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‘The Government Doesn’t Really Like Me’: How Author Mila Cuda Is Inspired by Identity, Sexuality & Spiders

[dropcap size=big]M[/dropcap]ila Cuda is a published author, coach, and performer in the realm of all things poetry. She was awarded as the Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles in 2017 and was recently appointed as the 2018 West Coast Youth Poet Laureate!

“I just really want to make poetry approachable and accessible. You should be able to cry, laugh, and sing to make yourself feel empowered,” Mila says. “I feel like there is a stigma that all poets have to be sad and although that may be a prominent emotion for many of us, I try to fixate on more than that.”

Politically charged poems usually arise when Mila writes about her identity. “Yeah, I’m very gay,” she notes. “It’s awesome but also the government doesn’t really like me.” Her sexual orientation is further explored through her poetry book Dishwater Blonde, where she shares her journey toward proudly identifying as a fierce femme lesbian.

Mila’s inspiration also stems from spiders. She says, “In terms of religion, I believe in spiders. I love spiders so much, like, I can’t believe I haven’t mentioned it yet.” Her infatuation started when she noticed spiders kept appearing at the right time with different meanings to serve. “The day I realized I didn’t need men, there was a black widow walking by my feet,” says Mila.

Born and raised in the Valley area of Los Angeles, Mila attended a public charter school called iLEAD North Hollywood where she was introduced to Get Lit, a non-profit organization that utilizes poetry to increase literacy. She later joined their award-winning poetry group called the the Get Lit Players, and became coach after three short years.

“It’s especially cool coaching because I was on the other side of things for so long. I now have the power to ask what the students want and need from me, so I can do my part to make the experience as comfortable as possible,” she says. “Sharing poetry can be incredibly vulnerable and I want to do my part to make students feel safe.”

I dream of being a hot housewife with a lot of dogs and a lovely wife.

Writing became habitual after Mila decided to write a poem every day as part of her New Year’s resolution. She shares how the poems ranged from various topics because writing on a daily basis helped her find inspiration in the simple things. “A man sneezing, a peculiar Uber ride, my best friend, all lead me to a well of inspiration,” Mila says. “'Oh I was feeling that?' I didn’t know I was feeling that but my brain took me there.”

This next year, Mila plans on being intentional each time she writes. She is taking this semester off from college to focus on learning how to cook, taking care of herself, reading books, and spending time with her girlfriend and family. “I will try to live so I have more experiences to write about,” she notes. “I just want to write books, finish college, and see my friends flourish. Maybe one day I will be a professor but to be completely honest, I dream of being a hot housewife with a lot of dogs and a lovely wife.”

You can find Mila Cuda on Instagram for more information. Below, an original poem:

RELATED: Rise of a 'Geeky' Poet: How Rhiannon McGavin Built a Path to Youth Poet Laureate of Los Angeles

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