Li Voice – Whitney Hanson
With instant recognition as an instagram and TikTok poetry sensation, Whitney Hanson has risen to the top within her generation. She is more than just a social media star and takes poetry to the next level. Her poetic posts are finding ways to make it relatable and inviting to everyone. With over a million followers, her message “poetry isn’t a dead language” is definitely proving to be right!
She has become a member of the #lisquad! And let me tell you guys, after getting the time to learn more about her, she’s truly proven to be a beautiful person inside and out! Her poetry is powerful and impressive, and at such a young age! Furthermore, we are excited to continue to see her creative career grow!
For those of you who don’t know….
Whitney Hanson is the author of Home and Climate. Through Whitney’s vulnerability and authenticity, she has connected with thousands of readers and adamantly believes that poetry is not a dead language; rather it is the key to unlocking true vulnerability which leads to deeper connection with one another. Whitney grew up in rural Montana and she now attends university in South Carolina.
Okay let’s get into it!
When did you (Whitney) know poetry would be the writing outlet for you? Introduce us to your journey to poetry and how you got to where you are currently.
Poetry became important to me when I was around 16 years old. At the time I was going through a dark season, and I needed an outlet to cope with my emotions. I fell in love with poetry because it is a limitless form of expression. At its best poetry doesn’t have rules or guidelines. It can be a few thoughts scribbled on a page, or it can be beautiful rhymes and vivid analogies. Poetry was exactly what I needed when I felt like my world internally and externally was crumbling. And it allowed me to tie emotions to something tangible.
Poetry remained a constant outlet for me through high school and college. I didn’t have big goals to publish books or share my writing on a large scale. I wrote primarily as an act of saving myself. It wasn’t until I began sharing my writing that I realized what a powerful tool of connection language can be. Poetry makes us feel less alone.
Can you describe your book, Home, and where the inspiration came from?
All the poems in HOME reflect my real experiences and feelings. HOME was birthed from a pivotal point in my life. I was a sophomore in university, and I had recently left a broken relationship. I was lost and searching for something that felt like home. Through the process of breaking, searching, and healing I poured my emotions into poetry. HOME is a collection of my journey navigating heartbreak and finding my way home.
What is your favorite poem(s) in your book? And Why?
i like the way she only drinks out of mugs
i like the bridge of freckles that tiptoe across her nose
i like the way she sings to make mundane tasks come alive
i like the way she values eye contact
and won’t give it to you unless you’ve earned it
i like how she can’t finish brushing her teeth
without coming up with six new ideas to change the world
i’m in love with who she is becoming
and she is me
This poem is significant to me because it was a moment of realization. I had spent all this time looking for love when it was always within me.
What’s a message you hope people take away from reading your poetry?
One of the messages I hope people take away from reading Home is that healing is not a linear process. It is normal to experience heartache in waves. There is a line in home that says “don’t allow anyone to make you to believe that your emotions should be anything predictable. You are the ocean and that is how it is meant to be.” I think there is freedom in allowing ourselves to feel the waves as they come.
When writing or reading poetry what’s your favorite setting? Can you help illustrate the scene for us?
I don’t often sit down with the intention to write. I frequently find myself typing little poems in the notes on my phone. The best poems reveal themselves in unlikely places: the bathroom floor, the seat of an airplane, while walking to school. I believe poetry is found where life is happening.
Have you ever had writer’s block? What’s the best technique you’ve found helps to combat it?
For me writer’s block is a signal that I need to take a break, step away, and return later. I usually find that if I sleep on it and come back the next day, I find the words I am looking for.
Has finding the balance of being a student and growing your personal brand been difficult? Any advice for those who wish to pursue a similar path?
It has been challenging to balance everything because I am also a student athlete alongside being a student and a creator. I am wrapping up my senior year this spring. I would tell others that there is no rush. Equally important, keep pursuing your goals but remember to take the time to celebrate your accomplishments and take in the experience.
Do you have another creative outlet other than poetry?
I love doing anything creative, from painting to pottery to music. Music is probably my biggest creative outlet other than poetry. I enjoy writing songs and playing guitar.
Why do you think your poetry has clicked with so many people on your tiktok channel?
My goals is to make poetry relatable and accessible to anyone. I think one reason my poetry has clicked with so many people is that it captures complex feelings in a way people can understand. People often think of poetry as intricate and confusing. I want to make poetry that resonates with anyone.
Lastly, what is next on your creative bucket list?
One thing on my creative bucket list is to host live events centered around poetry. I would like to have more in person interaction with the poetry community. This June I am hosting a poetry retreat in Greece where we will be writing together and sharing our ideas. I’m looking forward to real life discussions about writing and creativity.
Do you love these exclusive looks behind the book cover? Are you a published poet and want to share your voice? Then check out these other voices shared on little infinite!