Parthenia M. Hicks is the Poet Laureate Emerita of Los Gatos, CA. and a freelance writer and editor with a Masters of Divinity in Kriya Yoga. She teaches privately and performs and reads poetry in the Bay Area. Her recent work is featured in Song of Los Gatos/Poems of the Gem City; The Call: An Anthology of Women’s Writing; Remembering: An Anthology of Poems; Sweet Obsession: The Art of Lynn Powers, and Local Habitations, featuring the poetry of five Bay Area Poets Laureate; and in The Red
What did the Fellowship or Laureate mean to you at the time you received it?
The Literature/Short Story Fellowship both encouraged and supported me. At the time, I was working three jobs and trying to fit my writing into the cracks of time in between those jobs. To receive a fellowship with no strings attached was profound and I used the financial award to purchase creative time and complete writing projects I had been working on for years. Most of that writing has since been published. I also want to add that the encouragement and critique from the final judges was a huge validation.
What do you do now? Has your art evolved or changed?
I'm still writing, of course, and I continue to support myself as a freelance editor and through writing workshops as well as through the art of jewelry making. Song of Los Gatos, Poems of the Gem City, was published in April 2014 and I have a book of poems, One Night She Swallowed the Moon, due out soon and following that, a chapbook, Apostle Notes. I perform my writing and that of others through spoken word theatre. My jewelry has become integrated into my writing and I now specialize in creating jewelry portraits of writers, poets, and artists. Although I work a lot to stay afloat in order to write, my work is an extension of my writing instead of one of those jobs artists sometimes have to take on in order to survive. I have happily edited five books for local writers and artists and take great joy in supporting my peers in getting their work out into the world.
What is one piece of advice you would give to an emerging artist?
Keep working, no matter what. Never let flattery or criticism turn your head. Value other artists and connect when you can. Trust. Search for those things (music, meditation, dance - whatever is right for you) that open you to your deepest self because that is where the deepest and truest work is. Don't be afraid of your work. Trust and let it take you. Don't drink too much wine or coffee. Walk to clear your head when you need to. Keep working, no matter what.
Briefly, how would you describe the state of the arts locally, as well as national and beyond?
Rich, growing, even if disconnected.
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