Through the Eyes of a Poet series #11
Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Laura Manipura
Objective: To encourage people to broaden their reading interests through poetry, support the poetry community, and introduce you to poets and their personal stories.
For updates on this series: Join this Author Newsletter.
Hello poetry friends.
Today I bring to you the story of a lovely poet named Laura Manipura, whose life is rich with interest. I find myself wanting to know more about her and the experiences she’s had just from her intro! I hope you’ll spend some time here with me today celebrating this free-spirited, deep-thinking poet who brings so much to the world through her words.
About this poet
I was born in Columbia, South Carolina, but being a navy brat, I was moved around a bit before returning to attend college. In 1996, I was called by Mother Nature and father guru to move to Roanoke, Virginia and then from there to a small spiritual community.
According to the Past Lives Deck by Doreen Virtue, I have been writing for lifetimes. But in this birth, writing began with reading. As a shy, introverted child, I preferred the company of words and began reading at an early age. I learned it from my mother, who learned it from her father. My grandfather used to stay up so late reading that he would ask my mother to go to the phone on the corner to call in sick for him.
Tell me about how you came to be a poet.
I used to attend a weekly Sunday night “Praise Jam” in a community two hours from where I lived. I was surrounded by singing bowls, chimes, and rain sticks; all inviting me to play. There were poetry books in the center of the circle; Rumi, Hafiz & David Whyte. Sometimes people would sing, other times read poetry, play instruments, or just make animal noises. Ever the introvert, I was surprised when I started reading poetry aloud. So tender, so raw; it moved me to tears. I’d drive home after that, singing my mantra to stay awake, then climbing into bed late; only to awaken before dawn all on fire with pretty words.
Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.
How do I choose just one? Holy Jeans is a social commentary while Sister’s on the Wheel represents a time in my life when I suffered through the pain of being rejected in love. Both pieces are unique for me, as they weave stories with mystery. I am usually more straightforward in my writing.
I am the bowl God holds to the light,
after the fire, turning me this way and that,
throwing me against the wall,
I shatter into a million pieces.
The lady of the house comes,
in her long flowing gown,
to sweep me up.
She dances with the broom,
singing God’s name.
And the world turns, and the world turns…
Read the rest of Holy Jeans
And the second poem…
A forest giant crosses my path,
And I am homeless once again,
As he brushes my lace from his bearded face.
I have seen you twist that hair before.
Its endless, the twisting, a hairy dance.
Everything we do takes us away.
Read the rest of Sisters on the Wheel
What is your greatest hope with regards to your poetry?
I enjoy it when readers comment and tell me they are touched, inspired, or drawn in by the imagery. To be honest though, it’s very important to me that my awesome talent is recognized in the world. I have heard it said that talent comes from God. I’m not sure, but I do know that words sometime spill out of me effortlessly. Being unemployed though, I would really like to earn money as a writer, doing something I enjoy, without the pressure to meet the expectations of others. But, we are never free of that; are we?
Does your poetry have a message or a theme that you want to portray to the world?
No, not really. I am most often deeply inspired by the heartbreak and yearning of unrequited love. I quite enjoy the pain and depths of emotion. It’s interesting to now to go back and read my mother’s collection of love poems. I suspect there is a lot of pain there as well, but she won’t share until my father passes on.
How do your poems come to you? And how do you take them from the initial inspiration to the final poem? Tell me about your writing process.
Poetry comes when I am relaxing away from my computer, either in the bed sleeping, or in the bath. I have learned to pay attention to that call and immediately get up to write it down before I lose it. Just yesterday I discovered the voice recorder application on my phone. Let the fun begin. That said, there also times when only two verses come out and then I am left with an unfinished poem sitting in my drafts folder for months.
One last question, what would you say to readers who do not normally read poetry to encourage them to read the genre?
Did you know that music is poetry? Listen to the words of Leonard Cohen, when he says “Ring the bell that still can ring, forget your perfect offering.” Listen to music; maybe rap music, read children’s poetry, watch documentaries about poets. Then, if you feel inspired to write, start with writing prompts, or adding a new verse to a favorite poem. Acrostic poetry is an easy way to start. Think of a word; like writer, and then start the first line with the letter, W, the second line with the letter R, and so on.
Many thanks to Laura for sharing a bit of her life with us–if you’d like to follow Laura’s work you may find her on Medium:
Thank you for reading about this featured poet. I invite you to include poetry in your reading and give this genre a chance to enrich your life. I will be featuring poets on my blog (Author Website), in my newsletter (Author Newsletter), and on my Medium platform (Fiddleheads & Floss Poetry). I welcome you to read about these poets, support them, and perhaps find a poet that brings something very meaningful to your life.