We met Kallie through our mutual friends, Francisco and Nuno–the owners of Livraria Poetria Bookstore in Porto, Portugal. She was one of the first people we met when we arrived in Porto and since she has become a dear friend.
Kallie seems to have boundless creative energy and is an inspiration for both me and Bob, so we thought that she would be a perfect artist for Travel Artists Hub to interview and share her thoughts and works with you.
TAH: What is your artistic focus?
KF: Poetry all day every day and at night too.
TAH: How did you start writing?
KF: I started writing when I was maybe 7, but I got really focused on craft in high school. Ya know, the whole crying and writing thing. Typical. Then, I studied it intensely in college and went on to get my MFA in good ol’ poetria at Wichita State University.
TAH: Do you travel with or for your writing?
KF: I once went to Latvia for a writing residency. I had a genius plan to make a series of postcards and photos about Latvia. I ended up actually finishing my collection, Dovetail Down the House, which is now published by Burnside Review.
TAH: How do you sustain yourself?
TAH: Where has your writing led you?
KF: That’s an interesting question. Maybe it’s the other way around—where have I been that has influenced my writing? My writing has led me all over—to Ventspils, Latvia, Porto, Portugal, Wilmington, Delaware, Wichita, Kansas for graduate school, readings in New York City, Washington, DC, nowhere, Ohio, and Delhi, India. My favorite place in the US to write is Provincetown, MA. Trust me. Go there.
TAH: How has travel influenced your writing?
KF: I think people always think that travel changes you, but sometimes you go to a place and you’re the same. Maybe you change the place a bit. Either way, I think when I was young, I believed that idea—that I would go on a journey and “find” myself, but through my art, I remembered that I’ve been here this whole time.
TAH: Have you seen your writings influence other art, artists or cultures?
KF: I mentioned the art piece that B.A. Van Sise is doing. My friend B.A. photographed me for an exhibit he’s doing. He’s been traveling the world photographing poets. He’s too cool. His website is here: https://bavansise.format.com/children-of-grass.
I also have a friend, L.A. Chavez, who wrote a story based on my poem. I also had an amazing poetry video created by Marie Craven, who read my work and created this brilliant video out of it.
I have a dream to create a whole gallery of ekphrastic poems and art pieces in response. A night filled with musicians, storytellers, poems, opera, dance, and any type of creative response to another person’s work.
TAH: Share your most memorable writing travel story.
KF: It’s hard for me to think about writing in this context. I feel like I live, and I write, and I also travel, but I don’t really view my experiences as writing-travel stories. All my most memorable stories are my most awful. Does that say something about me? Just kidding, I’ll share a nice one.
Once upon a time, I was working from Philadelphia and I looked around and realized I wasn’t happy. I tried to call a fairy godmother, but she never came. So I checked out best countries to freelance in. I texted my family and asked, “which country should I visit.” My dad responded immediately and said, “Go to Porto, they have Port wine.”
So I booked a room for the month and then emailed my boss all sheepish and afraid. He responded with “sounds cool. Have fun.” And so I packed up by my lonesome and visited Porto all by myself in February. I fell in love with the city, wrote a bunch of poems, and fell in love with a human city (aka a person).
So anyway, I moved here because that’s what you do when you’re 28 and in love. So I landed here with my cat and the rest is history. (PSA we ended up breaking up, but moving for love is never wrong, right?)
*Read more about Kallie’s move for love published at Desk Lunch.
TAH: How has your writing and travel connected you to the wider world?
KF: I met so many friends through writing—I reconnected with old ones who were gracious enough to help out with Tell Tell Poetry, I even became friends with a photographer who is featuring a poem and picture of me in some museums in the US and in some book (to be released soon).
TAH: Do you have any advice for folks interested in following in your traveling footsteps?
KF: Yeah! So when I decided to travel, and eventually move to a new country, I made a calculated risk to do so. There’s something to be said for packing up and leaving randomly, but for me, it was important to know that I could keep working, that I would be safe during my move, and that I would be able to make friends easily. I found that Portugal was the best place for me, but I imagine it’s different for everyone.
Here’s a poem I’d love to share.
Kallie Falandays is the author of Dovetail Down the House (Burnside Review, 2016). You can read her work in The Journal, CutBank, Black Warrior Review, Salt Hill, Puerto del Sol, and elsewhere. She runs Tell Tell Poetry & Tell Tell Copywriting.
Personal website: www.kalliefalandays.com
Tell Tell Poetry: www.telltellpoetry.com
Tell Tell Copywriting: www.telltellcopywriting.com
Read more poems and stories by Kallie:
Purchase Kallie’s book Dovetail Down the House at Burnside Review