Poetry Book Mini Reviews

 

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From My Years – Jamey Boelhower

 

This collection touches on reminiscing on past loves and past lives. A reader gets a melancholy feeling of childhood, school days, and relationships with parents. I really enjoyed the heartache and yearning of the past. This poet has great descriptions of the scenery in his poems. I really enjoy the writing style of repetition and line placement, I’d definitely read more collections from this poet. Some favorites in From My Years include Left at Home, Morning Memory, and Hate is a Loan Shark.

 

 

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Rose Petals Under a Reaper’s Robe: Unveiled – Vontress Ortega

 

You can absolutely feel all the anger, betrayal and determination coming off the pages in this collection. This collection is right up my alley with its writing style, I loved it! Vontress touched on so many topics that are personal for me involving relationships, self love, and current society. This collection felt very cathartic and I really enjoyed going through that emotional journey with the speaker. I would recommend this collection to just about every girl friend of mine.

 

Poet Interview Series Recap List

This Poet Interview Series was a huge, huge success! I am so thankful for all these talented poets for working with me and allowing all these readers into their creative minds!

Emily Jane Burton

Christopher Perry

Susi Bocks

Catarine Hancock

Shelby Eileen

Eeva Maria al-Khazaali

Robin Williams

Alice Fawn

Kate

10 Jupiter Grant

11 Paul Webb

12 Vontress Orteg

13 DeVonne White

14 Jason Yearick

15 Matthew

16 Jamey Boelhower

17 Lauren M. Hancock also known as Alice Well

18 Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal

19 Cendrine Marrouat

20 David Ellis

 

and that’s a wrap for 2019!

Interview with Poet David Ellis – Installment 20

You all first heard from David a few day’s ago in the Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal interview so check back there for a full bio!

 

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve made as a writer? 

Looking back both fondly and wistfully on my writing career so far, it is not so much a mistake, more the usual situation that I think a lot of writers feel, where if I had started writing sooner with more confidence in myself and my abilities, I would have made a great deal more progress, compared to where I am now. 

Having said all that however, you have to soak up your life experiences to make yourself a better, more polished and professional writer. So, by taking my time and developing my writing styles over the years, I have matured in ways that I would never had imagined, had I been writing as regularly as I do now than say twenty years ago, when I was originally just dabbling in composing song lyrics, which of course would eventually naturally evolve into the poetry that I write today. 

You must never be afraid to write or let that fear be instrumental in holding you back, when it comes to submitting your work for critical evaluation. It took me a long time to start a blog but I am so happy that I did eventually get round to it (thanks to the constant encouragement from my local Writer’s Circle) because of the freedom of creative expression that it allowed me to explore. 

Start a blog, develop a regular writing habit and make sure that you are willing to keep evolving and improving your writing, with the ultimate goal to constantly put out quality content for yourself to enjoy and if other people like it then that really is an excellent bonus! 

Treat all of your writing ‘mistakes’ as experiments that are completely necessary and vital for you to attempt, if you are ever to grow and thrive in your writing journey. 

 

What did it mean to you to have your poetry collection win an International Award? 

I was completely stunned and flabbergasted (I do really like that word). For me, it was unexpected, in that I doubted the popularity of my poetry, compared to other big players in the categories that I submitted for my debut poetry book. 

As it turns out, inspirational poetry is a common theme in my work to this very day and one of my greatest strengths. It turns out that Readers Favorite thought so too. 

To have received the Readers Favorite International Book Award 2016 (Silver) in the Inspirational Poetry Category was life affirming validation for me, it was like “Yes, you are good enough and people are starting to take notice – well done!” 

For me, it was a career defining moment, one of the happiest days of my life and one I will take with me to the grave! 

 

How does the process work of writing Poetic Duets with other poets? 

I haven’t done Poetic Duets in a while, since people are pretty shy about doing collaborations but I do remember how much fun it was and is to create them! Basically, I think the best way to write them is as follows. 

You come up with a theme/concept (or take a concept from your writing buddy). You then run with that concept and see if you can write three or four lines about that concept (it doesn’t matter which one of you goes first, if one of you has the ideas then let them go first!) 

From that point onwards, you then write a few lines and pass it back and forth to each other via email, until you are both satisfied that the poem is complete. 

What is so fascinating about the process itself is that you end up writing lines or being involved with lines that you yourself would never have thought to have written before because you are integrating with another individual with their own poetic perspective. I have also been very lucky to work with people that have allowed me to edit their lines for poetic flow and rhythm, so that the poem is written so seamlessly that often people used to ask me which one of us started the piece! 

I would have to say that as a poet who thrives on positive interaction with people, it is one of the most truly rewarding experiences that you can have when you mesh with another individual and create a piece of art together, there is nothing quite like it! 

 

How was it being a part of the podcast ‘The Writer’s Edge’? 

It was simply an amazing experience! Christie Stratos is a very professional and engaging host at ‘The Writer’s Edge’. Both Cendrine & I found the podcast to be a very smooth and rewarding experience for us all, it was like we were old friends having a fireside chat. We covered a lot of ground, along with giving some background information as to why we started the journal and how you can submit as an individual. I hope all of my interviews end up going this well in the future! 🙂 

Christie is also a writer, editor and entrepreneur and you can find out more about her projects over at www.christiestratos.com

 

Like his Facebook Page:- Toofulltowrite – The Creative Palace For Artists & Author Resources 

Follow him on Twitter:- @TooFullToWrite 

For Creativity Resources, Writing Advice, Guides, Author Interviews and Poetry, visit his website/blog at:- www.toofulltowrite.com 

 

Interview with Poet Cendrine Marrouat – Installment 19

Cendrine Marrouat was introduced in yesterday’s interview as co founder of Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal so I’d like to hop right into her interview now!

 

How has your writing changed over the years? 

This year, I decided to release the second edition of Five Years and Counting: A Journey into the Mind of Soul Poetry, a collection I had originally published in 2010. I had to re-read the entire book, but I did it as if I was one of my readers. 

The experience was very interesting. I noticed a sharp change in style. Of course, it has a lot to do with the fact that I am older and know what I want in life. The spirituality that animated my life is now fully part of me. 

Furthermore I write haiku, my favorite form, 90% of the time now. This shift has forced me to focus on conciseness and simpler language. I say more with fewer words, which is a great thing! 

 

Does your poetry and photography ever overlap? 

They do, yes! I photograph things as a poet. I look at the stories I can document and compose my shots accordingly. 

One of my books, When the Mind Travels: A Poetic Journey into Photography, is actually a mixed-media project featuring poetry and photography. 

 

Do you have a favorite collection of your own? 

What? Are you asking me to choose between my babies? 😉 

I love my latest books. Walks: A Collection of Haiku is a series that pays homage to my love of haiku and invites readers to enjoy the fleeting moments that make life beautiful… 

I released volumes 1 and 2 this year and would like to release two more volumes in 2020. It will depend on the time I have. 

 

Aside from Haiku, what’s another form you enjoy writing in? 

The poetry form I invented, which is based on the haiku. The Sixku (you pronounce it as ‘sis-ku’) is a six-word, untitled poem inspired by an image. Like the haiku, a reference to nature is encouraged, complete sentences and punctuation are optional. However, the past tense is allowed. 

The sixku has three lines: Line 1 = idea 1 (one or two word(s)) Line 2 = idea 2 (two or three words) Line 3 = twist, surprise (remaining word(s)) 

Sixku are a fun challenge, especially if you know how to write traditional haiku. 

More information about the sixku can be found on my blog: https://creativeramblings.com/sixku/

 

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Books: https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Books

Blog: https://creativeramblings.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cendrinemedia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cendrinephotography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cendrinemedia/ 

 

Preliminary Interview with Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal – Installment 18

Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal may be new to the publication world but the co-founders, Cendrine Marrouat and Davis Ellis are not. Their bios are just a scroll down so make sure to take a look! I’ll be interviewing them each as well in the following days so I say we get right into this!

 

Where do you hope the future takes you, writing-wise? 

We anticipate collaborating on a variety of mediums and projects in the future. We have excellent synergy together and both have plenty of ideas that we would like to see out together to fruition. We are kindred spirits in our entrepreneurship and our inspirational mission to keep motivating others to succeed with their art and writing 🙂 

How did Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal come to be? 

About a year ago, we were discussing how frustrating the process of submitting to poetry journals can be. Many of those journals are elitist and very selective. They will not consider you if you aren’t already famous or don’t have publishing credits under your belt. And, very often, they do not accept already published material. 

As poets, our main focus has always been inspiration and upliftment. We believe that there is too much negativity in this world, that it is high time the status quo changed. And the best way to force that change is through art. 

Poetry is one of the most misunderstood artforms and yet, strangely enough, it is also the one that most people rely on when they need to feel better. So, we had the perfect combo. 

We believe that poetry can be used to make the world a better place. Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal was born shortly after that discussion. 

What makes our journal unique is that we accept poetry from everyone, even younger artists (ages 13-16). We do not care if you have never been published before or if you are new to poetry. If you have a positive message to share with the world, and you are between the ages of 13 and 100+, you are welcome to send us your pieces for consideration. 

Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal 

Website: https://abpoetryjournal.com

Latest issues: https://abpoetryjournal.com/issues/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/abpoetryjournal

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/abpoetryjournal 

Cendrine Marrouat 

Originally from Toulouse, France, Cendrine Marrouat has called Winnipeg, Canada, her home for 16 years. She is a photographer, poet, author, and the Head of marketing and communications at ConnexionFranco.Coop. She has also co-founded two projects, FPoint Collective and Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal. 

Cendrine specializes in nature, black-and-white and closeup images. Her photography seeks the mundane to capture the fleeting, but true beauty of life in its many forms. 

Cendrine is passionate about haiku. She has studied the Japanese poetry form extensively and written many pieces since 2006. 

In 2015, Cendrine was recognized as a Top 100 Business Blogger by BuzzHUMM. Social Media Slant, her former blog, also made Fit Small Business’ Best Small Business Blogs of 2015 & 2016 lists. 

Walks: A Collection of Haiku (Volumes 1 & 2) are Cendrine’s 12th and 13th books. Other releases include five collections of poetry, three photography books, a play, two social media ebooks, and a spoken word CD. 

Website: https://www.cendrinemedia.com

Books: https://www.cendrinemedia.com/Books

Blog: https://creativeramblings.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/cendrinemedia

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/cendrinephotography/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/cendrinemedia/ 

David Ellis 

David Ellis is a UK based author of poetry, fiction and music lyrics. He has been writing poetry and music lyrics for years. 

His debut poetry book Life, Sex & Death – A Poetry Collection Vol 1 is an International Award winning volume, having won an award in the Readers’ Favorite 2016 Book Award Contest for Inspirational Poetry Books. 

Think of him like the thriller genre in that he is fast paced, relentless and impossible to put down! His latest book See A Dream Within: Found “Poe”try Based On The Collected Poetry Works Of Edgar Allan Poe can now be purchased on Amazon Kindle, on Lulu and in print at major outlets. 

Connect with him on Facebook:- TooFullToWrite (FB) 

Like his Facebook Page:- Toofulltowrite – The Creative Palace For Artists & Author Resources 

Follow him on Twitter:- @TooFullToWrite 

For Creativity Resources, Writing Advice, Guides, Author Interviews and Poetry, visit his website/blog at:- www.toofulltowrite.com 

 

Interview with Poet Matthew – Installment 15

Today we chat with Matt from his Alternative Darkness blog where love, grief, and malice all intertwine to create insightful poems. Let’s dive into the dark now:

 

Has writing poems about death and grief been helpful in the healing process? Would you recommend writing to others grieving?

Well, I don’t write poems about death because I’m dealing with a healing process, at least not in that way. I’ve had people die in my life before like great grandparents and stuff like that and a friend I didn’t talk to much anymore that was hit by a Mo-ped pretty hard and killed on his birthday but that’s the farthest thing from the death in my writing. The reason death is such a big thing in my writing is because it’s a pretty big part of life.

Relationships, people, pets, emotions, friendships, places, and memories all die. A lot of them just waste away and some are accidents and some are killed whenever people feel destructive and hateful. A lot of what I write deals with these losses and sorrows that seethe into life every day. In a way I give my blood to my poems because that has been therapeutic, and I let myself and these different heartaches and rages topple and flow into my work. Everything I write about has made me feel a certain way and every subject has influenced me either first hand or through some medium.

As far as recommending others to find some sort of outlet for all the shit inside of them then yeah writing works and so do a lot of other things.  The only advice I can offer others who are looking for an outlet weather it’s constructive or destructive Is 1. To not hurt others or destroy other peoples possessions against their will (for example if your outlet happens to be, I don’t know, fighting only fight people that want to willingly partake like boxing or whatever but don’t beat on just whoever or whatever). And 2 That whatever you do should come naturally. You might have to practice it but you should have some naturally good inclination at whatever you do, but it should never feel forced.

If you try to force something you’re going to do it poorly and probably ruin your confidence and self-esteem. I see lot’s of writers who force what they do and honestly I find it a little insulting. What they write isn’t original or new or done in a very unique way which art should always be unique and not uniform. And that’s why I think print media is suffering now because of shitty books and other written materials in general. It’s such a high majority that it’s really suffocating the voices like yours and mine in literature, past and presently now, from making a helpful impact on anyone’s life. But, yes, people should have some sort of enjoyable and productive activity in their life weather grieving or not and writing or not.

 

You have a great poem that contrast elements like love and sinister details but they mold so well together, why do you think poems that compare contradicting elements work so well?

I think that there’s a duality with almost everything in life and many of these dualities are naturally contrasting. There’s no such thing as perfect love for example and the sinister details are sometimes there for different reasons. Sometimes there’s flaws in each individuals personality that can be abrasive to each other or work together, sometimes it’s the setting. It’s also a stylistic approach, the darkness and coldness is the actual love communicated back. I don’t want the love that I project, that feeling that one has for another individual to be any of that Jack and Diane bullshit, y’know. It’s not the perfect love story of the jock and cheerleader or whatever or the successful whatever and handsome to boot marrying the most perfect and beautiful woman and them having great perfect kids and go to church and everything is leave it to beaver.

I’m sure for some people it’s like that but for me to write that would be phony because I interpret love the way I write it, not like that. People are fucked up and sometimes people don’t reciprocate feelings, people stalk each other, they die and get sick, they disappoint and hurt each other’s feelings, they fuck up their chances with someone, they cheat, they aren’t successful, at least not the way our society expects success with money and all that shit, and they just enjoy memories together of walking places or conversations over cheap meals and coffee or whatever. And love doesen’t have to be all screwed like this but It can have darker elements and people can still work together as a couple and create something that’s darkly beautiful. But in short variety is the spice of life and when you contrast your experiences you make it that much more exciting. That works well with anything really not just writing.

 

You have some religious and political themes in your poetry, why is it important to have poetry that speaks to current issues in society?

Well, to follow from that last question to contrast this, I have heard people argue that being socially conscious is a real “cope out” as opposed to using your platform ( music in the case that I heard this individual referring to) to I guess talking about heavy metal fantasy worlds with dragons and nude women and macho bullshit or conversely weed, money, and whores. I think this is completely ludicrous and absurd. I’m not saying that’s bad to use your art on but for me looking on that its truly entertainment and nothing more, just amusement. It’s fun but when it’s all over you have trouble holding it close and dear to you if you have any kind of intelligence because it’s not relatable. It’s like the American dream or people that really love the lottery and daydream all day about winning. It’s like sticking your head up your ass. I think the logic there is that life is hard so lets go home and forget about all that and be taken away for awhile and be comfortably numb and a little ignorant.

But after all the fun the problems are still there and you’re left there sort of looking like an idiot because whilst there are artists and people speaking out and trying to make a change and talking about their past and how that has affected them and maybe many others to and how we can come together. There’s to much in life to want to stay out of it all the time and for me to say that is going a far way because Me of all people has hated a lot of moments in life but I still don’t tune out like some of these people. It’s an adventure. I think every artist no matter their craft I love today has influenced my work as well so I mean telling things they way they are and having someone say hey you’re right and deciding to share themselves is the circle of life of expression and creation so to speak.

 

Do you prefer to write in silence or do you have a writing soundtrack?

Yes I always write to music. I don’t have a soundtrack necessarily bus some of the artists I like to listen to are Deicide, The Cure, Seraphim Shock, Switchblade Symphony, Joy Division, Lorde, Skinny Puppy, Poison, Alice In Chains, Pantera, Danzig, Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Type O Negative, Tiamat, Rollins Band, Bad Religion, Life of Agony, And Black Veil Brides.

 

Click here to check out Matt’s blog

Interview with Poet Jason Yearick -Installment 14

Today we meet up with poet Jason Yearick. He touches on so many diverse topics in his poetry, you must visit his website because I’m sure there will be something there each person can enjoy! Jason puts so much thought into every poem he creates, there are new layers you’ll notice after each read. Let’s get started!

 

You have some really creative and cool use of paper real estate in poems such as Matthew 14:30 and GSP poems, what extra elements do you think word placement adds to a poem?

It depends on the intention of the word placement. As with punctuation within a piece, word usage through placement, fonts, colors, letter grouping, etc. has to be something more than, “I think putting this word over here would look cool.” At least, that’s my approach. Otherwise, if one’s randomly placing words over the real estate of the paper then word placement probably isn’t adding anything beneficial to a piece.

I’m glad that you chose Matthew 14:30 and GPS since the two pieces have different intentions for their word placement and the elements that are added to each piece are different.

I used to perform spoken word poetry in Southern California and Matthew 14:30 is a piece that attempts to capture the performance of the piece if it were performed. Specifically, the spacing of letters and non-linear directions indicate the movement of the speaker and, hopefully, contribute to the visual aspect of the piece when read. Another critical aspect of the piece is that there probably aren’t very many people who are familiar with this Bible verse, so the word placement, character placement, and directional placement all contribute to not having to have read the verse but allow the reader to grasp what is taking place within this verse.

GPS is a more overt attempt to reveal some of the multi-layer meanings that I put into my poetry while accentuating contrasting ideas within the internal struggle of, “Who am I? What’s my purpose in life?” GPS was formatted to be read as one more than one piece and word placement was critical in achieving this goal. In GPS, the left-most justified words reflect this internal dialogue of the speaker questioning their life purpose. The further left the words are placed, the more grounded the thoughts are in the speaker’s mind. Those further to the right reflect stray thoughts during this questioning. Reading from top to bottom reveals, hopefully, these different thought patterns that can take place within the human mind concurrently with each thought pattern reflecting the weight of those thoughts.

 

What do you hope readers take away from reading your poetry?

That’s a tough question. When someone reads a piece of mine I want them to want to go back and read it again. I don’t want my poetry to be popcorn poetry that someone reads once and say’s, “That’s nice” and then never thinks about it again. I write across so many topics that my hope is that readers understand what I’m trying to communicate in my pieces. That’s where multi-layered themes can shine. Different people can walk away with different meanings from the same piece. This is why I love it when someone leaves a comment. Likes and follows are great and most appreciated. However, a comment can help me to become a better poet.

 

Why has it been important to you to write about your Faith?

The most important relationship to me in my life is my relationship with God. All of the work that I’ve done, everything that I am, comes from the Lord. My identity is rooted in my faith, so it’s important that I’m going to write about it. Most importantly though is that I let others know of what God has done in me and through me. I have been healed of so much in my life from heartache to an “incurable” physical illness. God has done so much for me that I want other people to know that He can do the same for them.

God has gotten a bad rap. I think a lot of people if they think about God, think about the people who profess to follow Him and what they’ve done, not done, said or not said. God is love and it’s important to me to let people know that there’s someone who knows all about them and loves them.

 

You have many subcategories in your Angst of Loving category, which is your favorite to write about and why?

Each subcategory is an element of love that I broke down into different aspects. Loss is the most beneficial and hopeful category for me. It’s not my favorite to write about but it probably contains the most healing. Loss is where I can find humility in relationships past and discover that it’s better to have lost then to have held onto something because it feels “good.” Loss allows for negative emotions to be healed and to help prevent me from making the same mistakes twice. Whether it be letting someone go or going myself. There’s a lot to be said for loss.

The choice to self publish

The dream for me had always been to be picked up by a big publishing company in the future of my writing career. I knew that would not happen right away and self publishing some books would almost be like building up a resume. I could grow my own fan base, I would be showing that I’m not just a one hit wonder, and I would show that I have the passion and commitment to continue on for many more years. 

 

There’s definitely stress and frustration that comes with putting a book together but I do love having control over every decision and making my collection EXACTLY how I want it. As I’ve never been traditionally published, I don’t know when the hand off happens exactly. But I’m sure there’s Cover Designers and Illustrators that can give your collection a complete makeover – a makeover you may not want. You can be included in the conversation but how could you disagree with the professionals if you didn’t like the design?

 

A big plus of signing with a traditional company is the marketing resources that can be dedicated to getting your book to consumers’ hands. When you self publish all the marketing and promoting falls on you. The thing is I’ve seen some collections that were published by traditional companies but barely have 50 reviews on Amazon. I know reviews don’t equal sales but one of the big 5 publishing houses should have enough resources to ensure their books are being promoted well. 

 

Traditional publishing companies have been in the industry for a long time, they have a lot of connections, and they know all the ins and outs to get your book in front of the right people. But will they use that knowledge on you, that’s no guarantee as this recent thread on Twitter speaks to. 

 

After publishing my first two collections, I’ve learned I want control of all creative decisions and I want as much promotional help as possible, it seems there are plenty of examples in the industry that traditional companies don’t help me with either of those things. 

 

Being picked up by a publishing company could be the greatest thing to ever happen to your writing career. It could be the greatest to happen to mine as well, I’m just saying that I no longer feel that hungry desire to chase after one of the big 5 houses. I’m happy self publishing. It’s difficult at some points and I know traditional would have it’s own difficulties as well. Self publishing has been making steady strides in this industry for years and I am here for it’s next step.