Posted in Promoting Books, Promoting Poets & Artists

📖Interview with Nicole D’Settemi about her poetry book “War Stories”📖

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WAR STORIES: Bombing Narcotica, is the long awaited poetry collection from author and poet; Nicole D’Settēmi!

This is her fourth collection published to date, and features a variety of poems from other collections with themes revolving around drug abuse, mental illness, recovery, rehabilitation, philosophy, death, suicidal ideation, creative ability & more!

Known for her candor, and startling, SHARP intuition, Nicole does not disappoint with this hefty collection. The volume also includes new poems devised specifically for the collection, and covers complex topics, making it a must-read for fans of confessional and lyric poetry!

Classics like Lethal Love Letters (Dear Heroin), intermixed with new or never-before-released pieces such as The Other Woman, Trigger Happy, Fire in the Hole, and Chemical Warfare, prove Nicole D’Settēmi has not lost her talent for rhythm and metaphors, delivering an unforgettable story of warfare of the mind and soul, surviving drug addiction, and over-coming depression, amongst other themes.

Hello Nicole! I’m excited to be talking to you today. War Stories is certainly a force to be reckoned with. What was your inspiration behind this particular poetry book?

My inspiration for War Stories came from my memoir; Addictarium. I penned the full length memoir titled Installment I in the War Stories Chronicles. The WS Chronicles is a collection of memoirs, journals, and now poetry books that revolve around the themes of battling drug addiction & mental illness, as well as touching on obsessive love, suicide & death-lust, neuroticism, and complex themes that cause the addictive personality type. I have been writing poetry from the time I was 7, so I decided that part of my chronicles/collection should be a poetry series that revolves around those themes. I collected a batch of poems I’d written that fit with the themes, as well as penning several new ones for this book.

Your journey as a word artist seems like it would certainly be a multifaceted one. What would you say are the key aspects that define it?

Like many artists, my will to create and re-create came through great suffering, torment and mental/emotional despair. Fantasy was the only thing I was able to turn to, to help unravel some of the scar tissue that had damaged me for so long. My journey as a real artist came from that, as well as a deepening depression and obsession with suicide that was so perverse and pervasive, that I couldn’t even talk about it! I always wanted to live life on my terms, and finally, I was able to restore my mental health to a degree, recover from a nasty addiction to heroin, and really overcome my creative despair!

Beautifully put, and it’s something I (as well as other creative minds) can truly resonate with. Now, let’s move on to themes. If you had to encapsulate your entire collection in several central themes, what would they be?

The primary aspect is of course, addiction. The title came with the series, because in N/A and A/A circles, and other rehab circuits, the stories we shared during active addiction were labeled ‘war stories’.

If you’ve battled addiction, you know that it IS a war. It’s a constant battle, every day. I thought that gathering a huge batch of poems based on those stories, would be a very effective tell-tale way of articulating what battling addiction is really about. Other themes are suicidal ideation, battling major depression and crippling anxiety, feministic rants, racial and other complex societal issues, and more.

The ultimate theme is my suffering, and addiction, through my own experiences and trauma, but also because I am hyper-sensitive and could feel the anguish of all that is dark in this world, which we are plummeted into without forewarning of any kind. The imprisonment that life instills–we are forced here and, then we are forced into death. Neither living nor dying are choices, so my neuroticism sprung from that, and then came the death obsession and, of course, the drug addiction–to blur those frightening truths.

That sounds amazingly empowering, especially because you touch base with issues that some other writers may have a hard time delving into. I applaud you for your fearlessness! Speaking of writers, we all have a muse or two (or more). Who’s/what’s yours?

My biggest muses for the novel are Janet Fitch and Anais Nin. For the poetry, my largest inspiration is of course, Sylvia Plath. Predictable as it may be, Plath taught me so much about writing and creative despair. I also love Anne Sexton, Emily Dickinson, Edgar Allan Poe, Langston Hughes, Robert Frost, Dylan Thomas, Bob Dylan, and many many more!

All of those muses certainly are incredible, especially Edgar Allan Poe. So, I’m a bit curious about your creative writing process. What does that normally consist of?

I journalled obsessively, during the penning of the book. My creative process for poetry is a bit less complicated, actually. Honestly speaking, I have been writing lyrical pieces since I was around 7. I always had a philosophical quality, and rhymes popped in my head constantly, effortlessly.

There is something, I think, very emotional (sensual) about the poet. The poet is providing life on paper–making the pages breathe. I think something rhythymic, relates to be ’emotional,’ feeling the beats, the vibrations of life. I believe, being a very emotional being, that is why I find rhythym and rhyme so simplistic. It comes naturally.

Metaphorically, I practiced constantly and examined all sorts of writers, poets, philosophers, and musicians. I appreciate quality rap music, because it’s street poetry, really. I get that, I like it. I find that my style is street-prophet-esqe. I attract people from all walks of life, with my work, and that is the ultimate goal. To relate to people, to relate to different types of people!

Wow, what a thoughtful and thought-provoking interview this has been. Thank you so much for putting your heart and soul into it, Nicole. It was a true pleasure!


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Evy Zen (formerly Eva PoeteX) is a mystic poetess, eclectic artist, fiction writer, and wellness advocate who calls the Greater Cleveland area home sweet home. Born a Clevelander with a Greek lineage, the arts started being a major part of her life the moment she picked up her first crayon. To date, dozens of Evy's writings have been featured in publications like Thought Catalog, The Journey Magazine, and Journey of the Heart: Women's Spiritual Poetry. As a spoken word poet, she has also had the opportunity to collaborate with numerous musicians across the globe. Currently, Evy is the Founding Editor of Poehemian Press and runs the decade-young poetry website (formerly The Artistic Muse). Additionally, she is the author of several independently and locally published poetry books, including "Esoterra" and "Sacred Shapes." Furthermore, she works as a full-time freelance writer and editor. In 2012, Evy received a Bachelor of Arts degree (honors) in Creative Writing from Cleveland State University. She also obtained a Diploma (distinction) in Exercise Nutrition from Shaw Academy four years later. When she's not creating, Evy Zen recharges her batteries by reading her weight in books ("The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho is her personal favorite), going on epic bike rides, meditating to ambient music, and racing super cars behind the safety of her computer or TV screen. To find out more, visit her official website at

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