Kathleen Radigan

Kathleen RadiganMeet poet and singer Kathleen Radigan.

In her spare time, Kathleen loves to “read, hang out with my dog, fight the patriarchy, laugh at things, cause a ruckus on small local stages and critically analyse commericals until I feel a bit nauseous…”

She also recently released an EP of her music on iTunes – read on to find out more!

Tell us a bit about yourself…

I’m eighteen and a high school senior at a tiny Catholic prep school in Rhode Island.  I’ve been writing my entire life because that’s what bored kids do when they’re six and don’t have cable, and also because my brain is home to a conglomerate of loud and strange thoughts.  I’ve written mostly poetry so far because I love it deeply, but I wouldn’t consider myself to be a ‘poet’ exclusively. I like to make plays, stories, flash fiction, documentaries, songs, memoirs, and a lot of pro-con lists.  I also just released an EP of original songs that’s available on iTunes with ample help from my generous parents and some great friends.

I had the honor of traveling to Miami in January as a 2013 YoungArts Finalist for Writing, which was incredible and allowed me to meet a bunch of brilliant writers and artists whom I won’t soon forget. I also found out in March that I won a Gold Key writing portfolio from the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, along with a $10,000 scholarship.  I was completely surprised and humbled by this unexpected honor, and can’t wait to receive it at Carnegie Hall in late May.

What inspires your work?

It’s hard to pinpoint specific inspirations, although they exist in infinite supply. Usually a good idea has to be dug out of much confusion and Heimlich-ed to life with relentless revision. I write a lot about people I know, and some about people I don’t know but wish I did, and some about people I invented in scenarios that I invented.  Science is inspiring because learning about stars and neurons makes me blink and think about the world differently, which is exactly what art should do.

Whatever I’m currently reading or listening to is usually on my mind, so a lot of times other peoples’ words form reservoirs in my for new thoughts. It is my firm belief that cool stories exist everywhere – often inspiration hits just because I’ve been paying closer-than-usual attention to my surroundings.

What is your favourite piece of work you have produced?

One of my favorite pieces that I’ve made is a song called I Swore Off Jazz.  It started as an experiment with laying jazz vocals over a more traditional piano part and gelled into a thing I’m sort of proud of, especially melodically.  I’m also happy with the piece that inspired my PANK column, called Monday Manifesto. It’s a smorgasbord of the real and ridiculous, which I’m all about.

Who is your favourite creative in your chosen field?

Regina Spektor is my favorite singer/songwriter (and among my favorite poets) because I find her songs to be incredibly brave.  She’s able to construct elaborate, livable worlds that are funny, vulnerable and ornate. Lyrically, she melds mythology and abstraction with concrete everyday events – sticking Wonderbread into the Old Testament and spinning yarns for imaginary gravediggers.  Her anti-folk riffs and dolphin imitations are tremendously surreal at times but also paradoxically manage to remain somehow grounded.

Listen to Kathleen’s music on iTunes and YouTube, and read some of her lyrics here.

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