Spotlight on Poet Anna Shtorm and Her New Book ‘Friends Over Lovers’

Through the Eyes of a Poet, feature #14

Poet Anna Shtorm


Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Anna Shtorm

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 all you poetry lovers and fans of poets everywhere.

I am excited to share with you today the story of a poet. It fascinates me how I can sit here in my Mother’s farmhouse in rural North Carolina, on a Saturday afternoon, with Alexa playing me some nice meditation tunes, and tell you about a poet halfway around the globe.

Isn’t is glorious how poetry can unite us like this thread of creativity that can string across borders and oceans and cultures? So, yes, I am excited to bring you a bit of the inside story of a poet named Anna Shtorm, whose last name I have butchered over and over as I have prepared her post. (Please forgive me, Anna, if my typing fingers get it wrong anywhere, will you?)

But yes, this lovely poetess—let’s take a look at her and her work!


Anna is from Saint Petersburg, Russia, where she learned of her gift from a very young age. She began writing at the age of 4 and was encouraged by her grandmother who recognized her talent and pressed her to continue to pursue writing. I interviewed Anna about her childhood, what helped to develop her as a poet and artist, and about her poetic works. Please enjoy this story of a poet.

Childhood Shapes Us

Anna, tell me a bit about yourself, where you come from, and what your childhood was like.

I was born in Leningrad, USSR in 1987. I moved to the city of Penza at the age of 4, because my mom could not handle the arranged marriage she was put in. Mom secretly packed her stuff and left the house of my father and never came back.  I was raised in a (typical for Russia) same-sex family.  My mother worked three different jobs and my grandmother took care of the house. She also put her 5 cents in the process of my education by yelling at me and reminding me that I am just like my father.

My grandmother played a huge role in my artistic development as she was a teacher of Russian literature and the director of the school theatre. She made me love reading as our neighborhood library was her favorite spot. When I was little, she showed me how to rhyme and gave me the credits for the poems that she probably wrote herself or we wrote together. It seems to me that she was obsessed with making me successful as a writer. But she also compared me a lot to her friends’ talented kids, so I had an impression that I was a total failure.

When I was 18, I got a chance to go to the United States, and it was life changing for me. I experienced cultural shock not when I entered The States, but when I came back to Russia. I saw my country for the first time, really. By separating from it emotionally, I could see all these little imperfections and absurdities that surrounded me through my entire life there. So I decided that I should travel more to broaden my horizons. I did a couple exchange programs, lived here and there.

In 2014, I moved to Poland and started my career in IT in addition to writing. Today,  I have a Master’s degree in Journalism.

Anna, the Poet

Tell us a little about your work as a poet.

I like to describe human emotions the way they appear as relatable to many people. I am a highly sensitive person. Regular things that other people will not even notice knock me down. Sometimes it is so hard to recover that I use poetry as a coping skill to process what I feel.  (Christina, you had a great Medium article on it.)  But I do not want to just whine about it, I want to make it useful and entertaining. I want people to read my poetry, nod and say ‘Yep, I felt that too!’ And that means that we as human beings have shared experiences which is important if we want to understand each other and treat each other with respect.

(Author’s note: This is the article Anna was referring to on HSP: Turn Your HSP into a Creative Gift)

What inspires me? I combine my never ending love for rhymes with everyday observations. It’s little things in life that could sum up a joyful experience or make you feel like nothing makes sense. Your everyday bus trip to work or the person who you constantly meet in the supermarket. Those are little pieces of your life’s puzzle.  

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

I consider myself a new formalist. I like rhymes, to be honest, I believe there is no shame in so-called forced rhymes if you use it ironically. I know  that is not in favor of modern English poetry but I can’t hold back. Probably, I carry it from my Russian poetry background where rhymes are essential. I enjoy describing modern themes using traditional form. All those subjects like the internet, social media and corporate work just sound more fun when presented with rhymes.

Where is your work currently published?: 

I often publish my poems on Medium and I’m also proud to announce that in August 2020 I published my debut poetry collection Friends Over Lovers. In this poetry collection I explore counter-dependent behavior. Why friendship feels safe and love tastes like danger. It is also about recognizing your pattern and breaking free. In addition to that I post some of the poems on my Instagram account.  Nowadays, there are so many ways to reach your audience.

Anna’s Work

What is your greatest hope with regards to your poetry?

I think it’s an ongoing process of mastering the craft. I hope that I can improve my writing style and expand my knowledge in this field. But the most important thing I hope is that poetry will always bring me this magical feeling of the universe whispering her secrets in my ear.

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

I used to say that my poetry is a digital sorrow wrapped in overdressed rhymes. I use poetry to let go of things and encourage people to reflect on themselves. I talk about feelings and everyday situations in a quite relatable way. I want people to read and nod and say, Oh yes, that’s me! That’s what I feel.

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 have the impression that I don’t create them, instead, I recall them. Like these poems already exist somewhere in the universe and I just put them together piece by piece. Sometimes just the phrase comes to my mind, for example, “I like that Silence in my head, it’s very rare.” I write this down in my notes and come back to it later or finish it right away. Silence in my head

Or sometimes I say to myself negative things and after that, I try to change the mood of the message from negative to a positive one like in the poem Poetry is lame

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

 I Am Just Waiting For Lunch is my all-time favorite poem, though I can see from the claps and engagement on Medium that it is not the most favorite for people who read my poetry. I like this poem because it is the combination of all things I appreciate in poetry: rhymes, rhythm, self-irony, sorrow and modern topic like never-ending work in corporations. When you feel sad about your office work, you can rap this poem in front of the mirror in the bathroom and feel better.

             I Am Just Waiting For Lunch

In the big open space, I am just waiting for lunch
I’m supposed to do work, but I didn’t do much.
Google, Facebook, and Twitter got me really distracted
These technology days you can’t be inactive.
If the next day I die and go to corporate heaven
Or another institution, or hell, or whatever
I ‘ll be asked to provide a report on that all.
Well, for most of the time I just stared at the wall.
I just waited eight hours for it to be over
For a meaningful life to show up and take over.
By the time I got home, I felt really worn out
There’s always next time to try fun stuff out.
I am just waiting for lunch in the big open space
For all things in my life, there’s time and a place.
I’ll be famous one day I feel it, I know
Just watch me, I ‘ll probably do that tomorrow!

I Am Just Waiting For Lunch on Medium

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

I think poetry can be extremely useful. You can use it in a variety of situations. You can memorize poems to train your memory. I don’t speak Spanish, but I like to memorize Spanish poems as an exercise. Obviously, you can use some poems as a pickup line or express your feelings. Believe me, you can impress someone with that if this person is on a romantic side of the spectrum. Last but not least you can use poems as a spell to fight anxiety. One of my favorite poems is Letters To The Roman Friend by Joseph Brodsky. I am afraid of dentists, so every time I am at the dentist’s office, I close my eyes and repeat this poem to myself. It helps me to focus on words and not on what is going on around me. And of course if you need a great phrase for your Instagram, Facebook or Twitter post poetry is your go-to source. 


Follow Anna Shtorm’s work:

Personal website:annashtorm.com

Medium link: Anna Shtorm on Medium

Twitter: Anna Shtorm on Twitter

Instagram: Anna Shtorm on Instagram

Author page Amazon: Anna Shtorm on Amazon

Author page Goodreads: Anna Shtorm on Goodreads

Book sales link: Friends over Lovers on Amazon

Other:Youtube: Anna Shtorm`s poetry on Youtube 

SoundCloud: Anna Shtorm on SoundCloud


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 -star reviews and reaching BEST SELLER status for poetry books about nature!)

Spotlight on Mark A. Schrader, Poet

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #13


Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Mark A. Schrader

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.

It’s funny how you discover things by accident. I’ve been working with this poet for some time now in the Poets on Medium Facebook group and had no idea he hails from the same town where I was born, Charlotte, North Carolina. Sometimes it seems people are millions of miles away from the other side of the computer screen. What a small world it can be sometimes!

Mark A. Schrader is the featured poet today and I hope you’ll take a little time to get to know this poet–what makes him tick–and see if his work speaks to you! (Catch up on the other Through the Eyes of a Poet Series features by clicking the tab at the top of the homepage on this blog. Thanks for following along and giving POETRY some space in your heart. We poets thank you!)


Mark has been writing for as long as he can remember and only recently began sharing his work on Medium. His work is very much an outward expression of what goes on in his heart and his mind. Driven by the need to record his inner workings–Mark creates poetry which explores his thoughts, his experiences, and very much his emotional reactions to it all. These poems function as a way to sort through all of those things, but also as a very important record of his place in this world–as a thinking, breathing, feeling human.

I think this is a very special thing to do and to have. Recently Mark wrote about an experience where he’d inadvertently deleted a passage of thoughts he’d recorded for the purpose of turning it into poetry:

Those words were precious. I don’t know when I wrote them. I don’t remember where they came from. But they were mine. They were a part of me. They were ephemeral. The words that haven’t escaped the ideas section of the note’s app could be lost forever with a momentary lapse and improper deletion. –Mark A. Schrader

You can just feel the emotion over his lost words. Words are precious and it is a beautiful thing to be able to transform our words, our thoughts, into poetry. I asked Mark to describe the vision for his work:

I think of it as my emotional mind. For me it’s tapping into the undercurrents that we paper over in our day to day lives. I don’t think of it as a specific type of poetry/style other than my attempt to understand what I’m feeling and remember it later.  Most written with little to no intent to share.

Poet Interview with Mark A. Schrader

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

I’m very straightforward when I write poetry.  I have a goal to get to the emotional core of the idea and get it on the page. I don’t usually think much about the form or lines until I look back later. Of course a general structure forms as I write but I don’t usually think about writing different poetry styles in the initial draft (which I may not realize is a draft until reading back through).

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

This question is like asking a parent to pick their favorite kid. I love most of the poems deeply and for different reasons as they come from different times of my life.

If I had to pick one poem now it would probably be “Whose fault is this?” The words in there aren’t complex but there is a lot of emotion packed in. I think on the surface it can appear to be a simple conversation about a lost pen, though its really more about perception and understanding of self and the world around you and your place in it and using your time and talents wisely in the choices you pursue and don’t pursue.

Whose Fault is This?

It seemed to me some sort of sign

although many see things that are mere coincidence

and perceive them as they wish for them to be

I myself, I think

have misconstrued some of my past observances

as proofs of reasoning

proofs of discovery

proofs of love

truly, one can never know

what is a sign and what is not

one will determine something

the Act of a higher power

Another will see the event as their own creation

whatever is true,

I don’t know

I only want to figure it out

(continue reading)

One of Mark’s recent poems I particularly like–it is also a great example of enjambment:

Peace (Published in Scribe)

I find myself again, unable to

sleep. Never able to explain what

forces my mind to wander. In the past

perhaps sadness. Sometimes joy. Sometimes

loneliness. Tonight, once more, my

emotions stir. Is it tireless…is it

timelessness that echoes? I do not

wonder of places I would

rather spend my moments. I cannot think

of better alternatives. Loneliness and want

are nonexistent in this place. This

wonderful place occupied by my heart,

intertwined with the heart of one other.

Is this the one for whom I’ve searched?

Searched in my soul? Every waking moment

spent waiting/hoping for this connection. I

welcome this feeling. A feeling that is more

powerful than any before it. I once dared

fate to do its worst…It has done wonderful

things for me. I have been given love. I

have found peace.

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

Write for you.  Write what you want to express.  Read a lot. I know most writers say that but read everything. Read different styles and even try to emulate some but make sure what you are writing is yours.

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

 I would say they haven’t found the right poetry yet. They haven’t found someone that speaks to them and shares their perspective. I may also ask if they listen to music.  I know the audio component changes the medium but most music is related to poetry.

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

Poetry is a part of the whole.  My life, my experiences, my emotions make up the whole and poetry and writing help fill in the empty spaces and makes me feel more solid.


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!)

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