This is the first in a series highlighting badass people doing amazing and interesting things. This interview has been edited slightly for clarity and length.

Marissa Faroni, 22 is a published poet whose works focuses primarily on mental health. Her work can be found online at Sortes magazine as well as on Instagram and Twitter @marissa4oni.

fandoms/fashion/feminism: You write a lot of poetry that focuses on mental health. Is this a conscious choice? Do you set out to write about it or does it just happen that way?

“I feel like a lot of my writing process and how most of my poems get started is when I’m having an anxiety attack or when I’m having little manic episodes. (Faroni is bipolar) So, what happens is I will start writing what’s going on down and I just keep writing until I feel like I’m in a better place. It’s a good tool for me to help myself feel better and kind of ground myself and then afterwards I will go through all the stuff I’ve written down and it’s either complete nonsense or I’m like ‘oh, I could turn this into a poem.’ So, sometimes it’s intentional but a lot of the time it’s just because that’s the stuff I like to write about. “

f/f/f: How long do you have to take before you can come back to it and look at it again?

“Sometimes it’s inspirational and it helps me get started but other times it’s in my notes app on my phone for like a week and then I go back to it and think ‘oh I can do something with that.'”

f/f/f: I feel as though there’s been this long expressed narrative that “true” creatives create out a really dark place. Do you buy that? Does all great art need to come from a place of pain?

“It’s funny you bring that up because after my reading on Friday my parents were watching it and they have never really read any of my poetry and honestly I was skeptical. They were really excited and I was like ‘I wonder if they actually read all of it’ because I did talk about them briefly in one poem and so I was like I wonder what they’re gonna say. I didn’t even realize it but it was very honest and kind of personal. And then after the reading, I watched separately from them, and I came out of my room and asked them what they thought and I was like ‘that one girls piece was so dark.’ And they were like ‘Marissa your poems weren’t exactly light-hearted.’ And I was like ‘ohhhh’ and I kind of forgot that they were like dark because they are ones that I have just read so many times. I feel like once I have a poem that’s pretty much done I kind of forget that it is kind of about dark material some of the times. “

f/f/f: I feel like that’s very similar to musical artists who talk about writing something but once they put it out into the world it ceases to become theirs and they don’t attach it to the initial pain that it once caused them. But then the song affects other people with that emotion they first wrote it with.

“There’s none that I read at the reading (Faroni recently participated in a poetry reading with but I do have a couple love poems and I was thinking how one day it will be weird re-reading these poems that I wrote about a certain person. I hope it’s not weird for me. And then I read them over and I kind of just forgot about what they where written for like what I was feeling at the time because it just becomes it’s own work.”

f/f/f: I feel like a lot of the time whether it’s in movies or tv shows or just general life the creative process is romanticized. It’s not sitting down at a gorgeous mahogany desk and writing. Ideas come at the wrong time or when you least expect it. Do you have a “creative process?”

“That’s really interesting. I know cause there are a lot of time where I’m like ‘okay let’s like sit down and write.’ And I sit down and I just can’t. Nothings coming and it’s not natural and sometimes I try to force myself to do it and I’m like ‘nah this isn’t happening’ and I stop. But I do think it comes more randomly which is really inconvenient. I do have one note [on her phone] where when I’m out and about I’ll think of a phrase or something and I write it down. Or what I have been doing is my teachers told me one time that you can kind of just like steal what other people say. So, if I’m with someone and they say a cool sentence I’m like ‘ooh let me write that down’ and I write it down. I definitely think my better writing is when I come across it randomly. “

f/f/f: With the advent of books like Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur there’s been a conversation lately about the commercialization of poetry for the masses. Is mainstream poetry hurting other poets? Does good poetry need to come from academia?

“Ughhh *laughs* “I really like poetry and I’ve always thought of it as something fun that I can do. Well maybe not always fun but it is definitely an outlet for me. And when it comes down to it it is a hobby for me. And one thing about the poetry community is that people are just so mean sometimes. Writers and academia as a whole they think they’re really better than everyone else and I’m like, just let people express themselves. People have cool ideas and they want to put themselves out there and we should be happy for people for wanting to express themselves.

Milk and Honey I think that one specifically gets a ton of hate. And honestly I don’t really like it personally but I’m just like ‘let this girl live.’ She’s just trying to have fun and write a book and it went really well for her. And I think people are honestly just jealous of things like that. It comes off to me like people of jealous that her work got so popular and people are upset that she didn’t have a ‘traditional background.'”

f/f/f/: Yes, and she’s very young as well. I think she’s our age. (Kaur is 28 Faroni and interviewer at 23 and 24 respectively)

“The thing is it’s hard to get published in the writing world. I don’t even know how I got published! It is heard to get your poems in a bigger poetry magazine or The New Yorker if you don’t have some kind of background or an editor that is helping you. So, when things go viral online it’s a completely different community. They’re very separate communities. And it’s kind of an age thing because people are getting popular with stuff online and even Tumblr accounts. And these are younger writers who are writing these things and they’re really good and we should be reading them for what they are. They’re not the same kind of work. People are mean and kudos to Rupi Kaur. You can not like something or you can not respect it. We should be encouraging more people to try and not tear them down and let them be successful. “

f/f/f: This is fandoms/fashion/feminism. So I need to end this interview by asking the essential questions. What’s your favorite fandom that you are a part of? What is your favorite item in your closet? What does feminism mean to you?

“Im going to go off the fandoms that show up on my TikTok *laughs*. I love Harry Styles. I could go on and on. I love his music. I also love him as a person. One thing I really admire about him is that he’s very authentically himself and it comes across in the outfits he wears and what he stands for. He stands for treating people with kindness and that’s such a great little tagline. He breaks a lot of gender norms with his outfits and stuff and his boa at the Grammy’s oh my god. I love him.

I always go back to my two piece orange pantsuit. That’s a favorite definitely.

Feminism to me is building each other up. Helping people who don’t necessarily have a voice. It should be an inclusive movement. And also a big part of feminism for me is educating other people. A lot of people just don’t know what they’re doing is wrong. If someone genuinely doesn’t understand what’s wrong then we should be using that as a teaching moment instead of hating on them.”


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