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.”

❄️ ☀️ ❄️ ☀️ ❄️ ☀️ ❄️ ☀️

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: “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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Posted in Promoting Books, Promoting Poets & Artists

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.

✌️💖✌️

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. 🙂


Wild Heart Peaceful Soul Marketing Photo 3D Sample-v2 (1)

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Posted in Promoting Books, Promoting Poets & Artists

INTERVIEW: “Love, War and Glory: Spoken Words for All Seasons” by Denis Olasehinde Akinmolasire

Love, War, and Glory… Three things that we all have seen, experienced or been a part of. As with life, in general, all three of these concepts have their ups and downs. This book explores those themes via poetry and spoken words and examines what these themes mean in everyday life. Explore what it means to go beneath the surface and find out what you are truly capable of and how to rationalize life events, both good and bad. This book also explores how to keep your perspective when you achieve your life ambitions and aims. From dealing with heartbreak and finding your true love, to tales of warriors fighting never-ending battles, making dreams become a reality, and overcoming the odds to finally reach your goal as well as tales of supreme champions, reviews of global figures of interest, and understanding the changes and the journey we all go through in life, you will find it all in this book. I believe there is something in here that everyone can relate to. ❤️⚔️🛡 


Hello, Denis! We have a lot of ground to cover, but first: What inspired the creation of this love- and war-infused poetry collection?

I have had certain troubles and experiences in finding love and had to overcome various hurdles to achieve my ambitions in life. I wanted to share my thoughts on how to handle disappointments in life, what to do when you achieve your ambitions, staying hungry and what it means to love someone. I’m hoping this book will inspire people to not give in and offer encouragement regardless of what stage they are at in life.

I absolutely love the sentiment behind that. How did your passion for poetry initially come about?

I had written narratives, but because of where life took me, I never had a chance to explore this skillset. Narratives such as “The Man Who Went to War and Won,” I wrote 11 years ago. So it was an opportunity to explore my thoughts on a much deeper level.

Excellent! What are the top three messages in your book if you had to pick?

The book is split into four sections: Love, War, Glory and Life Stories. Each section has poems and narratives analysing these topics from a real-world standpoint.


It’s safe to say your book covers a lot of ground. Who/what are some of your major writing influences?

Everyday life and some of the things I have experienced along the way. I think my friends and family were also a big influence on me whilst writing this book.

Okay, now may you please tell me a thing or two about your poetry-writing process?

I started off by writing a list of titles that I wanted to explore. I then wrote about how I felt at the time. Sometimes I would get an idea whilst working out at the gym or on the track and would get on my computer to start writing.

What makes your book different from other books like it?

A lot of books focus on love or may focus on war and some may touch on glory. But very few cover all three in a manner that can be applied to everyday life.

Any final thoughts?

Honestly, I think this book is for everyone. If you like love poems you can find them here. If you want to hear about stories of warriors fighting never-ending battles this book has it. If you want to know how to cope when you reach the top of your mountain in any aspect of life you will find it here. There are event accounts of some of the great champions that have come about in.

That’s wonderful, Denis. Thank you so much for speaking with me. It’s been a true pleasure! 🙂

 

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Denis Olasehinde Akinmolasire is a software engineer who has always enjoyed writing and is taking the opportunity to share his unique insights and hidden talents to the rest of the world. Denis’s perspectives have been formed through his own journey in finding love, battling to overcome the challenges and fears that have been put in front of him in the pursuit of glory and being the very best he can be at everything he does.

 

📖Now available on Amazon!
📖Official Website
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Posted in Promoting Books, Promoting Poets & Artists

INTERVIEW: “Please Stop Hurting the World” by Ben Smiley

A poetry book about compassion and pain. Introspective and innovative at the same time. A book all must read. A book to fight greed. A book for the green.

🌲🌎🌲

📖Now available on Amazon!

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🌲🌎🌲


Good evening, Ben! I hope you’ve been having an amazing weekend so far. I absolutely love the message of your book. What inspired it?

My inspiration for the book was I started off writing a philosophy book about compassion and then had a back injury and my life fell apart. I lost my job, my ability to play music, my wife, and my house. The poetry started to become philosophy and vice versa. This prompted me to complete this book because of the journey I had taken with it.

That sounds like a tumultuous journey, but I’m glad such a wonderful poetry book came out of it. Compassion is a powerful healing force as well! When did your love of poetry first enter your life?

I started writing poetry in high school. My friends knew I was a writer and asked me to join. I was a very concise writer, so poetry really caught my attention. Once I started writing I couldn’t stop, and the passion for wordplay grew. Now it is the form of writing I like the most.

That’s fantastic! What are some of the themes you feature in this collection?

My book has different themes, because it is a journey through a dark time in my life. So there is pain, sadness, and depression. I never lost sight of why I wrote the book. and that was to create philosophical poems that talk about compassion, charity and cooperation.

I like how there’s a balance between the dark and the light. You include sadness, but also charity. What would you say influences you most as a writer?

My writing influences are varied and I read every genre of writing I could: from poetry it was really Dr. Seuss and William S Burroughs. From philosophy, it was Douglas R. Hofstadter, Soren Kierkegaard, and the Dali Lama. From Science it was Stephen Jay Gould. From science fiction, it was Isaac Asimov, and Clive Barker.

Such diverse influences. I love it! What’s your poetry-crafting process like?

My writing process is very streamlined. I am working on the philosophy side of things all the time in my head. When I put pen to paper, the subject matter and parts of the story are ready to be written. I then get in touch with the emotion I am trying to convey when I write.

I truly admire that philosophical element. One last question: Why is this book important to the world?

This book is important to the world because it teaches compassion, charity and cooperation. It shows that you can solve problems with love and thinking. That you are not out there in life to fight things but to befriend others and smile. Life lets that smile in and helps you to understand its importance.

That is very beautiful, Ben. Thank you! 🙂