Posted in Promoting Books, Promoting Poets & Artists

Interview: “I Never Saw the Spring Because I Died in Winter” by David R. Peoples ❄️

Hello everyone, and Happy Winter Solstice (to my northern hemisphere friends) ⛄️. To kick off this winter, I have interviewed David whose a talented musician AND poet and the author of “I Never Saw the Spring Because I Died in Winter.”

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So, first thing’s first, David: What inspired you to start creating?

In collaboration with a friend, we thought about doing a memorial concert for Holocaust victims (I am a composer and sometimes I write artsongs – works for voice and other instruments that are presented in concert settings). I’ve always used other poets for the text we use in this type of music art, but I had the thought of writing narratives of different characters that would have experienced the Holocaust. I sketched out my first poem and sought out another poet to try and compose more lines in a similar fashion… when she sent me things that didn’t seem right to me, I’d send samples back showing what I was thinking.

After a while, I had a complete poem written, and did not need someone to write it for me. So, everything just seemed to come together as I narrated the music in my mind into poetic text (until I had a complete set of poems).

Those artsongs sound beautiful. Who are your biggest creative influences to date?

For poetry/writing, I have none (at least I don’t consider anyone a master or subject for emulation). I do have an obsession with Christina Rossetti (and have used her poems a lot in my own music). Recently, I’ve also been reading a lot of Shelley and Poe… well, and I’m reading/absorbing “300 Tang Poems.”

If you check in another month, that list would be completely different. The most influential writer on me (but in no way influencing my style) would be Loren Eiseley (esp. ‘Star Thrower’ or ‘Night Country’).

I totally understand. My influences change from week to week as well 😆. What are your favorite poets and artists and why?

Being a musician, I love the poetry of Rossetti, Dickinson, Ai (Ogawa) because their poems fit well with what I like to do as a musician. I like to think of art (whether music, visual art, written) as a benefit for the observer. If I feel I need perspective – I can seek out art that would fuel that notion (and whether I find what I am looking for or not) I will get a pleasant surprise in the journey – hopefully finding something new and unique along the way.

That makes perfect sense. I appreciate your perspective. What advice would you give to other artists?

Find your inner voice, shut up and listen. Don’t let any prejudice or criticism convince you to not speak out artistically. Always look/experience new things with an open mind and unlimited perspective. Keep working, don’t stop… when you work, others will show up on your pathway and make the journey so much more worth it.

What excellent advice. Thank you for that! What are the primary topics you cover in your book?

In “I Never Saw Spring, Because I Died in Winter,” there are multiple characters, all of them are children. Each of these children experience horrible things, but in those horrible events they maintain innocence and love, even up to the point that their lives end. It is a serious work. Most of the poems focus on the relationships experienced between parents and child.

Serious indeed, but also profound. What are some of your upcoming projects?

I have a new album being released in January 2019, and it is titled ‘Looking for Utopia.’ The album features myself on piano/synthesizer and other artists on flute and cello. In addition, I am currently compiling narrations of all military casualties during the Vietnam War (which will be used in a new work for Concert Band and electronics).

Sounds like you’re keeping busy! I wish you the best best in all your ventures, whether musical or poetic. It was nice chatting with you! 🙂

Thank you for the opportunity to talk.

❄️ ☀️ ❄️ ☀️ ❄️ ☀️ ❄️ ☀️

Official Website: www.bluesilhouettes.com

“I Never Saw the Spring Because I Died in Winter” is now available on Amazon: www.amazon.com/Never-Spring-Because-Died-Winter/dp/173158699X

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Posted in Promoting Books, Promoting Poets & Artists

Interview: “Seamlessly Together” by Demark Manigo

“Seamlessly Together” takes the reader on a personal voyage to unconditional love. Through spiritual allusions and heartfelt diction, Demark Manigo awakens the reader to a vibrant realm of infinite possibilities and the mystical forces that entwine us all. Page by page, the reader’s sixth sense will be jolted wide awake as they connect with the poet, themselves, and God himself at a soul-level. These poetic snippets of cosmic love and compassion go beyond what one may expect out of a standard love poem. Instead, each masterfully crafted piece serves as a portal to a vibrant dimension of being.

▶️Now available on Amazon. Click here!

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Good afternoon, Demark! I’m excited to be speaking with you today. What inspired the creation of this beautiful collection of poetry?

I had been experiencing a series of life changing events that really required me to spend a lot of time alone reflecting and planning. One night I was just sitting in my car and I felt the urge to write about the things that were taking place within me. I grabbed a pen and paper and the words started coming out. After I wrote a couple poems, I felt led to share them. It was helping me sort through everything I was facing.

Poetry is quite therapeutic, and by sharing it, we help other as well. Who and/or what got you into poetry?

I would say that it was my childhood education that got me into poetry. The first time I heard a poem recited in class really ignited what was already there inside me.

After that, it was a lifelong partner. I found poetry in practically everything literature-wise. The Bible has amazing poetry in it. It helped connect me to my spirit. Shakespeare got me into my intellectual side. Edgar Allan Poe exposed my darkness and the inner emotions. William Blake’s “Songs of Innocence” and “Songs of Experience” were everything about what’s in my heart.

Oooh, in high school our chorus sang a choral arrangement of John Tavener’s “The Lamb.” The purity of the words just washes over me.

So many notable influences. I love it! What themes do you touch on in your book?

I touch on a few themes. The first is definitely intimacy that goes deeper than superficial interpretations of it. Then there’s forgiveness, especially after being bitter. Letting go of the attachments to triggers are touched on as well. Accountability is also touched on. Of course, love is the overarching theme of all.

That sounds absolutely wonderful. What poets influenced this creation?

Honestly, this work didn’t have a direct influence from any poet. I guess you could say the poets from my childhood: Poe, Blake, Shakespeare. I even include the poets of the Bible such as David, Solomon, Asaph, Isaiah, and the other Bible writers.

Do you have any more poetic projects on the horizon?

Yes, I do. I truly want to take this work as far as my creative mind can go first. I want it to be heard, seen, felt in different modalities like an audiobook, an album, a visual album, practically anything that the creative world can help anyone get that much closer to receiving the messages. I’m also working on another book as well.

Excellent. I wish you the best of luck. Any final thoughts?

I’m just grateful to be able to share what’s in my heart to others.

And I’m grateful you took some time out of your day to have this chat with me. Thank you! 😊🙏

Contact Info:

IG: Demarkballet

Facebook: Demark Manigo

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Posted in Promoting Books, Promoting Poets & Artists

INTERVIEW: “Long Live Phoenixes” by Jasmine Farrell

“Long Live Phoenixes” is Jasmine’s third poetry collection. With the collection divided up into 9 laws (mantras), “Long Live Phoenixes” is a heavy reminder to never cease growing on the road of self-discovery.

“Ashes of pain, trauma and fear aren’t burial grounds
for phoenixes—they are birthplaces.” – NJ Scribe

 

Now available on Amazon! Click here to own a copy.


Hello, Jasmine! It’s wonderful to be speaking with you again, and I’m looking forward to finding out more about your latest book. What inspired its creation?

My late bloomer experience and growth inspired me to write “Long Live Phoenixes.” A line from the signature poem was birthed in January 2017:

our limits
were hand delivered,
set on our throats like thanksgiving spreads,
We will not swallow stories written for us.

After realizing that what I was taught and how I was raised, contradicted my essence I had a choice. I was to either continue demonizing myself or reason with cognitive dissonance that who I am is nothing to be ashamed of. I “rose out of the ashes” as my authentic self, reborn and ready to rediscover myself. I know that many people have been in my position and I wanted to create a collection that helps people. I wanted to encourage people to keep moving forward in life as their authentic selves with help of various mantras and my poems to let them know that they are not alone.

That’s beyond inspiring. When did your love of the poetic arts first enter your life?

I don’t know when my passion for poetry came about, but I know it blossomed at a very young age. It’s always been the best way that I could express myself.

Fair enough. How about the main messages in this collection?

The top three messages in “Long Live Phoenixes” is:

1. Remember where you came from- Learn to love and accept who you REALLY are.
2. Trust your inner voice.
3. Keep going despite your scars and with your dreams intact.

What profound themes. Who are some of your influencers poetry-wise?

My writing influences are Nikki Giovanni, Alysia Harris and Maya Angelou.

Excellent choices! What’s your writing process normally like?

My writing process originates from “word vomits” 85% of the time. A single stanza or line will pop into my head. I’ll play around with a piece for as long as I can. Once I become frustrated with a piece, I’ll leave it alone until I’m ready to work on it with fresh eyes.

I can definitely relate to that. Before I share your author links with everybody, is there anything else you’d like to add?

Yes, always trust yourself. There is no one in this world who can guide you better than you can. Do not run from silence… That’s where the answers can be found.

Such empowering words to wrap things up with. Thank you, Jasmine! ❤


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INTERVIEW: “Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul” by J. Autherine

Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul, is a beautiful collection of poems that provide inspiration to strong, vulnerable, badass women who love deeply, sometimes fall hard but always lead with their hearts. It is a deep and gritty, fresh and robust look at the thrill of loving unconditionally, as well as the mental and physical toll that it takes when peace and harmony are sometimes lost in the process.

Drawing on personal experiences from her own journey of the past 30 years, J Autherine delves into the vulnerable hearts of women from around the world, including from her early years in Jamaica. Poems such as Quiet Storm reveal the pain of sudden loss, while The Rebel Soul carries with it that air of doubt or uncertainty we all feel when in love.

The pain and struggle of women who love deeply and pour into others without first filling their own jars is prevalent throughout, as is the reoccurring theme of reclaiming your heart in order to live and love harmoniously.

Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul has the ability to pick you up in moments when you feel broken or not good enough to be loved and provide the strength in the love you always need as we search for the one who is worthy of our love.

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Hello there! I’m excited to be speaking with you. First off, what inspired you to write your book?

Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul came from a realization that we all share the same joys and struggles in life. We often don’t share them because we feel alone or embarrassed. If we share our joys, vulnerabilities and pain, we can grow together, celebrate together and heal together. I didn’t alway write my thoughts, however, I realized that almost every time that I would feel deeply about an issue, the words would flow and I stopped ignoring them as random, overly emotional thoughts and started to write them. When I suffered heartbreak or disappointment, I would write several poems each week. I soon discovered that I was not limited to writing about my own experiences. I went to see the play, the Waitress, and was so moved by the story that I wrote the poem, Riding High, which teaches us not to stand in judgment of another’s journey because we don’t know their pain or their struggles. After writing about 15 poems, I realized that my poetry writing wasn’t a fluke. I entertained the possibility that my emphatic heart and introvert brain could collaborate to write poetry that could resonate with others.

That’s wonderful! How did your passion for poetry come about?

The beauty of poetry is its ability to convey an important message in short form. As a child in Jamaica, I spent a lot of time memorizing verses both in church and in school (songs, poems, written word). After moving to the United States, I started reading everything that I could find by great authors, such as Dr. Maya Angelou. Her poems, “Phenomenal Woman” and “Still, I Rise” gave me the courage to walk confidently in the world. I discovered that I was most excited to write when a “heart” issue was involved – love, struggle, passion, heartache, unrequited love. I lead with my heart in almost every area of my life so the inspiration came often and random poems turned into a book.

Books by Maya Angelou and Toni Morrison also sparked my love for issues that are close to the heart of women. As women, we spend our lives caring for others and putting the needs of others first. This often comes at a cost to our emotional and physical health and well-being and Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul doesn’t shy away from the tough issues. Many of the poems in the chapter, Wild Heart, deal with self-sacrificing behaviors that eat away at our self-esteem. The poems in the chapter, Peaceful Soul, are empowering and help us find our way back to being the “Phenomenal Woman” that sister, Maya envisioned for all women.

What would you say are the top three messages in your book?

Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul is about love, freedom, peace, vulnerability and authenticity. It is the heart and soul working together to explore every part of our humanity in order to create a life where we are living and loving harmoniously. The heart was made to love and should have the freedom to love authentically without unrealistic boundaries. Often, we are afraid or ashamed to speak about the heartbreaks and disappointments along the journey to finding love, even with our best friends. The poems speaks to the heart of women on a broad range of subjects – dating post divorce, dealing with rejection, struggling to hold on to our self-esteem when we have been hurt, being caught in the emotional grip of an unhealthy relationship. It empowers by holding a mirror to our common struggles. Another important theme is the ability to live and love harmoniously. Women give so much of themselves to others that their spiritual, mental and physical jars are often empty. Good Enough to Love addresses the temptation to change ourselves in order to find love. The Princess Takes the High Road encourages women to write their own happy endings. Strong Sisters Unite speaks to embracing our vulnerability and humanity and not pretend to be strong when love, counseling, and self-care is what is needed.

Excellent! How about some of your writing influences.

Maya Angelou moves mountains within my soul. When I read her work, I feel like I am journeying with her and feel both the pain and the inspiration. Still I Rise and Phenomenal Woman made me walk with confidence; a light was ignited in me, as well as many young women and that light continues to guide our paths. She walked in her truth and combined poetry with activism, using the power of words to shed light on the social and political issues that our society faced.

Can you tell me about your writing process a little bit?

Free flowing through words is the best way to describe how I write. My mind rarely thinks in a linear manner so I dump all of my thoughts on paper and organize them when my mind is clear. Clarity usually comes at 5:30am daily. My body clock goes off at 5am, thankfully before anyone else in the house is up, and I meditate for about 15 minutes, then sit at my desk and write for at least 30 minutes getting the family out the door. If I am writing non-fiction, it is a disciplined process where I write daily, even if it is one line. The best writing advice that I have received is short – just write!

Poetry writing works best when I am inspired. It is usually driven by emotion – empathy, love, anger, feeling vulnerable, or experiencing great joy. Because of the unpredictability of the process, I usually keep pen and paper by my bed so that I can write a thought that comes at 1am or a recorder in my car for when a great idea comes when I am driving. That is how a poem starts; crafting it to perfection requires carving out time at my desk, in a bookstore, in the corner of my favorite restaurant or on the beach to just focus on writing.

One more question: How do you stay connected to the poetry community?

This is a wonderful time to be a poet. Poetry books are on the bestseller lists again and the audience has seen exponential growth with the ability to post poetry on social media, in particular Instagram. Being able to follow and support other poets and have poetry lovers communicate their thoughts and share their stories has created a vibrant poetry community that I am proud to be a part of. I am alway happy to chat with readers @JAutherine, as well as share advice and collaborate with fellow poets. I am fortunate that Wild Heart, Peaceful Soul is reaching a wide audience and is resonating with readers.

Thank you so much for having this interview with me! It’s been a pleasure. 🙂


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