When did you begin to write poetry?
After seeing how much attention my sister garnered for writing poetry when we were about six years old, I started writing as well. It was a copy-cat effort to gain attention. I started taking it seriously once I grew into adolescence and used it as a well-needed creative outlet instead of something frivolous.
Where did the idea of Girl Poems originate?
I appreciate femininity as a subjective concept and wanted to snapshot the essence of it through poetry. A large portion of the poems as well as inspiration for new ones came from a notebook I divulged in while living in a dorm with six other girls. We were all 18 years old and they essentially became my unknowing muses-for better or worse.
What have been your experiences of self-publishing?
Knowing that I was going to self-publish Girl Poems before putting it together gave me total creative control and freedom of thought to try out whatever I wanted for my first stab at publishing. I appreciate self-publishing because writers can publish genres that traditional publishers often wont, like poetry.
Why did you decide to involve other writers in Girl poems?
It was a matter of widening the interpretations of femininity described in the book so that the totality of the poems made for a more whole and robust read. Although the book is titled Girl Poems, not all the Guest Writers are girls. Having both male and females voices in the book strengthens its premise of femininity being a feeling, a way of being just by willing it so.
Who are some of your favourite writers?
Liz Rosenberg, Warsan Shire and Fatimah Asghar are some of my favourite poets and as far as narrative goes, I’m still working on finishing every book Haruki Murakami has written. I try to stay up on works that drastically differ from my own style so that I’m not overly indulging in “more of the same.”
Other than writing, what else are you passionate about?
I’m passionate about the process of peeling back layers of myself as to become fresh and transparent. It’s a challenge to constantly remain present instead of in my thoughts-but when I sign on for an acting role I enter that practice with abandon- the emotional thrill makes it worth it. I’m passionate about acting because it strengthens my connection to life. Being authentic is always better than trying to fit into a thought-made mold that isn’t even rooted in reality.
What are your future ambitions for your writing?
I plan on finishing up a novella I’m working on and pushing it through the traditional publishing route. I also plan on re-visiting self-publishing with another book of poetry. It’ll focus on a singular theme but will be much more experimental than Girl Poems. Again, that’s why I love self-publishing, there are no limits to the craziness anyone fancies themselves putting out there.
The Guest writers
Jeremy Mifsud was born in Malta in 1994. He is currently finishing his Bachelor’s Degree in psychology and philosophy. In 2011 he had experienced depression which lasted two years, after coming out as gay. This period was heavily influential as it pushed him towards writing raw and emotional poetry that helped in expressing himself. Within time, Jeremy recovered and his poetry remains affected, as he believes he tends to be more appreciative of the positivity of things, while remaining aware of negative emotions that surround every day life. In January 2017, he self-published a poetry book called The A to Z of You and Me. The book is based upon Jeremy’s personal experience of his long-distance relationship, containing both elements of romance and passion as well as feelings of isolation and pain. The collection is Jeremy’s precious treasure, both in the poetic aspect as well as to the emotions it signifies.
Erin Van Handel:
Erin Van Handel is currently a college junior majoring in communicative sciences and disorders and minoring in Spanish. She has always had a passion for writing and feels that it allows us to express ourselves not only to others but to ourselves as well.
Poetry used to be a love-hate relationship for Andriana. She hated reading it in school because she felt as if the meaning escaped her- yet once she began to unpack it, she found such beauty and complexity in what seemed like mere simplicity. This is why she turns to poems now – it calls for a more intimate relationship. She is currently working on self-publishing a collection of her poems that capture their deceptively complex relationship, and in turn, captures our very essence as human beings.
Ashley fell in love with writing a few years ago as a way for her to deal with some unfortunate happenings in her life. The more she wrote, the more she enjoyed sharing her writings with people, especially over Tumblr where she got lots of feedback from people relating to how she felt.
Ally is a poet and a writer who lives in Malaysia. Currently there are two things he focuses on: his blog and a novel in progress. Recently he completed a novella and is in the editing progress. After a journey of self discovery, he realized that he enjoys writing more than just a hobby. He wanted to pour more feelings in writing and wants to share them with others.
Lira is a 24 year old Brazilian teacher who likes confessional poetry, lazy cats, jazz and bossa nova. When asked who is her favorite poet, she will answer “Paul Éluard, of course!”, but after leaving the room, she will ask herself if she should have answered Machado de Assis, Florbela Espanca or Baudelaire. Éluard definitely owns her heart, but she has many lovers. When Lira isn’t writing about all the beautiful women she meets during her daily wanderings, she’ll talk about clouds and sirens; all kinds of handsome and charming men, and relive bits of her childhood through blue and red nostalgia. She is a shy girl in real life, but is considered a loud thunder when she writes through her soul and heart. And no, Lira is absolutely not pretentious. Not even a bit.