Featured Writer: Carly Anne Ravnikar

Carly Anne Ravnikar is a punk artist native to South Eastern Wisconsin. She is an eloquent hoarder of poems and crafts who struggles to remain within the confines of society. She serves professionally in higher education student services – creatively in print and performance. In 2018 she was selected as a Poet Laureate for the city of Kenosha, Wisconsin. In 2015, dancing girl press published her poetry collection, “Housewifery." Other poetry has appeared in Left of the Lake, A New Beat, The Clockwise Cat, Monkey Puzzle, Outhouse, Straylight, boo (2010, 2011), Bending Light Into Verse Vol II, and The New Gnus Literary Journal (2011). She is currently fronting Cheap Sleaze, a formidable force within the Kenosha music scene. Her full collection of work can be viewed here:

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Cheap Sleaze:

1. What music have you been listening to lately?

This question has provoked an existential crisis – I have such a diverse playlist of artists in heavy rotation. I’ve been having a panic attack thinking of paring it down. I can say that I have been revisiting Laura Marling’s work for years – she seems to effortlessly create lyrical structures that defy tradition. (She’s also one of those who tunes her guitar to her own liking – perhaps this adds to her uniqueness in sound). Her work is brutally heartwrenching – it breaks me – and I think I probably revisit her albums “Alas I Cannot Swim” and “Once I was an Eagle” at least a few times per month.

But the current work that I am doing with Cheap Sleaze is gritty rock and roll, so I have found myself more closely studying Motorhead and ACDC. My goal has been to embody the rock god persona with my Cheap Sleaze lyrics. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, and all things machismo. It’s not that I don’t also have rock goddesses in heavy rotation – just that I’m kind of trying to explore inversing the rock god persona. Somehow to write lyrics that are “dirty, mean, and mighty unclean” I have to draw from a more masculine aspect. Almost like writing in drag. So often the lyrics that I am writing are (maybe) somewhat fictional (again – think drag) – they are written from this persona that is not necessarily me – but I am finding that this freedom has allowed me to write more authentically.

However – these artists are sandwiched in a playlist that includes Hootie and the Blowfish, Deals Gone Bad, Amy Winehouse, The Cure, all things Danzig and Mike Patton, Soppy Seconds, The National, Skeeter Davis, Tool, Luther Vandross, Sonic Youth, Ben Harper, Patti Smith, Sam Cook, Fleetwood Mac, The Go-Go’s, Chris Cornell, Bif Naked, Elton John – I could go on!

2. Other current inspirations:

In addition to the above artists, I listen to lectures daily by Terence McKenna, Alan Watts, Ram Dass, and John C Lilly – people who I consider phsychonauts – or sailors of the soul. I often feel imprisoned by standards – convention – norms. These philosophers have helped me find keys to the prison doors – to break out of some social systems or artificial expectations. To find confidence and authenticity in my creative (spiritual) pursuits. To continue driving forward exploring consciousness and human experience through art. I don’t think I would have otherwise survived without them. I think they have not just inspired me – they’ve saved my life.

3. Talk a little about either something you’re working on right now, or something you’ve recently completed.

I have finished compiling two collections over the past few months that are actually bothunintentionally self-portrait focused/themed: “Dead Birds, Pollution, and Other Self-Portraits,” which is a collection that I have been working on for over four years, where I photograph dead birds and use the image to inspire a poem. “Sometimes I Get Lost /Walking On The Moon” is a collection of poems that seem to come out of my obsession with space, starseeds, and the subconscious (or superconscious).

4. Give me a haiku or a self-portrait.

Both collections mentioned above align with what my work seeks to discover most often– myself. As self-portrait, please accept an excerpt from my physchonauticalexplorations, “Sometimes I Get Lost / Walking On The Moon.”

How Terrible It Must Be:

To Love Me

I imagine it’s like loving a monk

who keeps setting himself on fire –

like throwing a grenade into a foxhole –

like living in the space between stars.

#featuredwriter #poet #carlyanneravnikar

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