Fiddleheads & Floss—Big Announcement!

Hello to you!

There are some exciting things going on in the world of writing. Whether you are a reader or a writer or both, you likely know the power that words can have in our lives. Today, Fiddleheads & Floss Writing Services (aka—ME) has reached a milestone and I have you all to thank for it.

Writers who intend to write books must do just that—write the books. But, of course, life gets tangly. There’s this whole Covid thing. Sometimes we move to new towns, start or end relationships, wait patiently for a new grandbaby to be born. We bang our steering wheels in traffic and we curse when the delivery of groceries is not what we wanted. In short—we’re all out here adulting as best we can. It gets tiresome, right?

And I have a question for you today:

Do you think that there is more to life than this?

Really, think about that.

(Don’t worry—I promised an announcement—and it’s coming…)

But I want you to think back to a time when you were a small child and there was a wild sense of curiosity in you. Remember that time? No, no…don’t focus on the traumas or the disappointments of your childhood—focus on the child. The curiosity and often whimsical thinking of your childhood self.

There, now, you in the sandbox…you, chasing fireflies or playing ball…you with the mix-matched socks and the wild hair (and don’t care!)…let’s stay here for a while. You’ve been adulting, you’re tired, and you deserve a treat. A mental play treat. A treat made up of words that transport you to someplace else.

Sound inviting?

What’s the Big Deal?

Now for the announcement: Fiddleheads & Floss has released a second collection and it is a whimsical gift. A nature-bound playground that is waiting for your tired mind to just let go and let words. Let the power of words take you to places you really need to go. Let words whisk away the stresses of life and tickle your mind with a little good plain FUN with poetry. Sure, there are a few dark moments in there—but this book is more playful, more inviting, and more sensory-appealing than its predecessor; organic. Don’t get me wrong, organic was good—people loved it—but this new collection takes your heart and mind to a restful place where life can melt away.

Read it to yourself. Read it to your children or grandchildren. Let poetry soothe you and remind you to share those joyous and curious moments of life with them. We are so tangled in the complexities, the often weighted difficulties of life…that we need to remember our child-like souls. Our limitless dreams. I think, especially in light of last year—we need this.


As much as I needed to write this book—I think there are people out there needing to read this book.

Catch Your Fireflies!

So, my loyal fans and followers—the coolest people ever, in my humble opinion—will you show a little support? It’s easy:

✔ You can purchase your very own copy of fireflies

✔ You can share this post with your friends or forward via email to your friends and family.

✔ You can share a picture of you with your copy—on your social media—and tell others why you love the book.

✔ You can send a copy to a friend who needs a little sunshine in their life.

✔ You can leave a kind review—that helps writers SO much.

Preview of fireflies:

Back Description:

There was a time when you saw new things every time you went out into the world. The sunshine felt warmer. The clouds in the sky had names and faces. Each day brought some grand adventure and all you had to do was show up.

Who says when we grow up that all of these wondrous happenings must stop? Who says we can’t still look outside our windows and imagine all the adventures, all the joys, all the wonder life still has for us? Why shouldn’t we see the world with this type of curiosity and share that with our children, our grandchildren?

Some joys in life must be colorful, whimsical, fun, and mysterious. I see the world this way each day. Perhaps it is a coping mechanism. Perhaps it is a trauma response. Perhaps it is simply reminiscent of all those quiet hours I spent beneath a blanket as a child reading books and volumes of children’s poetry. I paint what I see and feel into poems. Because I must. Because it helps me to make sense of this world. And because I hope, you’ll come with me.

So you can see — even when the world feels dark, there is always light.

Just ask the fireflies.


Poetry Excerpts

An entire tree can be stripped bare
by ants. Let hope be persistent
as ants.

The gathered are powerful.

One by one, one piece at a time,
let a steady stream of hope carry away
all that weighs me
all that controls me
all that burdens me
still.

The gathered
are powerful.

—Let Hope Drip Here


Here it is.
A new year rising,
a great orange ball
of fire in the sky,
wearing my name
like a smile.—Tomorrows


oh yes, I’d live out my days
in the pages of a children’s book

far, far away ─ I can hear the faeries sing
turn the page dear friends

and let me climb in

—Within the Pages


A heart in the dark
learns to be
its own light.

—(Untitled)

BONUS: Fireflies features some artwork and photographs of other budding artists. I wanted to feature some visual images in this book and support other artists who are out there immersing themselves in their gifts and sharing that with the world.

Order a copy of fireflies:

Thanks, again, for being here on this journey with me. I hope you enjoy fireflies. In fact—I hope you always have fireflies in your life.

Christina M. Ward

FOLLOW ME ON AMAZON

“Doe Season in Mamma’s Kitchen” is Selected as a Feature Poem

Thanks to The Coil Magazine for selecting my work

Image by (El Caminante) from Pixabay

I am very pleased to share with you all that an exclusive magazine, The Coil, via Alternating Current Press, has chosen a poem of mine which I submitted to them in April of 2019. It takes a long time to hear back on poetry submissions, but they are so worth the wait to add credibility to your resume…so we poets submit and we wait and we hope.

I am excited to add this publication to my resume and share the post with you all here. Also this poem is a semifinalist for the Luminaire Award:

Your submission has been entered into the semifinalist round for the 2021 Luminaire Award, for a chance to win $100 and other prizes. Your submission will receive additional print publication if it is chosen as a Top-5 Finalist in the editor’s pick selection. We will be in contact with you further down the road when we are ready to lay out the forthcoming publication.

Alternating Current Press

Hop by there and see my work! The link is below 🙂

#CoilMag

Let Me Share with You about Poetess and Poetry Superfan: Jenny Justice

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #12

My friend, poet Jenny Justice

Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Jenny Justice

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 first met Jenny Justice on the Medium platform. I was watching my own work appearing on the Top Writer tag for poetry and this other person seemed to be everywhere I went on Medium. I followed her and we began interacting, primarily about poetry. Then one day I was out and about shopping at a local Goodwill store and Jenny messaged me. We messaged throughout the afternoon, got to know each other, and declared ourselves poetry sisters. We’ve shared poetry, life, tears, and joy–and I consider her a dear friend.

It is my honor to bring your attention to this lovely, passionate woman and her poetic journey. Her voice; passionate, relatable, vibrant–is an important one in the poetry community. Her uplifting spirit and mentoring kindness (she works with ASL poets) precedes her and will win you over with a quickness!

A bit about this author

Where are you from?
Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, California, and now Reno, NV 

How long have you been writing?
Since Age 7 

What is your educational background regarding writing?
It’s interesting. It might be one of those things I regret a bit. I wanted to be an English major. To just go to school and read and read and write. And then maybe teach High School English and change some lives that way. Instead, I took one Sociology class and I was hooked on Sociology because it spoke to my passion for justice, it gave me insights into society and how to change the world, and I told myself okay, I can major in Sociology but always write as a hobby. I wrote poetry all the time in high school and in college. 


A bit about Jenny’s work

Where is your work currently published?
Medium. My books on Amazon. My heart. 

What are awards / accolades for your work?
Not yet but I think there should be an award for combining sociology and poetry. 

(Christina’s interjection here–Jenny is being modest. She’s been a Top Writer for Poetry almost since she joined Medium and she and I have been in the #2 and #3 spots for nearly half a year now. We keep trading places!)

Do you have any published poetry collections?
I have self published two so far. My first one, Love in the Time of Climate Change, and my little year-in-the life poetry memoir,  Reveal

Describe the vision / style / content / etc of your poetry?
Simple, yet deep. Relatable. Not lofty. Here for you. Concerned about justice. Buddhist.


A brief Interview with Jenny

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

It’s a fine balance between routine and inspiration. I like writing poetry in the morning, especially, but if I have a day on the couch at home, I usually have my laptop near and wait for inspiration to strike. I write about what I know, of course. I write about who I am. I write about what matters to me, personally and politically. I write about spirituality and Buddhism. There is no other process – I write, I edit a bit, and then I post. I consider myself mostly an online poet but am in the process of seeing how to break out – go do some readings, try harder to get things into journals, and so on. But there is something magical about online poetry – the writing, sharing, feedback and engagement that happens in community. 

Lately due to this pandemic I have been writing a bit less often, and it has to be really felt – deeply, in order to get out of my mind onto the page. The anxiety level, the absence of routine, the uncertainty of what is to happen, for how long, has really messed with my ability to find inner peace and poetic space. 

This one that I did manage to write came from a really pure moment of me being able to shut out all of the constant scrolling and pause my ongoing search for what is happening, is it getting better, will we be okay, – things you cannot really find in a google search, you know?  – I had the title come to me before bed one night, I wrote it down, and that’s all I could do. The next day I thought about it some more and this poem came to me. 

This is the poem. It just speaks to me and to many, I think, at this time. It is called “I don’t know if I’m a person anymore or just a thing that fights.”


We wanted a break, a rest, we wanted …
and now we would break down for a bit of certainty,

a bit of routine, a bit of it’s safe, it’s safe, it’s all clear.
I don’t know if I’m a person anymore or just a thing that fights.

It’s for each other, it’s for the greater good, but the fear is real
fighting against this thing in our homes, washing our hands more

than any of us have ever considered washing hands before
good, it’s good, I know, but the level veers into obsession —

we have to wash our groceries, packages, we have to be ever on alert
so on alert that sleep feels surreal, odd to engage in.

We make love every night, it has to be the stress, it has to
have something to do with feeling like every day something is

around the corner and it is not going to be normal
anymore

Read the full poem here


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

I write a lot about this but, there’s this feeling of not feeling like a ‘real poet’ if maybe you did not go to an MFA program or if maybe you have yet to be published in a ‘journal journal’ but that is not what poetry actually is or where it comes from. It is not some stamp you get. Poetry is what you do with the voice in your head, the sounds of the words, the pauses, the ability to look at the world around you, and within you, and the emotions and to find a way to express them so that they reach someone else. Don’t be scared try, don’t be scared to be an online poet, don’t be scared to self-publish. It’s the words and the connection that matter most. What I love about poetry is that it can be short and it can grab. One line or phrase can stay with someone for the rest of their lives, a sentence, a stanza. That is powerful. So, read poetry, write poetry, and be brave about it when you are given the chance. 

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

Poetry is not what a lot of people think it is. They think it is what they were forced to read in high school, or they think it is something extra high brow that is for the elite, or they think it is old and gone, perhaps. But poetry is every day. It is just out here being poetry. It is at every level and poets are everywhere. There’s poetry for every person and if there is not that just means it is up to you to write that poetry, to be the poetry for the person you are and you will find you are not alone – that your words might speak to others and be poetry for them. 

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

I think it has to be both. We are a co-creation. I have been writing poetry since I was a kid and it has been this one thing in my life that I always felt made me the most me. And I felt, and feel, that it made me different and cool, in a nerd way. I was the go-to poet in my high school and in college I would hold gatherings to celebrate various poets and writers on their birthdays. Poetry was my thing, and it was also me, how I was known, how I was seen by others. 

But, then I went years without poetry and those years were some pretty bad years – in an abusive relationship, feeling trapped, living with a narcissistic person who would gaslight me daily, etc. – this person said I was a bad writer, a terrible poet, and an all around awful person, so, you know how it is. To make peace in that space I silenced myself. Big mistake, of course. We all know that on some level but when you feel truly trapped – no money, isolated, everything taken from you externally and internally – self-silencing to just get by seems to happen as some kind of protective shield. 

Those dark days are gone, I have found my voice again, and I know better than to ever let her go, silence her, crush her, and so on. So, poetry saved me, and I respect and cherish poetry, my own poetry and poetry in general as this sort of superpower of words that can rescue and heal.

 

To follow this poet:

Personal website: Jenny Justice, Writer
Medium link: Jenny Justice
Medium poetry publications: Justice Poetic 
Newsletter: Jenny Justice Newsletter
Author page Amazon: Jenny Justice, Amazon Author 
Author page Goodreads: Jenny Justice, Goodreads Author 
Book sales link: Love in the Time of Climate Change
Other: Patreon Page, Jenny Justice


 

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!)

Introducing Poet Laura Manipura

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #11

Laura Manipura, poet

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.

–Laura Manipura

The Interview

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.


Did you know I did not seek to love you?
You crept into my life like morning mist
gently gliding in upon the earth below.


excerpt–Like Morning Mist, by Laura’s mother (poetry runs in the family!)

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:

Medium link: Laura Manipura
Medium poetry publications: From the Library


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 Susan Brearley

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #10

poet Susan Brearley

Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Susan Brearley

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.

Welcome friends and poetry lovers,

Today we celebrate Susan Brearley–and if you know her then you know her sense of humor and charismatic presence precedes her! But in case you didn’t know, she’s a gifted poet. I’m excited to shine the spotlight on her today, illuminate some of her work for you, and share a personal interview with Susan about her work.

King of the cresteds

Master of the wooded lands

All bow to his song.

–Susan Brearley, Zen 145

Susan lives in the beautiful Mid-Hudson Valley, right around the corner from Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage, Val-kill. She’s been living in the region since the early 1980’s, but originally hails from the Amish country in Pennsylvania. All of that sounds pretty dreamy and poetic to me! I think both would be a lovely places to visit.

Susan was a top student in every English, writing and composition class she ever took, showing early on her gift with words.  She’s tutored, written for local newspapers, and was the editor for her college newspaper. Today, she shares her work on the Medium platform, which is where I had the pleasure of meeting her. She is a Top Writer in the Poetry badge, among others including Cooking, Women In Tech, Satire, Ideas, Short Story, Reading, Travel, This Happened To Me, Humor, and Food.

Susan writes free verse poetry, haiku, and tanka but is especially fond of haiku. I asked Susan about her work, her inspiration and writing process, and her thoughts on poetry–here’s my brief interview with Susan and a bit of her work.

The interview

Tell me about how you came to be a poet. 

I was going through a relationship break up.  It was a great outlet for all the emotions I was experiencing.  I was also spending a lot of time in nature, hiking and meditating.  That led to my love of the haiku and tanka forms. I love their simplicity.

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

I love all my haiku’s.  But there are some free verse that I love more.  I love Nashville Eclipse Encounter, because I was feeling the energy of Nashville, its people, and the anticipation of waiting for the total solar eclipse.  The poem helps me tap into the feeling of that each time I re-read it.

Nashville Eclipse Encounter

I see you.

You see me.

who are all these people sliding by us, as we spirit connect in voice and music and vibration

As the tone is rung, as the sound energy spreads, as it ripples out and touches the substance, the carbon, the elements where it vibrates and resists, it bounces like a rubber ball against a wall.

What are these forms, these shape shifters?

where are the code shifters who sense the tone who feel the spirit who absorb the word who bounce it back?

They are there, waiting for the tones. For their tones, for their word, for their circle, to catch the seed the dandelion casts, the pebble the creation drops, to touch the ripple, to feel the touch, to feel the movement of the tone from this tone to the next tone, to bounce from wave to wave.

or just to surf.

Nashville Eclipse Encounter

I’m also a fan of this one, and it turns out, many people like it too.  It’s fun to do as spoken word at open mikes.

Don’t Wash My Dishes

It’s my meditation

my mental salvation

my soul’s libation.

I stand at this window

hands immersed in suds,

and scrubbing the chunks,

the slime, the grime, til there’s no line or twine,

only shine.

And all the time…

Toe to toe with the oaks,

the birds, the porcupines

I’m disinclined to release

this sublime

moment to another.

Unless, it’s also your meditation time.

Don’t Wash My Dishes

 I have a lot of my favorites published on Medium before I knew what I was doing there, and before I had become connected with the poet community there.

What is your greatest hope with regards to your poetry?   

Someday I wouldn’t mind having a collection published and out on amazon.

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

I love nature and exploring all the ways that everything in the universe is connected.

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 frequently go for walks in nature.  If I spend a day on top of a mountain, standing with the trees, lakes and rivers, the words just come to me.  They pop into my mind based on what I’m seeing, hearing and feeling all around me. That’s my favorite way to write. 

Sometimes I will wake up with a poem in my mind right in those early moments of the day.  I keep a journal by my bedside so I don’t lose those. I feel like they are gift from the universe.  I honestly don’t know how it all works, but when I stay open to receiving them, they just come. I know that sounds mystical.  And it feels mystical to me too.

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

There are so many people writing amazing poetry.  One of the best ways to find more great poetry to read, is to ask a poet who their favorite poets are, living, or dead.  Because every poet has favorites in both categories.


Thank you for reading about this featured poet. Please see her links below, give her a follow, a comment of support, or just hover and wait for her to do something hilarious—you won’t have to wait long!

Follow Susan on Medium

–where you can find her work in the following pubs: House of Haiku, Haiku Hub, Romance Monsters, Rhyme Zone, A Cornered Gurl, Contemplate, From the Poet’s Heart, Law Of Connections, Literally Literary, MuddyUm, Scribe, Sonnetry

Join Susan’s newsletter!

By the way–Susan adds “But if you sign up for my newsletter and follow me on Medium, you’ll find out about all the new ways to connect with me.  Let’s not rush things. I don’t know you that well yet.”

–See what I mean?
(Susan–you brighten my life with your wit.)

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!)

Introducing Poet Ashwini N. Dodani

Through the Eyes of a Poet series #9

Ashwini Dodani, my poet friend

Through the Eyes of a Poet series by Christina M. Ward
Featured Poet: Ashwini N. Dodani

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.

In the name of art or otherwise,

the need to understand emergency

of survival, existence and empathy,

we must unite, we must unite

from For Peace by Ashwini N. Dodani

About a year ago I began sharing my work on a platform called Medium.com. It didn’t take me long to start meeting other poets and building a beautiful community of poets and writers. I began a group on Facebook to support these poets from the Medium platform and it gained quickly in popularity.

It wasn’t long after I began running the group that I was approached via message from some guy named Ashwini, who was very excited about the group and wanted to be an admin so that he could help run the group.

I’ll admit, I was a bit skeptical. I didn’t really know this guy and I also didn’t really know what I was doing running a Facebook group for the first time. I took a chance and said yes.

I have to say, it has been a huge blessing in my life to work with this fine young man. I am so grateful for his sweet spirit! And today, I am going to share with you a little bit about my friend Ashwini and his poetic works.

Ashwini is originally from Ahmedabad, India but has lived in Mumbai for the past 7 years. What a wonderfully small world to have brought us together through poetry. I am grateful to have the honor of working with this emotional, kind, helpful poet, who spends a lot of his time simply trying to uplift other people and make the world around him a better place. He does a lot of this through his writing and his poetry but he also leaves lovely comments for other people and encourages other writers around him on a regular basis.

Ashwini has been a blogger for 10 years and has transitioned from blogging into also writing poetry which is now his passion. He is the author of Savoir Faire: Do the WRITE thing (which is fantastic–I have the eBook copy).

Aside from his published poetry collection and his work on Medium (for the past 5 years), Ashwini has been interviewed on various websites like Writer’s Melon, Vowelor, and Lettrs. On Medium he is a writer for 40+ publications with some big names like The Start Up, The Writing Co-operative, P.S I Love You, Be Yourself, Invisible Illness, and Lit Up to name a few. Ashwini also runs his own publication titled From The Poet’s Heart (a home to 120+ writers and 800+ followers). He’s also written for Huffington Post India.

Ashwini’s personal blog was named in the Top 10 Indian Poetry Blogs – 2018 (Bonus App) and Top 16 Poetry Blogs in India – 2015 (Baggout). He has also been named in the Top 100 Digital Marketing Influencers – 2019 (Browser Media using Buzz Sumo). He also maintains a big influence on his TikTok profile where one of his videos recently reached viral viewership with 22K likes! TikTok video on Palindrome.


I am excited to bring you the interview with Ashwini on his work, what inspires him, and his thoughts on the genre of poetry. Please enjoy this poetry spotlight on Ashwini Dodani.

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

My writing process has been very simple. Whatever I observe and experience, I feel inspired from, I write about it. It can be as abstract as writing about a pair of glasses or dustbin to writing the most sensual sexual poetry, it depends on the imagination, need and mind. The creative process is simple for me, something that I feel when it needs to be more than just in my mind and heart, it reaches the paper/blog.

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

It’s very difficult to find one poem that is special because I might have written hundreds – long and short. However, whenever I am asked, this special poem always comes in handy. It was also the last poem in my published poetry book. The reason why it is special is because I tried and wore shoes of another gender and looked from their eyes how the world might feel. I will leave it at that.

That Beautiful Kohl Eyed Girl

Every morning I dress my self with a smile,
That little tinge of make up all the while,
To make my self more confident,
I wear the attitude in my eyes..

The walk of my life I don’t want to show,
The beauty of inside, that ignored glow,
Today I chose to be happy over others,
For more I live, the more granted I become for thee..

If only you can see the darkness behind my Kohl,
If only you could listen the sob in the shoes sole,
If only my accessories define you my pain,
You wouldn’t have asked me to wear those all again..

Again a new day, Again that new fay,
Again I believe that sunshine would be mine,
But the night has to come to cover me with the dark
Today don’t judge me with maidenhead broken apart..

What you see is what I have chosen to show you,
What you listen to is what I have chosen again,
When I shed my tears, the world has a different universe,
And then they say what’s the reason of Apocalypse?

Keep in mind next time you see a beautiful young lass,
It’s an option over choice to look like that,
If she could cover the misery so easily,
She could have remain in white for the rest of her Life.

 Originally published here

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

Do not hesitate in making writing mistakes.

Do not get bogged down by constructive criticism.

The more you give, the more you might not get, but relationships over anything.

Make friends. Make poet friends.

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

It’s okay. Your life, your choice. I’d simply ask you to taste it once when you feel life is nothing but a box of bees. 😉

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

We both are good friends. Sometimes I do, sometimes it does. We’d rather move beyond definitions.

Because, we don’t restrict each other. We are here to love, laugh and rejoice in good words, imagination, experiences and empathy.

I thank Ashwini for sharing a bit of his work with us. Keep writing, my friend.

If you (dear reader) would like to follow Ashwini’s work, or just reach out to him in support, here are the links for his work and social media:

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!)

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!!)

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