Interview with Poet Paula Shaffer (BENCH SOLILOQUY)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Paula Shaffer: The magnificent view from a bench on a cliff overlooking the Pacific Ocean in Dana Point, CA.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I often visit the “bench” just to marvel at the sea, hear the roaring crash on the rocks, taste the sea’s saltiness, experience the power of the ocean in its majestic splendor. A place to reflect and feel small, surrounded my nature’s majesty. It’s a humbling experience.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I have been a closet poet for 30+ years, but rarely shared it with others. However, after retirement, I enrolled in a continuous Journaling/Poetry class in January 2019. That’s when I endeavored to really work at the art of composing poems. 2019 became a breakout year for me with writing poetry on a regular basis and for the first time, actually sharing my poetry in open microphone classes before an audience. It has been exhilarating. I discovered a group of highly skilled poets and writers who have motivated and inspired me to keep producing poetry and enhancing my skills.

4) If you could have dinner with one person (dead or alive), who would that be?

My writing coach, author MaryAnn Easley, who has provided tremendous support, constructive criticism, inspiration, and valuable guidance. Her brilliant and creative mind is worth picking for hours on end. And she’s a great conversationalist.

5) What influenced you to submit to have your poetry performed by a professional actor?

I wanted to hear my poem spoken in a voice outside my own, to see if the cadence and spirit of the poem matched what I heard in my head while composing the poem. I was not disappointed.

6) Do you write other works? scripts? Short Stories? Etc..?

I wrote a published memoir in 2019 called “The Absent Mother, Memoir of a Foster Child” (by Paula Shaffer). It’s on Amazon. Tells the story of spending my entire childhood in an abusive foster care family. There are poems throughout the memoir that express a certain moment or scene as it occurred in my life in foster care. I am currently working on a collection of poetry with the theme of. “Mental Illness”. Also writing a children’s book about a little girl in foster care who finally gets a forever family through adoption.

7) What is your passion in life?

Writing poetry is my main passion. Also painting (acrylics) portraits, animated, and abstract painting. Staring at the ocean has also become a passion regardless of the weather.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

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