I Have Always Been a Water Woman: An Interview with Kelly Grace Thomas

Interview conducted by Sarah Ulery 

Kelly Grace Thomas’s first full-length collection, Boat Burned, was released with YesYes Books in January 2020. Kelly’s poems have appeared or are forthcoming in: Best New Poets 2019, Los Angeles Review, Redivider, Nashville Review, Muzzle, DIAGRAM, and more. Kelly currently works to bring poetry to underserved youth as the Director of Education and Pedagogy for Get Lit-Words Ignite. Kelly is a three-time poetry slam championship coach and the co-author of Words Ignite: Explore, Write and Perform, Classic and Spoken Word Poetry (Literary Riot), currently taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Thomas’s debut collection Boat Burned circles around its central images of water and boats to explore themes of survival and what is inherited, whether it be disordered eating or gendered expectations. We first published Thomas’s poem Life/Boat in our spring 2018 issue and were delighted to learn of our former contributor’s success and forthcoming collection. Our editorial assistant Sarah Ulery spoke via email to