Episode 19: Memoir, meet Poetry – Kira Lynne Allen crafts debut book in two genres

In May, I interviewed author Kira Lynne Allen about her new book Write This Second out now on Prashanti Press. In this episode, Kira explains how she used various strategic moves to recreate voice and pace in her work. She tells you what she thinks of the publishing process (as opposed to self-publishing) and whether it helped or hurt her work. You’ll also hear what obsession fueled her desire to finish the book by October 2014.


“Let go of the fence” Original work by Kira Lynne Allen. (Click to enlarge and read the words of the fence.)

Kira is an artist in the most robust sense of the word. In the interview part that is on my editing floor through no fault of its own, we talk about her collage work which she’s been doing for years. Actually, her mother also had the talent. In this image which accompanies her blog post, “You Call It A Book, I Call It A Movement or 7 Reasons Why I Founded: Write This Second,” we see a young compilation Kira – a mix of real photos and sketch work which she drew herself.

I absolutely loved this book and would read it again, so I advise you to check it out. But in the words of the first book reviewer I knew, “don’t take my word for it.”

Anne Lamott on Twitter


“Kira Lynne Allen’s first full length book of poetry is so gorgeous, so rich in honesty, truth, pain and healing, beauty and rage and humanity, that it is going to change lives. It gives permission, and that means that it gives life. It gives off heat and fresh air. It exposes, encourages, challenges, delights. I found it thrilling.” —Anne Lamott, New York Times bestselling author of, Small Victories: Spotting Improbable Moments of Grace; and Bird by Bird: Some Instructions on Writing and Life  

Allen’s poetry is passionate, inspired, harrowing and hopeful . . . a book bursting with wisdom and life and, yes, hope.” Junot Díaz, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao 

Show Links

Voices of Our Nation Arts Foundation (VONA)
Write This Second Website
Buy Write This Second on Amazon (not an affiliate link)
Connect with Kira on Twitter
Poetry for the People at UC Berkeley
June Jordan’s Website


·       What drove Kira Lynne Allen to finish her book wasn’t just a love for writing. Find out what caused her to even surprise her editor at [8:16].

·       Kira makes an interesting stylistic choice when writing her poetry. Listen to her explanation at [12:13].

·       Curious about where she picked up her style. Skip to [15:41] to hear about Kira’s influence.

·       Want a taste of Write This Second? The author breathes life into her words at [21:33].


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Artist, author, and activist Kira Lynne Allen

Artist, author, and activist Kira Lynne Allen

Kira Lynne Allen is a community-building poet, collage artist, activist, advocate, and facilitator with a Master’s Degree in Transformative Arts from John F. Kennedy University, a Bachelor’s Degree in English/Creative Writing from Mills College, two self-published chapbooks, and more than a dozen poems in anthologies. Still, she honors her Poetry For the People workshops at Glide Memorial Church as the place where she found her voice and the courage to face her struggles as a single mother, sexual abuse survivor, and recovering addict. Now, she delivers phenomenal workshops and performances combining poetry, art, and education, to empower her community. Ms. Allen is blessed to be the mother of two beautiful daughters, a loving partner, and a proud resident of Oakland, CA.