“There’s so much power in how someone can make you feel but the trick is to stand in that power, and hold everyone and everything accountable to be able to move with grace.”
A’Nyezah Richards, best known as “Corey Banana” is an author, poet, and model from New Castle, Delaware. Corey uses her powerful voice along with her individual style to express her thoughts and emotions on life through writing poetry and prose. In allowing herself to be vulnerable to the truth, she is able to write about various themes including society, subconscious, the experience of becoming one with your demons, and much more. She developed her strong relationship with pen and paper at the age of 13, finding comfort in writing her thoughts and emotions in the journals her mom and aunt would buy for her.
In April 2018 Corey took her first solo vacation and got on a plane for the first time to fly to Miami, Florida. Little did she know that getting on that flight was just the beginning of her journey as a writer. During the trip she allowed herself to fully connect with the present moment, exploring the art districts of Miami, and opening herself up to be inspired. That’s where Corey discovered her passion and started writing poetry. At first, she was just writing for herself and then realized that she was writing for others too. She completed her first book Dust On The Record that same year, and published it in 2019. Now writing is Corey’s second nature, and she hopes that her poems will inspire the reader to look within. I had to pleasure to talk with Corey about her career, what her inspirations are, what’s next for her and more.
What inspired you to start writing poetry?
Life inspires everything that I do! Poetry enables you to express yourself and ideas better, a deeper understanding of language – the art of language. I believe you always have to read poetry twice: you read once for yourself, twice from the writer’s perspective. I don’t have a lot of poetry books, my book collection consists of autobiographies, self-help, and fantasy, I don’t go out my way to search or read poetry I stumble across it and some of it sticks.
Describe your writing. What is your work about?
My work is about how people and life make me feel. I have a powerful voice. There’s so much power in how someone can make you feel but the trick is to stand in that power and hold everyone and everything accountable to be able to move with grace. No one can tell you they didn’t hurt you, no one can tell you how you feel, you know? There’s power in that, you take that and make it into something beautiful, pain is temporary, and love is forever. It’s been proven.
What is your favorite poem?
My favorite poem often changes depending on how I currently feel, right now it’s from my new poetry book Vessels: Volume I titled “Brown Box”. It starts off like this: “a sudden decision to put a brown box in our home there’s a brown box in the corner I walked inside and sat down to make you happy scared for my life if I don’t fit inside bending my limbs for a piece of you” Everyone has experienced what it’s like to be put in a box by someone other than themselves, I stayed longer than I should in my situation and eventually got out, but during that time it was a bunch of “Do I become what they invented?” or “Do I become who I want to be?” Both choices have consequences and I chose myself. Most of the events I write about happened to me years ago, within the past two years I’ve had time to pick things apart.
On your website, it says you started journaling at the age of 13. What role has journaling played in your life? Do you still journal now?
When I was a teenager journaling help me navigate through my emotions because I isolated myself. For a while, it was just my journal and me. I don’t journal anymore, there’s no need to now as I got older, I found healthier outlets. I actually got rid of my journals; why hold on to dead versions of yourself. I’m in a happy place right now and it feels good to say.
Tell us about your process: notebooks, computer … how do you write?
I write in my bed, I don’t have a designated area. My bed is where I feel comfortable and vulnerable. My thoughts are louder at night when I have time to process my day. If I sit at a desk it will then feel like work and I enjoy writing because it doesn’t feel like work. It feels like a hobby, something I know how to do – it’s natural. My bed is covered with books, papers, pens and sticky notes – I prefer a messy bed, sex hair and french toast with bananas!
Who are some of your favorite authors/poets?
I love this question, most of them are dead but Stephen King and Richard Siken are still alive gracing this beautiful planet! Henry Miller, Robert A. Heinlein, Anaïs Nin, Anne Sexton, Paul Levy, Mike Mignola, A’nyezah Richards (myself) & the one and only Vladimir Nobokov. E.E Cummings is one of my favorite poets because of his love for women and his wordplay.
How did you come up with the title of your first book: Dust on the Record?
I was watching the interviews one of my favorite English musicians: King Krule, he’s from Southwark London, England. And he was explaining how emotions can be like dust on the record, just sitting there piling up over time, and one will have to wait until someone comes over and blows the dust off to be brand new again. I thought to myself – ‘Wow this is exactly how I feel’ and decided to name it Dust on The Record. The name just stuck with me.
What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I love to sleep, get tattoos and have sex! My friends think I’m a social butterfly (sometimes I am) but I am a very boring woman. I like to sit at home, cook, eat, watch documentaries/ movies, go for long walks and travel. I just finished season three of Ozark on Netflix and I enjoyed the writing. I enjoy being with my siblings, little things in life make me really happy and sometimes I don’t like that about myself – that the bare minimum makes me happy because then people will think giving you the bare minimum is enough and it’s not. I’m still very high maintenance just with substance. I always felt guilty when I carved out personal time for myself, always telling myself I need to just work and play later, but I am no longer taking the small things for granted because that’s what keeps me grounded.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
The most surprising thing I learned in creating my books is the process of creating the layout for a book, which seems really minute but it’s the riskiest part. You think you have this great concept and assembly, and when you begin to put it together, you quickly see how it will be different in the next revision. You have to be intentional, everything is in the details. Book covers are a marketing tool and the artist’s artistic representation of the book.
What is your most memorable career moment?
My most memorable career moment is when I went to Miami to speak at BlackMenWrite amongst other Artists. I shared my journey on what it was like publishing Dust On The Record. People don’t know that I’m shy, so I was really nervous to speak. It was a great night filled with happiness and success, it felt good to sit next to other local artists and hear their story.
If you could be stuck in one year, which year would it be and why?
If I could be stuck in one year it would be 2019, that’s the year I finalized the last version of Dust On The Record and was able to ship the orders out. It was a beautiful moment to see everything come together; the website was finished, I customized the boxes, the books came in and I was just waiting to hear feedback from my readers and start my next poetry book.
What is the best part of being a poet?
It’s the little things… such as: someone telling me they love my book, reciting a few lines to me and telling me they’re looking forward to my next project. Oh! I absolutely love when someone takes a picture of my poems and posts it online. Everyone thinks they’re a great writer, but when you ask yourself “what qualities does a great writer possess?” you think of how long they went to school for writing and things in that nature when none of that really matters, what matters is how valuable your story is and what makes your story different.
What advice would you give a new writer, someone just starting out?
The advice I would give a new writer is to return to the childhood version of themselves when they are writing that’s the most authentic version of yourself, you aren’t trying to be anything but yourself. Before someone told you who you were going to be. When you return to your inner child, it’s an infinite amount of ideas and places you can invent. The two coolest things about being a child: 1) no perception of time. 2) invention.
Tell me about your tincture: Heliacal Rising. Where did the idea come from?
I had a difficult time coming up with a special free gift for the book package bundle. I wanted not only to leave a great impression but also create a way to nourish my readers. Heliacal Rising was chosen as the name for this beautiful tincture, in honor of a star seen in the eastern sky before dawn, and not hidden from the sun. The creative process of making this book felt like I was finally getting out of my own way and becoming the highest version of myself, there’s no ceiling to growth. The purpose of this tincture was to provide one with a surge of energy and sustained functions throughout the day.
What is one of your favorite quotes?
One of my favorite quotes is “I’m very definitely a woman and I enjoy it” by Marilyn Monroe. She has another one that’s great too… “The body is meant to be seen, not all covered up.”
Right now, I am working on my second poetry book Vessels: Volume I, it focuses on contemporary and erotica romance. It’s been fun writing Vessels, I get to write about love, break-ups, the woman experience, the dialogue between man and woman and so much more. I don’t see enough storytelling about the grey area in romance, most writers take the safe route and talk about the surface. I went pretty deep into the expectations of romance and the power of relationships. In my last poetry book, I didn’t explore love as much as I wanted because my heart was focused on healing and forgiveness. I’m really excited about my sci-fy book “Meeting of The Minds.” I’ve been obsessed with fantasy since I was a little girl, my grandfather put me into a lot of fantasy movies and stories and I’m in forever debt to him because I’ve got to discover different realities and ways of thinking, even with myself.
To learn more about Corey follow her on Instagram and Tumblr @beneaththemoon.