Interview With Gypsee Yo (Jonida Beqo)

As way of apologizing for her unbelief she told that story on my first book release when I was 17.

What advice do you wish you had gotten as a teen?

       Trust your voice in the place where you are in life, don't be in a rush to cross into adulthood.

 Tell us about a time when you were brave, or bravery was required of you, or you saw someone else being brave.

       I spent most of my childhood and early youth in a country stricken by one war after another. When I was 16 to be brave was to dream, to still believe in kindness and love, to resist becoming a victim of circumstance. Bravery was to write poems when everyone else around was shooting guns.

How do you start a poem? Give us a window into your process.

       I write a lot in my head. A line or a string of words buzzes in my ear, almost like the hook of a song. I build on it line by line-- revisiting the poem from the beginning as a new line is added. Often by the end of the first draft I have memorized the poem. I review it later for edits but generally my poems breathe way before they are ever typed or scribbled.

What is your motto for getting through the tough times?

       My faith in God and his grace has been an anchor for me through wars, and the years I have spent as an emigrant in the US. My motto comes from the Bible, the book of Romans 8:38-39--"For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."