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Five Questions with Kate Belew

Kate Belew
Kate Belew is a Brooklyn Based writer and herbalist from the Midwest. She has been involved in projects of writing with Poets House, The National Book Critics Circle, The Poetry Society of New York, Evolver, The New York City Poetry Festival, Slice Magazine, The Poetry Brothel, Publisher’s Weekly, and Milk Press. She also works as a content and marketing consultant for The Alchemist’s Kitchen. On Thursday, May 14th, she’ll be teaching a A Virtual Writing Workshop for Connection to the Self, Nature, and its Inhabitants: Poetry & Plants. We sat down to chat with Kate about her writing and plant journey!

At what age do you first recall having a connection to nature? Do you feel that nature communicates to and through you?

Growing up in rural Michigan, I remember my mom’s herb garden, and my dad growing peppers. Every Saturday we had to work together to tend these plants. My sister and I had our own, “faerie garden” which was a small space under a birch tree full of ferns and little houses we made for our faery friends. When my grandmother fell ill, part of our responsibility was helping her with her garden up the street. My grandma Lucy was full of nature, stories, and magic. When I was older, I had a writing fellowship at a place called Pierce Cedar Creek, which was a Nature Institute in Hastings, Michigan. I was the Nature in Words fellow there. I lived in the house with the scientific researchers for the summer and worked on my writing. There was so much to be explored there. I remember the beaver that lived in the pond, the black bears that passed through, coyotes, dragonflies, violets…they all had voices and taught me so many things.

When did you first start to “get into” poetry? Who was the first poet that resonated with you?

I remember being about six years old and my dad giving me an Emily Dickinson for Children book. We would read the poems together and look up the words in the dictionary that I didn’t understand. Even before that, before I could write, I would dictate poems to my mom who would write them down for me.

What do you think is the connection between plants and poetry? Or, on that note, the connection between nature and art? 

For me, nature and art is connected by observation and being watchful. I had a teacher at an arts camp when I was in high school in Northern Michigan, Jamie Delp, and she would tell us this story about her neighbor growing up, who every morning would strike a bell in his front yard all while yelling, “pay attention, pay attention, your life is moving very quickly.”

The natural world will speak to us if we are quiet and patient.

If you could enjoy a cup of tea with any public figure (living or dead) who would it be? What type of tea would you most like to share with them?

Oh! This is a hard one. Emily Dickinson would be someone incredible to have tea with…Nettle Tea with Emily Dickinson.

You are the Social Media and Content Director at The Alchemist’s Kitchen, what is the ONE product that you would recommend to someone who may be going through a difficult time right now? Please tell us why…

This is another difficult one! I absolutely love our Plant Alchemy CBD smokeables and use them to combat my anxiety. However, I’m also aware that inhaling smoke is not everyone’s vibe….I also love Rose Colored Glasses by Wooden Spoon Herbs and Cordyceps Ghee from Cognitive Function.

If you haven’t tried working with Functional Mushrooms yet, go that way!

Bonus Questions: 

If you were stranded on a desert island and could only take ONE book with you, what would it be? You can take ONE plant too, what is it? 

I would take Even Cowgirls Get the Blues by Tom Robbins and Nettles. Nettles are my absolutely favorite.

Sun/Moon/Rising – Primal Triade?
Aquarius/Aries/Scorpio

Thanks, Kate! Sign up for her amazing workshop here

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