Tabs open on your screen right now:
A Google search for Mendi + Keith Obadike and bikini photos of Jada Pinkett’s mom.

If you had to brag about yourself:
I think my jokes are funny.

Your writer crush:
Teju Cole for the Times

Favorite lyric:
And I be the shit, now you got loose bowels—Lil Wayne, “A Milli”

Any place in the world:
Harare, Zimbabwe

Best breakfast:
bangers & mash

Favorite online places right now:
Savage X Fenty. But if we’re talking literary journals, Cosmonauts Avenue.

Sweetest thing:
Bread pudding with rum sauce. Good kisses.

Your rituals (writing or not):
My writing day is at least 20% anxiety attacks and 30% hot yoga.

Least impressive thing about you:
I’m ticklish.

Favorite space to write:
In the sun, on my patio. Who said you can’t multitask?

What should we know:
Never underestimate the importance of probiotics.

Guilty literary pleasure:
Ghostwritten celebrity memoirs. And pop-up books.

Best book nobody talks about:
Dandarians by Lee Ann Roripaugh

Character (TV, book, movie) you most identify with:
Tracee Ellis Ross’ Instagram.

Last time you lied:
Probably somewhere in this interview

The lie:
I’ll never tell… ?

Question you secretly want to be asked:
What if we did a folio in which you exes reviewed poems you wrote about them?

The answer:
Well, I’m glad you asked…


SHAYLA LAWSON is the author of three books of poetry—A Speed Education in Human Being, the chapbook PANTONE and I Think I’m Ready to see Frank Ocean—and the forthcoming essay collection THIS IS MAJOR (Harper Perennial, 2020).

Photo Credit: Kareem Black