A busy lifestyle; house, home, children and poetry. These are just a few things that have inspired one of our favorite poets in Poet’s Dream. Sumyanna (Writes) portrays the beauty of so many aspects of life and imagination and it has been an honor to ask her a few questions regarding her poetry. Let’s get to know Sumyanna Writes …
Writing is important to people for different reasons. Why is your writing and poetry important to you?
I had written poetry when I was younger to help myself go through difficult times. It was a way to feel on the page what I was not always free to feel in life. As a child, it is harder when you are not allowed the ability to express yourself. As I grew older, I grew out of the need to express myself, at least for many years. It is not that I did not need it – but I guess times were happier and I felt I did not need the crutch of my writing. However, last year I found writing again. It was not for any certain need, except that I truly missed allowing my thoughts to flow and having the opportunity to capture them.
I truly never expected to call myself a writer, but the more I wrote this past year, the more I realized that I needed to write as surely as I needed to breathe. It is hard to even understand myself, but I guess it is similar to when an artist steps up to an easel to paint. I find great happiness in creating something with my own hands. Also, when times are tough, I find solace in being able to express my feelings – getting them out there. I don’t always just say I am angry – but I write it across the landscape of a poem and getting those words out helps me get past any difficulty I must face. Other times, I just soak in the beauty of the world around me. This is where I get my strength.
What prompted you to begin writing poetry?
When I was younger, I wrote because I grew up in a difficult home. I only started writing when a teacher required us to write a few poems for an assignment. While I had no choice, I found the assignment interesting. It was something I had never done before. When the teacher commented that I was a pretty good writer, I think I had found my passion. Sadly, as I got older – I lost my desire to write and actually stopped for over 20 years.
For the past year, I started out writing poetry for my children and they begged me to share it. I started writing on my blog and then got started in writing for prompts. For anyone that knows me – that is something I enjoy immensely. I think I really grew as a writer this past year and all the experiences leading up to this point, even though I was not writing, has been the fuel behind the words. As of now, I could never consider not writing and I try very hard to make sure I make time to write.
How does a poem begin for you, with an idea, a form or an image?
Each poem dictates what is said as well as what prompts my writing. I am rarely in charge. I do sometimes sit down to an image and try to capture the scene in words, however I often get prompted by a word or a phrase as well. Every poem is different. I have made it my goal to never lack in inspiration for writing, right now my only obstacle is time to write. So, I am often inspired by images, quotes, words, and even just pick out a line in a conversation and use it to start my writing.
Are there any forms of poetry you haven’t tried but would like to?
There are so many different types of poetry that I have yet to try. I have to admit I did try a sonnet once, and had much difficulty. I feel most comfortable in the way I write now – but I am always willing to stretch and learn. I think it improves your writing, even if you never write in that style again.
What conditions help you with your writing process?
The best condition is a bit of quiet – which is not always possible in a house with four kids. It is often in the silent moments that I find my thoughts are clearer and beg expression. I always try my best to find time for myself to write and have learned that if I truly want to be serious about this, I have to make time. I am a work in progress – but I am trying.
You clearly care a lot about children and you have many short stories and poems for children. Which audience are you more comfortable writing for; children or adults?
So funny you should ask. I absolutely love kids and adore writing for them. I also love writing for adults. I feel quite comfortable writing adult poetry and have been spending more time doing that lately. I think the main reason is time.
My children’s poetry often takes more focus. Remember the silence I need? I really need it to write for kids and at this time I just don’t get enough of silence. I’m okay with that – as my goals right now are to take care of my children, but at some point I do hope to work more in children’s writing. I know what you are thinking, “It takes more time to make rhymes for kids?” Truthfully, for me – it does. I usually write in rhyme for children and it takes a bit of concentration. I am also rather picky as I want a rhyme to really work – and don’t want to settle for forced rhyme. If a line does not work, I will not write the line. Another thing I found out this year is that I have real trouble moving from one genre to the other. So, when writing for kids – I can write in rhyme to my heart’s content, but have real trouble then writing free-verse and vice-versa. I do not mind rhyme – but often feel more comfortable with free-verse for adults. So, that causes a problem. I hope to do more children’s stories and poems in the near future though, so don’t be surprised if you find more rhyming adult poetry as well.
What is the relationship between your speaking voice and your written voice?
My speaking voice and my writing voice are 100% exactly the same. Many people say that they feel as if I am speaking directly to them. It is true – I am. While writing, I actually read the lines as they are written. If I don’t like the way they flow, I rewrite them. The funny thing is – once I get into kid’s poetry mode, I often (accidentally) start speaking in rhyme more. You should try scolding kids in rhyme – they just don’t take you seriously!
You have a number of avenues for your written work, such as your blogs and Google+. Do you find these a satisfying release of energy or ideas and will you continue to add to these sources?
I don’t know if I can afford stretching any further – as much as I would like to. I do think I would like to pursue being published at some point, but still have a lot of growing to do. Perhaps someday, but probably not any time soon. Recently, I have been moving my writing to my new blog. I found that I missed the ability to easily search for a poem I had written on Google Plus. Things are not indexed well and can be easily lost. I could seriously scroll all day long and still not find the poem! So, I started my new blog to have my writing all in one place.
I often write new poems there and also stick in some old ones from Google that may not have seen before. If anyone were to ask, I do feel that my favorite place is on Google Plus. I have truly enjoyed being a part of the Poet’s Dream community and have met many amazing poets there. I enjoy the friendship, the community, and the opportunities to learn and grow. Truthfully, it was there that I learned I wrote something worth reading and I have also expanded my view of poetry since being a member. I think the only reason I have not been around as much on Google Plus is that I am slowly trying to learn time management. It’s not an easy lesson, I might add. I have two younger children whom I home school (one has a learning disability) and they need a lot of my attention right now. So, I am going to write when I can. I still often write poems that are exclusively posted in Poet’s Dream that are only (much later) added to my blog, if at all. That’s how much the group means to me.
This past year I have grown a lot, and one important lesson I have learned is that I cannot ignore my urge to write. So, being on my blog and Google Plus are my way of ensuring that I take care of my needs as well.
Just to remind you of the beauty and feeling in Sumyanna’s work; a little verse on one of the greatest themes in poetry … Love.
When Love Was Strong and Meant to Last
It was a tale of long ago
when love was strong and meant to last
a woman stood – yet brave and strong
her pulse had quickened – beating fast.
Honor etched upon her face
and quickness still found in her feet
she hid her fears and left her longing
she knew that death she could not cheat.
Long ago, heart wrapped in his
and vows – together – they did make
she promised she would follow him
even when life he did forsake.
On pyre his body, gently raised
his once strong form now void of life
more humble after years of glory
she felt honored to be his wife.
She found that life was one short journey
but one she felt she traveled well
with her husband, she felt alive
in Paradise, she hoped they’d dwell.
She climbed the pyre with hesitation
and looked in the distance – out to sea
where boats she saw in the hundreds
“My dear, they’ve come to honor thee.”
As water lapped upon the shore
the pyre gently pushed out to sea
lanterns lit on boats to guide them
and all observed their pageantry.
His name – someday – none shall remember
but all will know her love was true
solidly she stood to face tomorrow
as flames of fire toward her flew.
© Sumyanna Writes