A Poet You Should Know: Samantha Lazar

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #8

Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Samantha Lazar

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.


I am excited to bring you another issue of the Through the Eyes of a Poet series; a series I hope you are enjoying. It is a true blessing to me to bring you the stories of these creative spirits. Today, I’d like to introduce you to a poet friend of mine, Samantha Lazar.

Samantha is originally from Madison, Wisconsin but now lives in my home state, North Carolina. We toss around the idea of having coffee together sometime when I am out her way–and if the poetic stars align, we shall.

Samantha was a born storyteller.

Her family reports that she has been telling stories since she first learned to talk. Today, she tells stories through poetry. Her poetic spirit came alive very early in her life. She spent a lot of time alongside the feed corn fields in Wisconsin, dreaming she was a doctor to the faeries, making dandelion chains, and making up stories in her head. Her love for this time in nature has brought her to poetry. What began as an escape for her from childhood trauma, the dissension in her parents’ relationship, and her father’s recurring illnesses, became a way to express herself through creativity.

Samantha’s education has prepared her for a successful writing life. She has a Bachelor of Science in English and Education with a concentration in creative writing from Appalachian State University, as well as a Masters in Education, with major in Academically, Intellectually Gifted Education (AIG). She’s been teaching writing, English, and Language Arts to students of all ages since 1998.

Samantha is a Top Writer in Poetry on the Medium platform. For those of you unfamiliar with exactly what that is; Medium has Top Writer status in many of their tags and only 50 of their writers obtain this status for each tag. To be one of them is an honor, especially in the highly competitive Poetry tag. Samantha publishes her work on Medium as well as on Samantha’s personal website. She’s currently working on 2 projects for publication so be sure to follow her (links at the bottom) to stay informed!

Without further adieu, here’s an interview with Samantha on her body of work, her vision, and her thoughts on the poetic genre:

Describe the vision / style / content / etc of your poetry?:

I write mostly free verse poetry about a variety of topics.  I write often about nature and my observations during daily life.  I tend to write emotional pieces about life, motherhood, healing from childhood trauma, the state of the world.  I also enjoy rhyme and rhythm.

Tell me about your writing process with regards to writing poetry, specifically.

Any time I think of an idea for a poem, I write it down. I will grab a scrap of paper, if my notebooks are not with me, or I will use the notes app on my phone. I do not want to let amazing details slip by.

My students (I teach 5th grade) say remarkable things. Their wisdom sparks curiosity in me. I write questions and words and make a million lists.  Then I sit down to write my poem. I combine thoughts together. If I feel something while I am writing (usually this comes in the form of jitters in my solar plexus) then I know I am on to something.  

Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.

One poem that is very special to me is titled Yom Hashoah.

Yom Hashoah is Holocaust Remembrance Day.  In Hebrew, “shoah” means “whirlwind”or the catastrophe. One of the traditions on this day is to read aloud the list of names of people who perished.  People take turns reading the names all day. A few years ago, I wrote this poem after spending 20 minutes reading names from the children’s list.

(excerpt)

Their names slip from the list
to my lips
and they are the flame

the uprising
the hope
of the forgotten

Not even a whirlwind cyclone of
hate sprayed
fear epidemics
could un-light these flames

Read this poem in full at: Yom Hashoah


This poem can also be listened to, as recorded by the poet:

Listen to Yom Hashoah

If you had a piece of advice for other poets, what would that be?

Poets need sacred pauses. Stop to notice your life. Recognize yourself for a moment.  It is important to allow your senses to find the words.

What would you say to people who may not consider poetry to be “their thing?”

I would ask them, What is your thing? When they tell me what their thing is, I would ask them to describe why their thing is their thing. Then I would ask them to tell me how their thing looks, tastes, smells, feels, sounds and any of their favorite memories associated with their thing. Then I would tell them that they just wrote a poem.

One last question, do you define your poetry or does your poetry define you? Why?

I do not want anything to really define me. If my poetry defines me, then it is up to the reader to say who I am. That is limiting. My poetry can help piece together the parts of me that I share. So in that essence, I suppose I define my poetry.


I am sad to report that Samantha lost her father due to illness this past week. She wrote the following poem about her experience.

in the rough
you recognized me
your blue eyes, blazing
searched the surface
for the mouth that tried
to sing to you
to help you sink back
away from the pain
impatient hearts
are still strong
broken bodies still heal
if they take a chance
to live

Hearts
by Samantha Lazar (written for her father who passed away this past week)

Thank you Samantha for taking some time to share your beautiful work with us. The poetry community also reaches out with empathy in this difficult time for you and your family. I know that writing can be very healing, cathartic, and can get us through the most turbulent times. May poetry be there for you when you need it most, my friend.

Christina

Follow Samantha’s body of work or connect with her on social media:

Personal website: Samantha Lazar Writing

Medium link: Samantha Lazar on Medium

Medium poetry publications: Sky Collection Project by Samantha Lazar

Newsletter:  Subscribe to my newsletter. Other:  Twitter




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.

Poetically yours,
Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger
Become a fan
Purchase ::organic:: (My first poetry collection–5 ⭐ reviews and reaching BEST SELLER status for poetry books about nature!)

Spotlight on Poet Elaine Hamilton

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #7

Elaine Hamilton, poet

Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Elaine Hamilton

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.

I recently had the opportunity to speak with a poet that I am familiar with on the Medium platform, and who writes for my personal Medium publication, Fiddleheads & Floss. Elaine Hamilton lives in Seattle, Washington and has been writing poetry for over 10 years. Though, she wasn’t always “open” as a person to the idea of calling herself a poet, poetry has allowed her a way to communicate herself to the world. As she opened up through her poetry, beautiful growth has allowed her to reach deep and inspire others. Poetry really is a way to communicate our hearts to others. She told me a bit about this sentiment and how it has made an impact in her life:

I really didn’t set out to become a writer or poet ( for that matter), It was something that I enjoyed doing, a form of escapism, a way to  bring a little magic into my life and let my creativity take hold. Little by little as I became more comfortable, I began letting a side of me show that I often hide in the real world.

I decided to let my love of nature, spirituality and my whimsical nature come out to play and this is what happened. Three books later, I guess I can say that I’ve found my niche. I love using words to inspire and to make people think, as well as take them to another place. 

Elaine Hamilton, on relating to the world through poetry

On this note, I invite you to read a bit about Elaine’s journey as a poet, the hopes she has for her writing, and her thoughts on the genre. Enjoy this poet’s interview:


Tell me about how you came to be a poet.

I started by doing vision (motivational) boards in high school. I found it easier to write poetry rather than longer, fictional stories. I can often take a photo and write something that matches it, or be inspired by a phrase or word prompt. I’m a “what if” person.

Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.

Just one? Lol! That’s a difficult choice. Most of my poetry has a backstory of some sort. I like to see the realness of people, not just a facade or the glitter. One of my favorite poems is “Illusions.” This one has an interesting backstory, as I was inspired by the reflections of water in a water bottle. Just as there are many facets of a diamond, there are many sides to a person, often what we see can be an illusion.

Illusions

You left me with far too many questions. I don’t know what to believe anymore.
All I have is illusions.

Tell me what is true.
I once believed in you.
I want to know who you really are.
And I don’t want to hold fake diamonds in my hands.

People, places, and things. Memories from long ago.
Turning heads wherever you may be.

City nights. Ruby lights.
Turning your head away from what you don’t want the pretty crowds to see.

Do you remember?
I wonder, do you ever think of me?

Are you happy at the end of the day?
Are you ever lonely when you turn the key?

Hotel rooms and flights.
Luggage lost and silly fights.
Chauffeured limousines.

First class seats.
VIP treats.
That never was my scene.

Beautiful illusion.
Do you know who you are inside?
Show me something real.

What is your greatest hope with regards to your poetry?

I simply wish to inspire, even if it is just one heart or one mind. While it would be nice to have an editor or publication notice, it isn’t really necessary. 

Does your poetry have a message or a theme that you want to portray to the world?

It doesn’t particularly have a theme. Sometimes I write from deep, raw emotion, other times I write about experiences from my perspective. 

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.

Often the words just form themselves. I can be inspired from people watching, going for a walk or from a photo or prompt. I’ll write a few lines here and there, let it sit for a while, then go back. Sometimes, I get lucky and it will all flow nicely and have a voice. Other times, I need to flesh it out a bit more. I’m notorious for struggling on the last few lines, trying to make it have an impact or even the final word so that it will have a meaningful ending. 

One last question, what would you say to readers who do not normally read poetry to encourage them to read the genre?

Poetry can be difficult to get through, to grasp the meaning, but if you look deep inside the words, that is where the true gems lie. It is the heart and soul of a writer. We are sharing deep emotion, and that’s the best way to get to know us. We are passionate creatures, and we let a side of us show in everything we create. 


One of Elaine’s poems that particularly stands out to me is one that she wrote in response to a Fiddleheads & Floss POMprompt (which is an F&F sponsored prompt series on Medium). It is called The Writer and gives us a beautiful glimpse into Elaine’s heart as a writer and what the process feels like to her. Here is an excerpt from that poem:

She sits, looking out upon a field of green.
Seeing things, that often through the naked eye, remains unseen.
A writer, a poet, a dreamer of dreams.
Someone who knows that all is not exactly as it seems.

There is another world out there, one that often calls her.
To feel, to live, to breath, and it enthralls her.

Continue reading The Writer

Many thanks to Elaine for sharing a bit of her work with Fiddleheads & Floss followers–we love to be inspired!


Elaine’s contact /website information:

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.

Poetically yours,
Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger
Become a fan
Purchase ::organic:: (My first poetry collection–5 ⭐ reviews and reaching BEST SELLER status for poetry books about nature!)

Let Me tell You About Poet Mohammed Junaid Khan

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #6

Mohammed Junaid Khan and his wife and son.

Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Mohammed Junaid Khan

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.


We constantly wear a mask and our poetries are the only passage through which our emotions and feelings get a way. Poetry does define us.

Mohammed Junaid Khan

When I first met Mohammed Junaid Khan it was hard not to notice his infectious enthusiasm for his craft. His humility and desire to learn are evident as he asks questions, writes his heart out, and shares his work with the world through poetry.

Mohammed is a businessman from Mumbai, the financial capital of India. The culture of Mumbai greatly influences Mohammed’s work, as well as social issues, injustices or atrocities he sees occurring in the world, and a burning love for his family.

Mohammed shared with me about his culture:

My wife and son are my life. They’re the reason for which I am alive. No matter how defeated I feel in life, the moment I see them, I get motivated to fight for their better future and happiness. I come from India, a land of many religions, cultures, languages, etc with a huge population and poverty. 89% of the wealth is in the hands of only 5% of the population. So you can imagine the kind of struggle people must be doing for the remaining 11% of the wealth. It really breaks my heart to see the people of my country suffer and above that the politicians are so corrupt that they aren’t bothered about the suffering of the people. Wish something could be done for the common people of my country.

Mohammed Junaid Khan

Mohammed began writing in 2003, but started writing on various websites from 2018, recently joining Medium and expanding his writing support system exponentially. He is an active member of the Poets on Medium Facebook group and writes for various sites including Story Mirror and Story Hut. Mohammed is the author of Diary of a Father.

The poetry that Mohammed writes is easily described as deeply emotional. You can feel the empathy and the outrage marry as he voices through poetry a loud call for action about various topics of injustice. Reading Mohammed’s work is thought-provoking, emotional, and at times shocking. He is a voice crying out for someone–anyone–to SEE THIS! Pay attention to this! Do something!

I think that in poetry that is a very important voice.

Sometimes the heart cries the loudest when the mind tries so hard to look away. Mohammed’s work doesn’t let us look away.

Christina M Ward

Without further adieu, I present to you this brief interview with Mohammed on his poetry, his writing process, and his inspirations.

Tell me about what inspires your poetry.

Let’s take an example of farmer’s suicide in our country, India. It literally hurts me and I want to write against the people because of whom the poor farmers are taking such steps and I want people to do something for them. It’s really important that we the poets take such issues seriously as I believe literature has the power to bring about a change in the society and it has been part of numerous revolutions.

Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.

I wrote a poem FIRE, a political satire. See, the citizens of almost all the countries want peace and development of the entire world but the leaders whom we select to rule us have manipulated things to benefit their own self. It’s inspired from the Jungle Book where the monkey King Louis asks Mowgli to teach him to make fire.

Below is the poem:

FIRE

There was this land where humans and animals were living in peace,
Everything flourished, the forests, the villages and all the cities,

Only human can rule this land was not a necessity,
You can call that land, the land of actual democracy,

All the offspring of animals, including human would attend the same school,
They would be taught languages, arts and also how to use various tools,

After an election, the monkeys got the majority,
Now they were the rulers of all the forests, the villages and the major cities,

But then the biggest mistake was made,
At school they were taught how fire was made,

Actual use of fire was only understood by humans,
All other animals being scared  kept their distance,
Except the monkeys who with the fire, decided to have fun,

They took the fire as a tool to play,
And they burnt down the school right away,

The humans, the other animals tried to protest,
But it was the rule of the monkeys, all their pleas and demonstrations were suppressed,

The art of making fire spread amongst the monkeys like a jungle fire,
And to play and have fun with it, was what every monkey desired,

First, the school, then the forests, villages and cities were burned down to ground,
All other species were rendered powerless and they couldn’t make a sound,

It turned into ashes, which was once a flourishing land,
They bought this destruction on themselves, as not electing the monkeys to power was in their own hands.

(Read Fire on Medium and follow Mohammed’s work)

If you had a piece of advice for other poets, what would that be?

Write your heart out. Write something that pleases you first and then the audience. Don’t go for appreciation, not all your work will be appreciated and there is an audience for every kind of work.

One last question, do you define your poetry or does your poetry define you? Why?

I am a businessman running a plastic recycling business. When I am at my work, and people who have read my poetries see me at my factory, they can never relate the poet with the businessman. The world is a cruel place and poets are soft-hearted people. We constantly wear a mask and our poetries are the only passage through which our emotions and feelings get a way. Poetry does define us.


I am grateful for poets like Mohammed, who bravely shout their hearts to the world. Sometimes they can be an uncomfortable mirror to our cultures–but how important this work. I thank Mohammed for sharing a bit of his poetic journey with us and invite you, dear reader, to offer your readership and support to this growing poet. He has a lot to say on what is going on in this world and is an encouragement to us all to love people, have empathy, and to embrace our own humanity, honestly.

To follow Mohammed’s work you can check out the following links to his body of work:


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.

Poetically yours,
Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger
Become a fan
Purchase ::organic:: (Read the reviews!)

Introducing Poet Annie Bell

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #5

Poet Annie Bell

Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Annie Bell

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.

Writing poetry started as a way to work through my feelings. Writing poetry became my way to express myself. Writing poetry gave a voice to parts of me that I had kept silent for a long time. Writing poetry gave a voice to my soul, my heart and my body.

Annie Bell

It took a lifetime of swallowed feelings, a few unhealthy and impactful relationships, and a therapy process called Somatic Therapy for Annie Bell to find herself as a poet. Perhaps you can relate to the thin veil between emotion and the surface of poetry? Annie found this thermocline and plunged through it with her heart in her hands.

It wasn’t easy. But in the words of this new poet: “I became a poet when I let myself feel again. As soon as I stopped discounting my feelings, becoming a poet was inevitable.”

The story behind one of her poems that is especially personal and meaningful demonstrates how Annie’s journey through emotional healing has led her to the therapeutic world of poetry. Listen to her words on this very special poem:

My poem Follow Your Feelings is very special to me. The very first line of this poem that I ever wrote was, ‘Follow your feelings to the place inside where you trust yourself and the truth resides.’ But, as you will find when you read the poem, this is not the first line of the poem. Each stanza of this poem was actually written weeks apart from one another. Each stanza is a realization that I had independent of one another.

Follow your feelings to the place inside
Where you trust yourself and the truth resides.

from Follow Your Feelings, by Annie Bell

The first line I wrote was a realization that if I pay attention to my feelings—I can more clearly see the truth of a situation. My brain tends to rationalize things, but my feelings are straight forward. For example, looking back at that engagement that I called off: when he proposed I remember all the feelings in my body screaming, ‘No!’ I got a pit in my stomach, I got short of breath, my throat tightened up, I started sweating, my legs wanted to run.

On the other hand, my mind rationalized, ‘While I never had a desire to marry him, and we sure do have our problems, if he cares enough about me to propose to me, I believe we can resolve our problems and live a happy life.’ After analyzing many more past situations and comparing how my body felt and what my brain rationalized to the actual outcome of the situation, I learned to trust my feelings and to follow them to the truth to which they are always trying to lead me.

Although each stanza of this poem was an independent realization, I was tickled to discover that I could piece them together like a puzzle to create one very wise poem. 😊

To this day, this poem serves as a mantra of sorts for myself. I frequently find myself repeating each of these stanzas to myself at different times when I need to be reminded of the particular lesson/wisdom in each one.

Annie Bell

Annie is a fairly new poet, having written poetry for the last two years. She publishes her work primarily on Medium.com. I welcome you to enjoy this brief interview with Annie as she shares with us her thoughts on her poetry, the poetic process, and the genre of poetry, in general. You will find links to follow her work at the bottom of this blog post.


What is your greatest hope with regards to your poetry?

Before I was able to express myself through poetry, I really relied on relating to other people’s words/feelings in books and music lyrics. I wanted to start sharing my poetry so that those who can relate to it, can be helped by it. Back when I was exclusively sharing poetry on my Instagram account, my Instagram bio used to read, “Dark and light, the contrast of life. I write what I feel. I want to be real. If you feel it too, my words may connect with you.” That about sums it up!

Does your poetry have a message or a theme that you want to portray to the world?

So far my poetry has consistently hit one of the following themes/messages: freedom, empowerment, overcoming, healing, growth, self-discovery, self-love, having a voice, being yourself, creativity, FEELING, and finally a bit of spiritual awakening.

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.

My poems usually come to me in just one phrase that kind of describes the essence of the poem. I could be driving, walking, talking with someone, listening to a podcast, or working, and a thought or feeling will just pop into my head or come out of my mouth that makes me say to myself, “There is a poem there!” I have a note app on my phone where I quickly jot down the sentence or two of my idea and then later on, when I have the time and focus to work on the poem, it comes to life.

For example, the poem I Am Here developed because I wanted to move, but I felt totally stuck and I was making myself miserable with my thoughts about trying to figure out how to move and where to move. I finally just told myself, I AM HERE—and an instant later, I knew I would write a poem about it.

Another example is my poem, The Remarkable. I was on a walk talking with a friend on the phone. We were talking about how when one feels sad or depressed it is so hard to feel inspired to take action in life. I think I said something to her like, “Sometimes everything inside is just so damp and dark and heavy that you can’t start a fire even if there is a spark.” And then I said out loud to her, “There is a poem there!” I made a note in my phone. We finished our long conversation and days later I made the time to write the poem.

However, I will admit that some of my poems come to life by trying to resolve some long standing issues. Sometimes I will sit down with an idea in my mind or a feeling in my soul that I am going to set out to do some self-discovery. For example, when I wrote A Cage of My Own Making, I sat down in front of my computer knowing that I had something to express, but not knowing what it was. I literally wrote (in a rather snarky way), “Ok, so what does that wise voice inside have to say today?” Then, the poem spilled out. Thanks to this poem, I frequently remind myself, if I am feeling trapped…I am probably stuck in a cage of my own making, and I am also the key to my own freedom.

One last question, what would you say to readers who do not normally read poetry to encourage them to read the genre?

To encourage readers to check out the genre of poetry, I am going to go out on a limb for them–I am going to risk my credibility for them.

I confess, I frequently read poetry and think to myself, “What? I don’t get it.” I confess, I frequently read poetry and think to myself, “Well, I felt nothing while reading that.” I confess, I frequently read poetry and think, “That was weird.”  

BUT, I also frequently read poetry and feel as though my heart is pounding out of my chest.

I frequently read poetry and laugh out loud at its cleverness. I frequently read poetry and find myself releasing tears of joy, tears of anger, and tears of sadness. I frequently read poetry and feel the author’s soul speaking with mine. I frequently read poetry and am in awe of the imagery and beautifully crafted rhyme and rhythm. I frequently read poetry that says things that cannot be said any other way.

The thing I have discovered about poetry, is that if you can relate to it, it speaks to you. I know for a fact that all those poems I read but was not impressed by, will be read by hundreds of people who are utterly in love with it. We are all different people, with different experiences, and poems will speak to each of us differently.

So, read poetry—it may validate your feelings, it may teach you something, it may warm your heart, it may bring a smile to your face, or it may change your life.


Thank you so much Annie, for sharing a bit of your personal journey with us and sharing with us about your poetry. I am happy you have been able to work through the clutter of emotional disarray and find your way to the poetry that lives there. There are so many who can be inspired by your work.


If you would like to follow Annie’s journey, read her work, and become a fan, you can find her on the following platforms:

Annie Bell on Medium–@wholeheartedempire
Annie Bell on Instagram–@wholeheartedempire

May your love grow like sunflowers
Vast and eager
Basking in the warm light of your joy

May your love grow like pine
Evergreen and unrefined
Flourishing amidst the bleak cold

May your love grow like daisies
wild and bold…


from
How Love Grows
by Annie Bell

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.

Poetically yours,
Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger
Become a fan
Purchase ::organic:: (my first poetry collection!!)

Introducing Poet Sylvia Clare

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #4

Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Sylvia Clare

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.


Canvas vast to match the impossible scale
a universe of sky, land and sea.
Great scoops and swathes of marbled grey,
monochrome simplicity.

White and bright the moon shines through
between clouds, in tempest thrown,
nature’s wildest dance performed
in skies and seas, flecked with foam.

from Seascapes, by Sylvia Clare

When Sylvia first began expressing that she wanted to be a writer, she was laughed at. No one took her seriously because her mind worked differently due to ADHD. Sylvia, I get it. Really I do. (Squirrel brains unite!)

But here she is, 3 books later (The Musicians Muse, Black and white, and Love and Chocolate); a lovely poet with a big message.

Sylvia is from the UK, has lived in south London, and now resides on a small island off the south coast, called the Isle of Wight. She’s been writing since she was a young student but kept most of it to herself until about 25 years ago when she became more serious about pursuing her writing professionally.

I can understand keeping a thing such as poetry to yourself, when the world gives you negative feedback or doesn’t believe in your abilities. Writing poetry is very personal. I admire Sylvia for tapping into that creative energy and refusing to let it go. Because of her tenacity, we now have her beautiful (and sometimes fierce) body of work to enjoy.


Sylvia’s Interview

I invited Sylvia to join me in a brief interview about her writing style, her poetry, and her vision. Please enjoy this brief interview and be sure to check out Sylvia’s contact information at the bottom to follow her work. Let’s show her the support that her work deserves and let her know that she is definitely a poet of worth!


Tell me a bit about the vision behind your poems.
I write what I observe, how I feel and my experiences – especially spiritually and about nature.  I am also an angry poet about our modern times and I rant sometimes against people with negative attitudes to the climate crisis or social injustices.

Tell me about how you came to be a poet.
I used to work with and socialise with someone who wanted to be a poet. He was pretentious but also introduced me to Benjamin Zephania. I was also teaching with Jean Binta Breeze at the time at Brixton college. 

I was drawn to it in deeper ways; it called me, I think, rather than I went after poetry itself. I had talked about being a writer at school and been so laughed at by teachers and friends alike, that I never thought it could be possible. But I felt intuitively that this was something I should work towards, however long it took to develop my voice and my style. I have always found my intuitive drives will override any negative comments from others. I think because of my ADHD no one ever took me seriously.

I do see and feel deeply–and I think that is the heart of poetry. If you don’t feel it how can it ever be authentic? The words come through me or to me but are never from me. I feel them as a gift, always. though I have learned how to edit and redraft a little more than in early days.

I have learned a few more rules too. I like writing to rules–the limitations make it easier– but I still can’t force anything if it isn’t flowing of its own accord. Fortunately, it usually is once a theme or thought arrives it flows from that point. I also find prompts useful.

Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.
One of my favourites is about my husband and how much he changed my life – gave me a life. Although it is impossible to have a real favourite ( I also love my chocolate poems series) I guess this is the one. 

Lost and Found (published in P.S. I Love You, a Medium publication)

We discovered each other 

in lost and found.

You were a treasure chest

washed up on the beach

when my toe stubbed against you.


Tentatively opening your lid,

I discovered many secrets –

many compartments concealed

from unappreciative eyes and minds

jewels dulled by non-use,

wrapped in oilcloth, fusty with age


I was broken on that beach

discards from other people’s debris.

You carefully collected all my fragments

painstakingly re-assembled them

into a collage of unexpected beauty


Many years later I find still

there are secret compartments

located in the depths of your being.

We carefully light candles 

for each other, to find 

hands to hold in the dark.


What is your greatest hope with regards to your poetry?
That my words reach people and mean something to them as so many other writers have done to me. That I help to make poetry something that anyone can enjoy and not keep it exclusive and excluding. I can use any number of clever words but I prefer not to unless there is nothing else to use. What I hope more than anything is that they may influence a few heart and minds.

Does your poetry have a message or a theme that you want to portray to the world?
Yes definitely. The main overall themes are about:

  • spiritual experiences and insights
  • the environment, nature
  • politics of social justice
  • observations on human experience and relationships

I desperately want to influence people to become more loving and compassionate to each other, to see more deeply and be less judgemental. I want to help people to understand the beauty in the world; if they look at it properly and stop the destruction. Apart from my family, this is all I want to do in life- my raison d’etre, for sure.

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.
I meditate a lot and have done so for several decades; teaching it as well as living it. So much comes to me from that or after that .

I am less a conscious creator rather than a ‘flow’ creator; a channeler, a conduit for ideas to come through. I typically write, leave for 24 to 48 hours, and then revisit. If I cannot  think of any better words or structures then I submit, mostly on Medium, but I am starting to leave some to submit elsewhere.

One last question, what would you say to readers who do not normally read poetry to encourage them to read the genre?
Poems can often sum up an experience or thought that cannot be expressed as well in any other prose form. It can open the world to you in inspiring ways.

One of my favourite ways of beginning the day is to read some poems out loud to my husband, with a cup of tea in bed before we get up and start chores. It places a completely different light on much of the whole day from there. Sometimes it is the poetry in songs that reaches us first.

I never forget the film Dangerous Minds when the young people are introduced to poetry through Dylan’s lyrics. Find a poetic form that is accessible to you, that speaks to you, and then work out from there.


Thank you Sylvia for sharing a bit of your journey with us and sharing with us about your poetry. I am glad you pushed back against the world and took up your pen to do what it is the poetry calls you to do. I, too, consider myself a catalyst for poems and I understand completely this part of your process. I think that makes the poetry even more special.

If you would like to follow Sylvia’s journey, read her work, and become a fan, you can find her on the following platforms:

Sylvia’s Website
Sylvia on Medium
(Also find her work in medium publications: PSILY, Literally Literary, Other Doors, Creative Café, Resistance Poetry)
For News and Updates
Sylvia on Amazon
Sylvia on Goodreads


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.

Poetically yours,
Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger
Become a fan
Purchase ::organic:: (my first poetry collection!!)

Introducing Poet Sam H. Arnold

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #2

Changing people’s lives through teaching, mentorship, caring, and yes through POETRY!

Sam H. Arnold, poet, writer, Author of The Detective Two

Sam H. Arnold has made a lifetime of caring for others through her love of teaching and mentoring. Sam grew up in a small seaside village in the South of England called Dymchurch. She pursued her education in teaching and now resides 20 minutes up the road from where she was born, in the town of Ashford, Kent.

Sam works with students of all ages and with a variety challenges that make it difficult to access mainstream schooling. Sam’s work did not initially lead her in the direction of writing, but I’d argue that the path of empathy that her life has taken is a great catalyst for her writing.

Although Sam’s writing work just started growing in a more professional direction the last few years, I asked her if she could remember when she first began thinking of writing:

I recently found a short story I wrote for my grandad when I was five years old, so I guess I have always written.  –Sam H Arnold

I think my response to that is that oftentimes writers, especially poets, may not pay all that much attention to the inner voice that leads us to write. But when we do–it is truly magical.

I invited Sam to join me in an interview about her work, about what inspires her, and about poetry. Please enjoy this brief interview with poet and teacher Sam H. Arnold:


Tell me about the kinds of poetry that you enjoy writing.

I started writing poetry only a year ago.  I started with freestyle poetry, I found it was an excellent way to express my feelings.  Since then I have started experimenting with different forms of poetry. My favourite at the moment is Haiku.

Tell me about your writing process with regards to writing poetry, specifically.

My poetry is far more personal than much of my other work.  For example, I have written about my partners depression and my grandma’s dementia.  I have an idea or a line that comes to me. From there I build a poem around it. It can sometimes take me several weeks to come up with a complete poem.  Only when it is complete do I look at form and try to alter parts to make it flow better.

Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why.

For many years I have been trying to come to terms with the fact that my grandma has dementia.  None of the woman I know and love is left. She was also my hero and inspiration as she was a pioneer before her time.  Incidentally, the article I wrote about her was one that received the editors choice. During her birthday when I was going through a particularly hard time, a single line came to me.  It was the first line of one of my favourite poems.  You can find it here: The Dementia of a Soul

The Dementia of a Soul, by Sam H. Arnold

Her soul I know left years ago
the shell remains even though
I cry tears of anger and of woe,
Fly free my wise old owl and go.

A woman so brave and smart
Who helped to stop the UK from falling apart,
Hitler tried to occupy our shore,
Gran stood firm and manned the store.

Amazing woman first of her kind
Area manager when women stayed behind
My hero, I wanted to make her proud,
Her praise a goal of magic sound.

A daughter raised who I call mum
An ear she leant when I was glum
The books we shared through many years,
A love so strong it held no fears.

God I hope you hear my call,
I know my Gran has given all,
I know I mourned her years ago,
Now take her up to her new home.

If you had a piece of advice for other poets, what would that be?

Write what you feel and like, not what structure and form tells you to.

What would you say to people who may not consider poetry to be “their thing?”

For many years I didn’t understand poetry or think it was for me.  I could be heard many times saying ‘I just don’t understand how to write poetry.’ Then my partner said to me that poetry was about writing what you want in whatever form you want.  I gave it a try and have loved it ever since.  

So my advice would be try it only then will you know how much you love it. 

One last question, do you define your poetry or does your poetry define you? Why?

My poetry defines me, I never know where a poem will take me and what form it takes.  Writing poetry is when I feel most free.


I encourage you to support Sam by following her work. At the end of the article there are some links to her Author’s page, websites, and Newsletter.

Additionally, here is one poem of Sam’s that I’d like to share is called You Don’t See Me. It is a further testimony of Sam’s ability to see people, touch hearts, and bring the reader into the story through poetry. It has such a meaningful message and can serve as a reminder to us all of the people in our lives we do not see.

You Don’t See Me, by Sam H. Arnold (excerpt)

You sit there looking at your phone
You ignore me when I come over to you
You don’t see me when I smile and play
You don’t love me as much as you love your phone 

I try to get your attention by climbing
I cry in the hope that you will see me
I throw things to get you to notice me
I know you don’t love me as much as your phone 

See the full poem and the deep message of this piece at You Don’t See Me.


Thank you Sam for sharing a bit of your poetic journey with us. I appreciate your ability to put empathy to words and to share it through poetry. People enjoy seeing the humanity in others and can relate to the stories that you share through your work.

If you would like to follow Sam’s journey, read her work, and become a fan, you can find her on the following platforms:

Sam’s Author Website
Sam on Medium
Sam’s Newsletter
Sam’s Email List


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.

Poetically yours,

Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger

Become a fan
Purchase ::organic:: (my first poetry collection!!)

Introducing Poet Nikki H. Rose in a Personal Interview on Her Poetry

Through the Eyes of a Poet series, #1

Nikki H Rose has come a long way from writing about a Marshmallow Queen in kindergarten, the first of her writings she remembers making her proud. 

Today she’s a well-educated English teacher with a knack for writing emotional and personal poetry. 

Setting the scenery for a poet

Nikki was born in the great state of New York, but grew up in a rural area of Vermont, surrounded by trees and various mountains where she went skiing and ice skating regularly. 

I am already picturing the quaint scene–snow, red cheeks, smiling faces. 

Nikki lived on the side of a mountain, attending high school only ten minutes away and on the side of another mountain. Fall was her favorite season because of the beautiful foliage there in Vermont. It sounds like a beautiful place and one I can certainly understand setting the stage for an emotive, articulate poet to take flight.

Writing started early

Nikki has been writing for as long as she has been able to put pencil to paper. She specialized in creative writing in her undergraduate studies and continued with education and English courses in graduate school. Nikki keeps her skills fresh with ongoing education courses. 

Many people use writing to escape their minds. I use it to meet mine.–Nikki H. Rose

Nikki shares her poetry on both her personal blog and on her Medium platform where her work has been featured in publications such as  P.S. I Love You and From The Poet’s Heart. Her work has also been chosen by Medium curators for distribution, which is a testimony to the quality of her work.

I asked Nikki to describe the vision and focus of her work:

I tend to focus my poetry on specific emotions more than stories, granted they are often linked together. My goal and vision for my writing is to make it relatable. I want everyone who reads it to get something out of it – to see themselves in it – to feel something – even if it’s not what I had initially intended.

Nikki H. Rose

Nikki has agreed to a brief interview regarding her body of work, her writing process, and her thoughts on poetry and this is what she had to say: 


Tell me about your writing process with regards to writing poetry, specifically.

I seem to have a unique process for writing poetry, based on what other poets tell me. When I get an idea for a concept – usually linked to an emotion – I can crank out a poem it its final form within ten minutes. For me, the longest part of the process is simply coming up with the concept itself.

Tell me about one of your poems that is very special to you, and why. 

I’ll be honest, I’ve written a lot of poetry in my life, and until I reread them, many of the pieces from years ago that used to speak to me in volumes, are pieces that I don’t think about regularly. 

Recently, I’m proud of my piece called “I Miss You” because, for me, the meaning is centered on the loss of my grandmother. I lost her a few years ago and the pain has never subsided. I continue to ache from her loss – but the piece is more than this. It’s a chance for readers to connect with their own loss, and to recognize that while it’s okay to grieve, they don’t have to grieve alone. If I’m writing about it, it becomes clear to many who read, that they are not alone in the process.

I Miss You

I miss you
the you that I remember
the you that you once were

I miss your smile
that lit up the room
that was contagious

I miss your laugh
as it reverberated around me
humming deep within

Read the full poem on P.S. I Love You

If you had a piece of advice for other poets, what would that be?

My biggest piece of advice is to write what you feel. Don’t focus on rhyme scheme or even the enjambment to begin with. Worry about that, if you want to, during your revisions. Focus on the meaning – the emotion – and your own personal connection to the piece. Why are you writing it? Let that reason drive you.

What would you say to people who may not consider poetry to be “their thing?”

I would tell them that I agree with them. Poetry is largely not my thing, because most of the published poetry in the world comes from a story-based background. Not from one that is easily relatable and emotional. Many also require deep decoding and analysis in order to properly understand. 

Some poetry can be simple, and yet hold so much meaning. But my main appreciation for poetry comes from the fact that you can get out of it exactly what you want. If you want simple, you get simple. If you want in-depth, you search for the in-depth and you’ll get it.

One last question, do you define your poetry or does your poetry define you? Why?

Neither. I don’t believe one thing can define me, but my poems come to life on their own and define themselves as they go. I can start one poem with an idea in mind, but it’ll often end in a completely different direction with completely different emotions and stories behind them.


Thank you Nikki for sharing a bit of your personal story with us. I truly appreciate your ability to turn emotion into poetry. Many people can appreciate this and find a deep connection to your work and perhaps, feel a bit less alone in their own human experiences. 

One poem that I found particularly beautiful is Living in the Present. I think the message of the poem is so poignant,  empathetic, revealing, and yes, relatable.

(excerpt)

I look up
lost in a sea
of desires
for something else

I feel the longing
that I see on their
faces

Read the full poem at From the Poet’s Heart

I wish Nikki the best on her journey through words. Let her poetry move you and inspire you to live your best life, connect to your own personal experiences, and take away something poetic.

If you would like to follow Nikki’s journey, read her work, and become a fan, you can find her on the following platforms: 

Nikki’s Blog
Follow Nikki on Medium
Nikki on Goodreads
Nikki on Facebook
Nikki on Twitter


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.

Poetically yours,

Christina Ward, poet, author, and blogger

Become a fan
Purchase ::organic::

Podcast Interview on Poetry–and Me!

I think you’ll really enjoy this conversation on poetry and inspiration

Author’s photo

I am sure you have all heard the buzz. I have a new poetry book out called ::organic::

The reception has been humbling. Here are a few reviews that I have received so far:

In addition to a wonderful reception for the book, I’ve been interviewed twice; once for an article which is not out yet, and once for a terrific podcast called Words from the River.

Laurie Nave did a fantastic job with the interview and I invite you to give it a listen:

Words from the River Podcast

The conversation includes poetry, the writing process, poets and poetry trends, the human experience, and our connection to the natural ecosystem. I hope that you will treat yourself today with a cup of tea and a listen to this deeply inspiring conversation.

Poetically yours,

Christina Ward
author of ::organic::

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