Empowering Female Voices
with Lang Leav

Thank you for taking part in our Female Voices project and sharing the inspiring words She will not only climb mountains; she will move them too.  Please can you tell us something about the inspiration and experiences behind these words?

"I wrote The Universe of Us during a time of intense momentum in my life. Hindsight is a powerful thing, and looking back, my prose poem ‘Her Time’ beautifully encapsulates that period. It was busy, creative and fruitful. I felt that I was ‘taking off’ both in a metaphoric and literal sense, as I was touring the world and meeting so many awe-inspiring women during my travels. Now with the pandemic shuttering our lives in way we could never have anticipated or imagined, the prose poem is even more special to me. I think we all get those times in our lives where we go through a similar experience. Call it intuition or magic, we just know when our lives are about to be irrevocably transformed."


 

These words are featured in your book, The Universe of Us, and now embroidered on our Mist silk sleepwear set with all proceeds going to charity. How do you want women to feel when they read these words and wear them too? 

"I want women to feel empowered and free. For me, lingerie has always felt like a personal statement. Similar to poetry, lingerie is a form of self-care. Which is why I think the marrying of poetry and lingerie is such a lovely, gorgeous thing."

 

You write about love and loss, hope and hurt, and being lost and found.  These are complex emotions often expressed from a feminine point of view. Why do you think your work connects especially with women?

"When my poetry went viral, it was like an entire world opened up to me. Suddenly I was part of a network of positive, supportive women from all over the world, united by our shared experiences. Being a woman is hard. It’s gritty, messy and often thankless. The struggles we face are universal and they cross social, economic, and cultural lines. We do a lot of the invisible work that is not always appreciated or acknowledged. Which is why I think it is necessary to celebrate women wherever we can and poetry is especially a great medium for this."

 

 

How has the pandemic affected your thinking and your writing?  In this new world, what messages do you now want to share with your readers?

"The introspection which is present in much of my work was considerably heightened by the six-week lockdown, which in New Zealand, was one of the strictest in the world. Everything stopped. And this sudden grinding to a halt put me in a different headspace. My priorities shifted. My calendar previously filled with travel dates and media commitments switched to meal planning, due dates for the chicken, and the rationing of supplies. This sudden need to be resourceful was born out of necessity but has since changed the way I live. In a strange way, it taught me to shut out the digital world as much as the real one. I think that’s the most important lesson I’ve learned during this uncertain time. Prioritizing your mental health should be your main focus."

 

You currently live in New Zealand.  How does the country inspire you?

"I love so many things about living in New Zealand. Our prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, governs under the key principle of kindness, and this has influenced much of her policy decisions, most notably the handling of the pandemic. Her decision to put our personal safety above the economy has allowed us to live relatively normal lives. I feel incredibly lucky and blessed to be here."

 

Please tell us what projects you have coming up?  Any new work or books due to be released?

"My new book, The Gift of Everything, comes out later this year. It’s a hardcover gift book featuring thirty five new poems and my original artworld, in addition to pieces I’ve selected across all my previous titles. I’ve also been quietly working away on my third novel, which I am super excited about!"

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