Lorraine Currelley in Conversation with Deborah Tosun Kilday, Founder & CEO National Beat Poetry Foundation

Lorraine Currelley
4 min readAug 20, 2020
Deborah Tosun Kilday, Founder/CEO National Beat Poetry Foundation

The National Beat Poetry Foundation announced its new honorees recently. Honorees are poets representing the United States and an international group of poets from around the world. In celebration of new honorees the National Beat Poetry Festival serves as host for a celebration lasting three days.

The Corona virus pandemic and travel restrictions prevent the annual physical gathering from happening this year. However Deborah Tosun Kilday is not one to be deterred by challenges. She is determined and has plans of her own in the works.

National Beat Poetry Foundation Honorees 2020

Q: This is a very exciting time of the year for the National Beat Poetry Foundation. Why the National Beat Poetry Foundation and what are the goals and responsibilities?

A: Yes, it is. It is our goal to recognize, nurture and encourage individuals to use their voices to express themselves freely by carrying on the Beat tradition of bringing to light the injustices that exist, and to create positive change in the world. Individuals that write about things that matter to all of us. Clean water, clean air, eradicating poverty and hunger, protecting the environment, having a education, creating a safe environment for children, protecting women’s rights, having healthcare, creating equality for all people and living in a more loving, caring and nurturing way. These are just a few of the things the Beat Movement represents and tries to promote using poetry, prose, music, and art. The National Beat Poetry Foundation, Inc. supports the further development and exposure of non-traditional poetry by hosting, collaborating, and fostering joint partnerships for Beat-themed poetry readings, festivals, workshops, plays, and radio shows, locally, across the US and worldwide. We welcome people of all ages, backgrounds, and sexual orientations.

Q: The work of the writer can be joyous, complex as well as challenging. For those who may be unfamiliar with your writing, how would you describe it?

A: I write about all different subjects and put myself mentally in other peoples situations and write. Many of my poems talk about love, lost love, suicidal thoughts, environmental concerns, and although most of my work may seem depressing, I sometimes write with a comic twist.

Q: Who are some of your favorite writers or writers whose work resonant with you?

A: There are many different writers and styles of writing that I enjoy reading. I cannot list them all. To name a few that have influenced my writing, I would name J.R.R. Tolkien, Edgar Allen Poe, Jack Kerouac, Allen Ginsberg, Amiri Baraka, Mark Twain, George Orwell, just to name a few.

Q: What are some of the projects you’re actively engaged in at present,
along with the National Beat Poetry Festival?

A: Right now during these stressful times of the ongoing pandemic, I am going forward and planning my yearly beat festival despite this. I’m instead focusing on naming new Beat Laureates and celebrating them and their accomplishments. I will hold a virtual awards ceremony to honor the newly named laureates and live-stream the event. I am producing a new beat anthology featuring some 60 poets. The book will be called Beat Generation 2020. I work hard to connect with different poets throughout the world everyday so that they too can plan beat themed events in their own communities when the pandemic is over. Some of my Beat Poet Laureates are planning virtual beat history workshops. Now more than ever people need to be given encouragement to share their voices and concerns. Now more than ever the Beat movement is alive and growing.

Q: When will the National Beat Poetry Festival take place?

A: We have not locked in specific dates at this time.

Q: Please notify us when you have locked in specific dates. We would like to share this information with our readers.

A: I will notify you as soon as I have the information.

LC: Thank you, for taking time out of your busy schedule for this interview.

DTK: Thank you.

L:C: I was notified by Deborah Tosun Kilday after our interview and this is what she had to say.

DTK: The National Beat Poetry Foundation, Inc. 2020 Beat Poetry Festival will be held virtually September 4,5,6, 2020. Beat Poet Laureate Awards Ceremony will take place on 9/5/2020. Participants from all over the world will be showcasing their talents during the three day festival. Two members of the original Beat Generation will be joining us in this historic event. Anne Waldman and David Amram. They are joining our new generation beats and will be honored with a lifetime achievement award during the festival. There will also be a open mic portion. It will also be added to our YouTube Channel to view.

To learn more and follow the National Beat Poetry Foundation.
Visit our home site for our festival schedule:www.nationalbeatpoetryfoundation.org

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Lorraine Currelley

daughter/ancestor rooted intuitive writer/poet laureate/artist/curator/admin/mental health counselor& advocate