a rookie at it, but writing about it is thrilling and it makes me think, makes others think and ultimately I might learn something from that, good or bad.
Just write. I definitely tweak things a bit here and there but for the most part I try and just write when it hits. I don’t have a certain time I sit and write. On the train, at work, when I’m trying to sleep, or when I’m binge watching House on Netflix.
How long have you have your instragram account for and what made you create a page dedicated to your poetry? Was there a magical moment when you realised you wanted to share your talent with the world?
I’ve had my Instagram for quite some time, but I never posted anything writing related until late 2013 early 2014. I think I began posting after I bought my typewriter. I just loved the way it looked so I thought I’d throw a few pieces up and they were received really well, so I kept doing it. Before I knew it people were reacting positively to it and people demanded more, so I just kept posting. Over time that was all I posted, it felt like a natural progression to keep going. There were several magical moments I guess. None of them stand out as majorly significant by themselves, but together they definitely pushed me.
What are the top three favourite poems you have written and why?
That is too hard to answer, and as bad as it sounds I sometimes forget about some of my favourites until I re-read them months or years later. There are two that I wrote early on, one about admiring the dirt beneath your fingernails while you dig for diamonds, and one about peeling fruit. That sounds shit, but I love them.
Would you ever publish your poems?
Maybe. I’ve had offers, but I’ve never seen myself as a poet so at this point in time it’d seem a bit disingenuous, for me.
You are currently writing a book. Congratulations, I wish you good luck with it! From what I can see of your poetry, your book will be amazing. Can you tell us what it is about?
I wish I could. It’s been in stasis for some time. It is still my number one focus, and not a single day goes by where I don’t think about it to some degree. I don’t like to discuss plot details publicly because, as I said, it’s very early days and things could always change, and likely will. I can say that I want the book to bridge the gap between young adult fiction and, and, and, something else. It’s so hard to explain something that is only existent in your mind. I want the book to satisfy the cravings of those that read YA but want something with more grit.
What is your writing process for creating your novel?
Not writing seems to be my writing process at the moment. But when I do I try my best to write freely, without thought. Which is harder said than done. Like my pieces I post on social media I just want the novel to feel realistic and relatable. I don’t want people to put the book down and wish they had that life. I’d rather them sympathise with the story and think “fuck, I’ve been through a number of these things, how lucky I am to have survived x, y & z.”
Do you have any plans to have it published? If so, what route will you take?
My only goal in life at this point is to have it published. I will explore a number of routes when I must. But I need to write it first. Once it’s done then I can worry myself to death about the unknown and if I’ll ever be published.
Thank you so much for doing this interview! I love your poetry so much and it has been an honour speaking to you about your work. I wish you good luck with your poetry and writing your book! If you get any of your works published let me know and we can talk about them more!
If you want to interact with Jake and be inspired by his heartfelt and meaningful words his accounts are:
· Instagram: @jkennethbanks
· Twiiter: @jkennethbanks
· Facebook: www.facebook.com/jkennethbanks