Have A Little Love: Cebuano Poet Kota Yamada on His Craft, Creativity and Surviving The Emo Era

February 12, 2018Krisha

Here at thirdworldbooknerd.com, we’re all about the local love. We want our readers to know that our creative and writing scene is— against all odds—  alive and ready to thrive. We also want our writers to know that we’ve got their back.

So we thought, hey, What better way to show this support than by getting to know our local writers?

We want you guys to know that yes, it’s very possible to grow an audience here in the island. It’s very possible to write a book and tell people all about it.

Say hello to Kota Yamada, the Cebu-based poet who gave us not one, but two poetry collections (Lost Hearts, It Was Rather Short Lived) that are sure to hit you right in the feels.

In this first installment of  the thirdworldbooknerd author interview series, we get to know what inspires Kota to write poems, how he first got into writing (spoiler: it involves emo songs!) and more.

Catch Kota on his first Southeast Asian tour on June 24-26. Photo from Kota Yamada

Hi Kota! Welcome to thirdworldbooknerd’s first author interview. Can you tell our readers a bit about yourself?

Hello readers! My name is Kota Yamada and I’m a poet and writer. I like long walks in the park filled with dragons, romance, and everything vintage.

You’re a poet. That’s awesome. When did you start writing poetry?

I distinctly remember trying to write a song when I was in 3rd-year high school, convinced I can make a decent emo song. And the rest was history, counting the numerous times I couldn’t stomach my own creation, but at least there’s growth, right?

What inspires you to write poems? Do they all come from personal experiences?

Break-ups, anxiety, depression, bullying, self-hate are among the reasons why I write. It was an outlet, a vortex to another dimension, probably alien. Yes, it’s definitely alien.

What’s the best remedy to writer’s block?

A really sturdy sledgehammer called “practice”. It helps. It becomes second nature just like breathing.

photo from Kota’s official FB page

We heard you self-published your books. Tell us about self-publishing and how it can help aspiring writers.

I realized that writing a really good book was only half the battle. I wanted to understand how publishing worked hoping to help other aspiring writers succeed in the future. If they want advice and actual publishing results they can always reach out through my company, Yamada Publishing.

What do you think about the local creative scene?

A thriving mosaic of absolute awesomeness. It is a force to be reckoned with when seen for its raw beauty; it can outmatch other overly marketed rivals.

Any advice for people who wanna follow your footsteps?

Read. Write. Observe. Travel. But most of all, Dream. You might have a Ferrari but what’s the use if it has no engine. You have to want it, rely on it to push you forward. How can you write something if you don’t know a thing about it?

Okay, last thing. Can you share some inspiration for our readers? (books to read, shows to watch, music to listen to for inspiration?)

I would suggest all those overrated YAs to the literary classics, even non-fiction, digital to memes, and everything in between. The sort of elitist mindset that you have to read Faulkner, Atwood, or Tolstoy stems from a sense of one-sidedness. Watch movies, series, classics, and cartoons. Listen to every strand of chord made by every possible artist. The goal of a writer is to be informed, and to be not one but numerous peoples.

But if I had to suggest one, read Becoming A Writer by Dorothea Brande, it helped me understand what it takes to be one and if you want to delve into screenplay, Save the Cat! by Blake Snyder.

Lastly, there is no such thing as a new idea, it’s a unicorn. All ideas stem from previous ideas. It’s a writer’s job to string together these preexisting ideas into new and exciting ones that make people say, “This is clever!”

One advice that completely summarizes how to write good literature is: “Write something familiar, but completely different.”


Catch Kota on his first Southeast Asian tour this June 24-26. Say hi on his Facebook page here.

Stay tuned for more local author interviews and features! Until next time! 🙂

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