Artist Interview: Emily Ramser

Emily Ramser, poet, writer

Copyright Emily Ramser

L. N. Holmes: “Where is your hometown?”

Emily Ramser: “That’s kind of a hard question for me to answer because I consider myself to have two different hometowns, Sacramento, California and Wake Forest, North Carolina. I was born in California but lived in Wake Forest for a good portion of my life as well. They both hold claim to my heart and shaped me into who I am today.”

L. N. Holmes: “What is your chosen artistic profession?”

Emily Ramser: “I suppose I would have to say writer or poet. I’m not sure I like to really define myself as anything because, to be honest, I’m not too sure who I am.”

L. N. Holmes: “Why did you choose to become a writer and poet?”

Emily Ramser: “I’ve always loved to write. Writing to me has always just made sense. It’s always been a part of who I am.

“I remember being in elementary school and writing these little poems about the clouds in the sky and just things feeling right. I know that sounds incredibly obscure, but I cannot separate myself from writing. No matter how hard I try, it’s just who I am.

L. N. Holmes: “What messages do you try to communicate through your work?”

Emily Ramser: “What messages do I try to communicate through my work? That’s a though question. It varies with each individual work, I would say. Each piece has it’s own purpose. Overall though, I try to communicate subjects that are important to me. I try to communicate my memories, my opinions. In a way, you could almost say I try to communicate myself through my works.”

L. N. Holmes: “What are your favorite subjects to write about?”

Emily Ramser: “I like to write about vaginas.

“In all honesty, I like to write about anything that pushes boundaries, anything that makes people think because that is what writing is supposed to do. Writing is supposed to make you think. If it doesn’t then it is failing.”

L. N. Holmes: “You recently joined the staff of Visceral Uterus, an online literary magazine. What’s it like to work on the publishing and editorial side of writing?”

Emily Ramser: “Working on the editing and publishing side of the writing world has really opened my eyes and taught me a lot.

“You learn what works and what doesn’t. You learn how to use line breaks and similes in ways that you never would have thought of before. It opens your mind to so many new ideas and gives you a drive to experiment. It encourages you to keep writing when you feel like you should give up because it reminds you that there are other writers just like you and that you are not alone.

“I have really fallen in love with the editing and publishing side of the writing world. I like helping others with their work, as well as just reading work. It both gives me an opportunity and an excuse to just sit around and read all day.

“There are some days though when the job isn’t too fun. When you have to tell people that they didn’t make it into the journal or that their piece needs some more work before it is ready to be published you get this little twinge in your heart. You know how hard it is to get the courage to put your work out there, so when you have to write that rejection email, you feel bad.

“But at the same time, you don’t because you know you’re helping them to become an even better writer. I would not be nearly as skilled at writing or confident in my work if I had not received so many rejections. The rejections I received taught me about the weaknesses in my work that I was blind to.

L. N. Holmes: “Tell us a little about your uncle. How did he inspire you to write?”

Emily Ramser: “This is the hardest question of the ones you’ve asked me to answer, LeeAnn. My great uncle has been one of the biggest driving forces behind my writing. I grew up with him telling me stories and jokes. He always knew just how to capture my imagination. I could sit there and listen to him for hours.

“A few years ago, things changed. He was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. The best way I can describe it is that it felt like I was standing in a library filled with books that I had read a million times, but when I picked them up to reread them, they were blank. He doesn’t know the stories he used to tell me. He doesn’t even know who I am any more.

“The reason I write is because I never want that to happen to anyone. I never want someone’s stories to disappear like that. I want to record the world for others to see and hear and read.

“My great uncle Harry taught me both how to tell stories and why telling them was important. He showed me how they bring people together, and I can never repay him for that. He showed me who I was meant to be, even though he didn’t know it. He is and always will be my biggest inspiration.”

L. N. Holmes: “Tell us a little about your chapbook Toast is Just Bread That Put Up a Fight.”

Emily Ramser:Toast is Just Bread That Put Up a Fight is a combination of a sexuality and religion in the simplest of descriptions. It deals a lot with my own struggles regarding those two subjects. I explore a lot of ideas from my being bisexual to my struggles with believing in science versus religion.”

L. N. Holmes: “Where do you sell your work?”

Emily Ramser: “I’m currently selling my chapbook through Amazon. Hopefully one day, though, it will find it’s way into a bookstore or two.”

L. N. Holmes: “Do you have any readings coming up?”

Emily Ramser: “I should be reading something at Salem College’s literary magazine’s Open Mic Night December 9; however, I do not have anything beyond that planned at the moment.”

L. N. Holmes: “How do you support other artists?”

Emily Ramser: “I support other artists in any way I can. I go to readings and gallery openings. I buy more books than I have the time to read or really the money to buy. I try to do whatever I can to help out my fellow artists because I know how hard it can be. There have been quite a few nights where I’ve stayed up into the wee hours of the morning helping someone to edit a poem or story instead of sleeping.

“I only wish that I could do more. One day, I would like to host readings for different up and coming authors in the area. It is also my dream to one day set up a scholarship for young female poets.”

L. N. Holmes: “What’s your biggest complaint about the poetry and publishing industries?”

Emily Ramser: “My biggest complaint about the poetry and publishing industries? I’m not sure if this is so much about the poetry/publishing industries, but I suppose in a way it is. I think my biggest complaint is that people don’t take the time to read poetry any more.

“Even poets are horrible about it half the time. There are so many literary journals online where you can get published, but the problem lies in getting read. We read the submission guidelines and submit. We don’t even bother to read the previously posted works half the time. I include myself here because I know that I’ve done it before.

“The poetry industry has become so obsessed with getting published that we forget to read poetry. We forget what made us fall in love with poetry in the first place.”

L. N. Holmes: “What/who inspires you?”

Emily Ramser: “Gosh, so many people and places and things inspire me. In regards to writers who inspire me I would have to say that Lawrence Ferlinghetti, Christina Rossetti, Shakespeare, Charlie Stern, Allen Ginsberg, Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Bhanu Kapil, Thornton Wilder, Gabriel Gudding, Andrea Gibson, Alfred Lord Tennyson, and so many more. I’ve found a lot of inspiration in the Beat Movement and Victorian Literature.

“I have also found a lot of artists who have inspired me such as Ted Gasper, Chiara Bautista, Katie Hampson, and Clara Bacou.

“For instance, I love Clara Bacou’s book Jackadaw. Her art style has just captured my mind. I want to do with words what she does with paint. One of these days, I want to work with her and see if we can do some kind of collaboration because the chaotic nature of her art and the more experimental nature of my poems seem like they would work well together. I also would just be honored to work with her on any kind of project.

“I also find quite a bit of inspiration in Renaissance works. I’ve particularly been inspired by Duccio’s arena chapel. It is one of my life goals to see it in person today. Just the color of the paint and the passion put in those older works astound me. They make my chest tight and my fingers itch. They make me want to create.”

L. N. Holmes: “What would you recommend to others trying to become poets?”

Emily Ramser: “Write! Write everyday! Never stop writing.”

L. N. Holmes: “Name a few of your favorite books and why they’re your favorites.”

Emily Ramser: “It’s hard for me to name my favorite books. It is honestly one of the hardest things for me to narrow down. I think my favorite book at the moment is Howl, and Other Poems by Allen Ginsberg. It’s a phenomenal poem that really any aspiring poet should read. The passion and language within it are simply beautiful.”

L. N. Holmes: “Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?”

Emily Ramser: “I hope you enjoy my work and feel more than free to email me at if you ever want to swap writing tips or simply want to talk.”

Emily Ramser, poet, writer

Copyright Emily Ramser

To contact Emily Ramser for comments, questions, or praise, email her at

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