Alumni profile - Kim Yudelowitz
I decided to take on a Comparative Literature module and instantly enjoyed it. I really felt like I had found my calling. The modules were so diverse and broad, giving me a chance to read such an exciting range of literature.
(Comparative Literature BA, 2019)
Why did you choose to study Comparative Literature at Queen Mary?
Initially I was a Film student at Queen Mary but didn’t feel like I had found my passion. I decided to take on a Comparative Literature module and instantly enjoyed it. I really felt like I had found my calling. The modules were so diverse and broad, giving me a chance to read such an exciting range of literature.
What modules did you enjoy most and was there anything that surprised you in your studies?
I absolutely loved ‘Grand Tours: 19th Century Adventure Stories for Young Readers and their 20th Century Afterlives’, as it allowed us to interpret books that we had read in our childhood completely differently, such as Pinnochio. I also enjoyed ‘Experiments in Contemporary Women’s Writing’ as it gave me a great insight into works written by women who are underrepresented. Something that surprised me was how few female writers we explored elsewhere, so it was nice to do a full module just on female authors.
You recently published your first collection of poetry, Dissect My Fragile Brain: Poems of Loss, Love and Life. What is the inspiration behind your poetry?
I lost my dad when I was sixteen and really struggled with dealing with my grief and emotions. It was only when I started writing poetry that I felt like I could really process my emotions and channel the sadness I felt as opposed to bottling it up. Capturing my dad in poems has also allowed me to keep his memory alive and even immortalise him.
I’m hoping to organise going back to my high school to talk to other students who are dealing with grief and share my words with them. I also hope to collaborate with Grief Encounters, a charity that helps bereaved children.
How did you go about getting your poetry published?
I actually never set out to get my work published, it happened very organically. I came across a guy name Nic Outterside on Instagram and saw he published poetry anthologies. I messaged him to ask if I could feature in one of the anthologies and he said he wanted to publish a book entirely of my work, which I could not refuse (obviously).
After contacting Nic, we discussed what I wanted the premise of the book to be. I always knew if I was ever to have this opportunity, I wanted it to be a portrayal of grief and showcase my poetry exploring the emotions that come with grief. Nic and I worked together on the editing process and choosing the poems.
What has the reaction been like to your poetry and have there been any memorable opportunities that have come about as a result of your poetry?
Fortunately, I have had an amazing reaction from both friends, family, and strangers alike which has been so humbling. I love the fact I can share my love for my dad and portray just how extraordinary he was. Due to covid, I haven’t been able to make the most of launching the book in independent stores, but I’m hoping to organise going back to my high school to talk to other students who are dealing with grief and share my words with them. I also hope to collaborate with Grief Encounters, a charity that helps bereaved children.
You are currently interested in working in publishing. When did you decide that this was a field you would be keen to work in, and how do you feel your degree will help you in this sector?
Reading books all the time for my course made me realise how passionate I was about storytelling and narratives taking one on a journey. Changing my degree to Comparative Literature was the best thing I ever did as it really allowed me to find my passion.
Studying Literature is a huge advantage in publishing, not only because of the subject matter, but it also gives you an insight into the range of books on the market.
What are your hopes for your writing going forwards? Do you plan to publish more works of poetry?
I am continually writing poetry, not only from a therapeutic perspective but also because I enjoy it, but my main goal is to write a novel. I love reading crime thrillers and I’m currently working on my debut.
Can you describe your career path to date and your current role?
I’ve had a few temporary contracted jobs within publishing, including working at Bloomsbury (despite the fact I am not a Harry Potter fan!) Once the pandemic hit it became increasingly more difficult to get into publishing, so I took on a role at a coffee subscription start up, working in sales and marketing. Unfortunately, the company went insolvent recently so I’m currently focusing on getting a role in publishing and hoping something will come up soon!
How did your degree prepare you for work?
My knowledge of books thanks to my degree should hopefully stand me in good stead for interviews. The subject matter in Comparative Literature is so diverse that I have lots to discuss, not only in interviews but also with my future colleagues.
What was special about your time at Queen Mary?
Meeting such an amazing and diverse group of people made my experience very special. Coming from a Jewish school, it made me really appreciate meeting people from all over the world and learning so much about different cultures. Additionally, the Comparative Literature lecturers were so supportive and passionate, which was super inspiring.
Is there any advice you would give to students interested in studying Comparative Literature?
I would advise you to make the most of the amazing lecturers that are at your disposal. Also, make the most of the amazing facilities available to Queen Mary students, like the libraries - on campus as well as off.
Kim will be sharing some of her poetry in a virtual Alumni Showcase on Thursday 17th June 2021, which is taking place as part of this year's Peopling the Palaces Festival. Find out more and book your free tickets.
- Find out more about studying Comparative Literature at Queen Mary
- Follow Kim on Instagram @PoetryByKim
- Get Dissect My Fragile Brain: Poems of Loss, Love and Life on Amazon
This profile was conducted by Alumni Engagement Coordinator, Nathalie Grey. If you would like to get in touch with Kim or engage her in your work, please contact Nathalie at firstname.lastname@example.org.