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Tamara Nazywalskyj

Tamara Nazywalskyj (she/her) is a Montreal poet and passionate teacher. She holds a BA from Concordia University in Creative Writing, and an MA in Education. Tamara just returned home from an incredible 6 month backpacking trip around the world funded entirely by her dedication to her side hustles. She bakes; she is a self-taught sewist slowly making more and more of her wardrobe entirely her own; she loves to create. She’s into long walks (but not in the Romantic way) in nature; and completely comes to life in the sun. Her work has been featured in many literary magazines from 2016-present; She is often a guest writer for Yolk’s Poetry for Pedestrians; and finally, most notably Tamara's début chapbook “NIGHT, WHEN YOU VISIT ME” launched in 2022 and sold out all 1st Edition copies on the first day! She has read at Argo Books St. Catherine, as well as 'Speak-Up Montreal'. 

I have always had envy for the Stephen Kings, Elizabeth Gilberts and bell hooks who have written steadily and with much cadence throughout their lives. 

My creative process is something I have never been proud of or too regimented about, contrary to what I know to be “good” writing techniques, or how to be a “good” writer. 

I know that I should wake up and prioritize my writing. Like one would with exercise and drinking water. I know that I should treat my writing like a muscle. Write a sentence a day. Even a word, damn it. But until now, I have never been that writer. I treat writing like I do eating: I injure when I want. Sometimes it feels like deprivation and then greed. I can’t be told or held accountable. A poem isn’t a job for me; it is a construction of passion, sometimes a whimsical force that moves through me — in with one breath, out with the other. I’ve been lucky to have some poems and prose come to me in dreams; inconveniently while I’m driving; right in the middle of a lecture. In those cases, I always take a moment to write down the idea on a running Google Document that I have had for years. This helps me see ideas, play with words, and understand my evolution. I can access it quickly on my phone, and then move on with my day, get back to teaching a class, turning left, cooking dinner. 

Although, it would be a lie to say this is how I have approached every writing project. Without structure. It is certainly not how I wrote and got my first Chapbook intro fruition. 

That process required a diligent attitude. I showed up for myself each day and wrote a poem before the hour of midnight. It didn’t matter what I wrote — or so I told myself. All I had to do, was sit down, shut up, and write. I did this for about 75 days. I ended up with about 75 poems. 

So many of these poems sounded the same. Sometimes they were written moments apart. The minutes between yesterday's calendar day, and tomorrow's. The voice was the same. I was the same. I hadn’t grown or changed, or perhaps I had but not enough to notice in a poem, anyway. 

I felt more often than not, just stagnated. What came of those poems was something magnificent though. 

After much revision putting the piece down and picking it up again, I had enough material to mould my work into something cohesive with a long-running thread. I think I can do this again. 

I want to do this again. Have patience. Have diligence. Say the same thing again and again until it turns into something else and is, ever so hopefully, reborn in my lap. 

This is my process. 

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