Interview with Poet Iuliana Pașca

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

As the title “Cosmogony” suggests, the theme is the creation of the cosmos, the poetic-self being the generator of this entire universe. Additionally, the poet’s coming into the world is akin to the birth of an entire universe.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I have always been curious about where we come from, what we truly are, and why we are here. When I was 5 years old, I started a journey of discovering the “end of the world”, but my quest was interrupted by a neighbour that found me wandering around and brought me home. Ha-ha. Since then, I continue my “expeditions” towards such discoveries, but, obviously, in a less physical manner.

I think I wrote this poem out of a desire to understand and express the joy of being part of something as great as this universe.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Do love letters to an imaginary friend count? 🙂

I wrote the first text, that can be defined poetic by the literary canons, about 10 years ago.

But, from my point of view, poetry is more than a correctly written text that may be generally accepted by the critics as such, it is a beautifully expressed emotion, so, my lost love letters to that imaginary friend could be considered poetry as well and then I should say I have been writing poetry since I knew how to write.

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

My grandmother that passed away too many years ago.

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

I didn’t think twice when you sent me the invitation. I appreciate the work you’re putting in promoting poetry and connecting poets around the world.

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

I write poetry, as, in this period of my life, it is the best way I can use to express myself. But I enjoy literature a lot and I also like doing translations of short stories and other poems. Besides, I wrote a few literary articles (such as: Madness in literature – Diary of a madman story) and I published editorials or interviews in local literary magazines.

7) What is your passion in life?

I enjoy many things in life, but I am especially passionate about those things/ places/ ideas etc. that I have yet to discover.

 
Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Allison Kampf

I would like to tell you about my birth
but how to start with no beginning?

Mother said I was born
ahead of my time;
I don’t remember,
but I know I was there when
I also gave birth to my mother.

I saw when from the heart
the galaxies
gushed streamingly,
suns were smiling on the spine
rasing satellites
from the tireless breath.
Neurons formed stars
in the rainbow hair,
while Mars was preparing
for the fight.

From the fingers of the left hand
it detached,
together with the rings, Saturn
then, as lightning,
Jupiter came out of nowhere,
and to my feet
was lying down
the Earth.

Interview with Poet Darell Philip

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Darell Philip: Inspirational and rememberance

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

26th March 2020, 8pm, would be an evening which would go down in history as millions of people across the UK would clap for our brave NHS workers putting their lives on the line for the country during the global Coronavirus pandemic. I wanted to document this moment in British history.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Since childhood – writing has been my life.

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

In light of the current Covid-19 crisis I’d say Mary Seacole – a pioneer in nursing who put her own life at risk by going to the battlefield where she treated wounded British soldiers during the Crimean War which took place from 1853-1856.

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

I thought it would be really cool to bring the poem to life and so decided to have a professional actor do that and I was not disappointed!

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

I’m also a freelance journalist and have written for a few various newspapers, magazines and websites.

7) What is your passion in life?

Writing is my passion. The great reformer, Martin Luther once said, “If you want to change the world, then pick up your pen and write,” which is what I hope to achieve each time I write.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Allison Kampf

Windows opened
Mum and I screaming at the top of our…
You know, that organ which
Mr Corona makes the point of his attack
Our voices in unison with the carnival of faces
Hand clapping together among our block
For those brave front liners
Robed in white and blue
Their lives risking for Queen and Country
For me and you

A sign in a window reads
Hang in there Hackney
Locked down, stuck in isolation
Longing to be free
Hooting and beeping cars drive by
An outpouring of love filling the illuminous sky
Dethroning Mr Corona from his royal seat
His nasty legacy we will surely defeat

An unusual crescendo took place that night
The community together an awesome sight
It was to everyone’s most absolute delight
To see Mr Corona given a most chilling fright
For all the lives he’s cruelly taken away
For all those families we kneel and pray
Our frontline heroes – relics of the past
For you we clap knowing this too shall past

The morning after the night before
A bright smile beams across the sky
As a reminder of that glorious day soon to come
When from this earth with angel’s wings
We take off and fly.

Interview with Poet Jean Buschmann

1) What is the theme of your poem?

The title is a double-entendre. The real GIANT moment refers to the unforseen and unbelievably fortuitious kind gesture of a stranger. The experience stayed with me for all these years because the man was not a scalper, he just wound up with two extra tickets when friends had to cancel. So what were the chances that I’d oddly declare we’d get tickets once we turned the corner – and have it actually happen! Of course, what I didn’t mention in the poetic narraitive was that he didn’t try to pad the price. He simply charged me face value.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I love a creative challenge. So when it arrived in my email inbox, I couldn’t resist! – Especially since the stated goal was to share a positive and uplifting experience during these challenging quarantined times.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Since I was a child. But not often, and mostly for assignments. The best of which was for an essay exam on Shakespeare’s MACBETH. The English Lit. professor offered the class the option of trying to write a poem instead. I dove right in! Later she confessed that she didn’t think anyone would dare risk their grade on a time-pressued longshot. – That was the proudest “A+” I ever received.

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

A certain carpenter from Nazerth. I’m hoping it can be arranged.

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

It’s always fun to share work with fellow creatives.

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

Yes. I do freelance marcom and copywriting for a living. (As well as video production and editing). I’m also an award-winning screenwriter hoping to have my most recent feature produced. It’s called LOVE THY NEIGHBOR and it’s both timely and socially-relevant.

7) What is your passion in life?

Making a difference in some tangible way. Creatively, I’d love to tell riveting and socially-relevant stories that pack a powerful punch. That would be a dream come true, for sure!

Watch the Poetry Reading:

Performed by Allison Kampf


POEM:

BORED in San Jose, our home in the South Bay, we ventured to The City that day.
– It wasn’t ordinary, no way!
Sunny and bright, not a cloud in sight.
– For the foggy City By The Bay, that’s rare for May, let alone April Fools’ Day!
But it was no joke, so we were seriously stoked at the thought of some fun in the sun.
The grand opening of PacBell Park was our mark – an exhibition game between the
Yankees and Giants. Otherwise known as “The Spankees,” to their defiants.
As a native New Yorker raised in Queens, it was The Mets for whom I placed all bets.
But as if to put our love to the test, my Nor-Cal man loved The Bronx Bombers best.
– And no, that’s not jest.
So that was the original aim of our quest, but before long we’d learn it might not be best.
– Since such seemed the goal of all the rest.
And so, with slightly deflated hearts, we parked by The Palace of Fine Arts.
– Far far away from where we’d hoped to spend that day.
We then began to stroll around, stopping at every fascinating sight we found.
– Talking and laughing along the way, we could hardly believe we’d walked to the Bay!
Not ’til we saw my blistered feet, were we finally ready to take a seat.
That’s when we noticed something funny – all the ATMs were out of money!
“Uh-oh” we said to one another, ‘cuz neither of us had stashed cash for the other.
Hungry, with nearly no money at all, there was not even a cab for us to call.
That’s when something inside me said, “It’s time to get up and keep moving ahead!”
To that, my hubby scratched his head, not at all sure how I’d endure.
But despite my feet, I wasn’t ready to admit defeat.
As we neared the revered new stadium, out of my mouth came a strange shout…
“When we turn the corner, we’ll get tickets to the game!” – To which my man jokingly retorted,
“Are you insane?”
Then to his shock, I locked eyes on a smiling stranger, who waved me over to his Range Rover.
“I’ve got two tickets, if you need ’em.” He said. “That’d be great…if you can wait.” And so, I explained
our twisted fate.
The stranger stepped right up to the plate. Without so much as a pause, as if completely compelled
by our cause.
When he jotted down his address, I knew that we’d been truly blessed. Then I noticed his wife was
stressed.
So I smiled reassuringly, as if to say – “The check will soon be on the way.”
…And that’s the true story of that April 1st day!

A poetic memory by

Interview with Poet Howard W. Robertson

1) What is the theme of your poem?

Glory as Pindar understood it

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

The beauty of the moment and the pathos of life

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

Since the age of 17 or in other words 55 years

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

Walt Whitman

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

Love for my poem

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

I’ve published ten books of poetry and three books of fiction. Also, my one screenplay is titled THE FORGE and has received the following honors:

Bucharest Film Awards – Selected;
Zed Fest – Semi-Finalist
The Monthly Film Festival – Finalist
Chicago Screenplay Awards – Selected
Peachtree Village International Film Festival – Selected
Screenplay Festival – Semi-Finalist
All-Genre Screenplay Contest – Selected
Bucharest Film Festival – Semi-Finalist
ScreenCraft Drama Contest – Quarterfinalist
New York City International Screenplay Awards – Selected
Pitch Now Screenplay Competition – Finalist
Page Turner Screenplays, Feature 100 – Quarterfinalist
SOMEDAY… Screenwriting Competition – Selected
Underground FEEDBACK Screenplay Festival – Semi-Finalist
New York City International Screenplay Awards – Selected
Miami Screenplay Awards – Selected
Beverly Hills Film Festival – Selected
Sunrise International Screenwriting Awards – Selected
Drama inc. Screenplay Competition – Selected
Circus Road Screenplay Contest – Finalist

Logline for THE FORGE: Isaac McClure is caught between his mother’s Ehattesaht world and his father’s Scottish. Born at Fort Astoria in 1824, he conceals his Native American identity to come back over the Oregon trail in 1853. He becomes part of racist pioneer society, is outed by chance, and an intense peripeteia ensues.

7) What is your passion in life?

Breathing

Watch the Poetry Reading:

Performed by Allison Kampf

POEM:

After football practice, Dave Malloy, assistant
coach, was sitting in the office of the coach, Jim
Shelby / I was there as well; I don’t remember why
/ without the slightest warning, zany Dave erupted,
bellowed, slammed the tabletop with both his hefty
hands, ejaculating loudly these impassioned words,
“I want to fuck!” / Malloy repeated this, and Shelby
shushed him, since a teenage boy was present, me /
soon after that, Malloy became the coach at New
Geneva High, our bitter rival, we of Fairfield High /
the summer just before my senior season, 1964, I
had an easy job delivering bouquets, arrangements,
wreaths, and other floral merchandise from Baxter’s
Blossoms, located in Fairfield but providing flowers
for all greater New Geneva / my delivery van pulled
up at New Geneva High one afternoon, and I began
unloading many floral products / suddenly Malloy
was there, just grinning at me crazily, eyes merrily
agleam / we talked a bit of this and that, not even
mentioning we’d meet next autumn on opposing
sides of gridiron combat / early in the New Geneva
game that fall, we punted on fourth down / I was the
long-snapper and could release downfield before the
other guys who had to block first / when the punt
returner caught the kick, I was already nearing him
at top speed / suddenly I caught some stream of
energy (let’s call it Ki) and flowed right through the
running back, depositing his body in a broken heap
at Coach Malloy’s large feet while I just trotted off
unscathed and nonchalant / my soft eyes sensed his
crazy stare and joyous grin directed at me all the
way across the field to what was now the line of
scrimmage / next day in the local paper he was
quoted, “Well, I knew when Douglas tore apart my
halfback early on that we were in for one hell of a
game!” / that was the scene of brutal glory, that
god-given moment, gleaming possibly forever /
Pindar said, “What’s man? A shadow’s dream.
God-given gleaming comes, and life is bright.”

Interview with Poet Sienna Feruzi

Go to the writer’s website: http://mybook.to/Blumaniterrian

1) What is the theme of your poem?

“Dear Mema,” is about my grandma’s passing. “If Only” is about an old friend who didn’t know God.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

“Dear Mema,”- my grandma’s funeral/”If Only”- poor decisions in life

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

about 15 years

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

Maya Angelou

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

I just googled opportunities to get my poetry sold more.

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

I am working on a novel now!

7) What is your passion in life?

I have a passion for helping women and children in need and expressing myself through poetry and the arts.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Allison Kampf

I’m paralyzed,
You’re in the front of my eyes
And you won’t. go. away.,
You were my light,
You were the shadow in my shade,
The breeze on my hottest days,
The pink and gold of a sunrise haze,
You were the ground under my feet,
You were the smile folks loved to greet,
I feel you now when I see injustice,
I feel you when I see true love,
I know you are the voice of my happiness and patience;
You’ll always be my baptismal dove
And the one who encouraged me to stay confident and kind
Who taught me to never be left behind
For I am special, just how I am.
I’ll always have that Avery glam.
I’m paralyzed but I’m motivated
Because of you I’ve become elated
To have this life I have to live,
If only with you, for you I could give
Another walk along the bridge
Or through the park
Or at the store
I’ll always, always want some more.
But I’ll have the time, I’ll get the chance,
Once I meet you again.
I love you.

Interview with Poet Robert Drusetta (Once Upon a Crooked Time…)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Robert Drusetta: Everyone is unique, outside and in, but we can co-exist in harmony.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I wanted to write a fun nonsense poem that has disability as a subtext theme

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

On and off, over 30 years

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

Friedrich Nietzsche, the philosopher

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

Exposure and to share a fun poem with an audience..

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

I have written several screenplays, have published three e-books and am in the process of polishing up my first novel.

7) What is your passion in life?

To make a difference in whatever I do. 

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Hannah Ehman

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: 

Interview with Poet Shobana Gomes (THE LONG ROAD)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

Shobana Gomes: The theme is built around the quiet moments one reflects on their journey in life.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I thought about certain aspects that had happened throughout my life, and how long the road has been to achieve some of my aspirations. This poem has quite simply made me realize that I am far from reaching my goal.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I have been writing poetry since 2007. However, I have always written little notes and short poems from young, not realizing that someday, it would become my forte in life.

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

This is quite a tough one:) I am not really sure, maybe my favorite movie star turned singer/musician, Kevin Costner or the iconic Robin Sharma.

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

I wanted to see how it turned out read by a professional actor. It was a great feeling, I must say.

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

Yes, I have published a few novels, and two poetry books, I write short stories too, two of which was chosen as the winning stories published in the Enchanted Conversation Magazine (Into the Realms of a Summer’s Dream – 2019) and ArtHut (The Raging- 2019). My poem, The Goddess of Song, was the winning poem published in the Enchanted Conversation Magazine in 2018. The poem “A Potter’s Clay” was published in the IFLAC as a peace initiative contribution in 2014.

7) What is your passion in life?

Writing, of course, after which comes traveling to beautiful places.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Interview with Poet LannaEvolved (LOCKED TREASURE)

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

LannaEvolved: The theme is the unpredictability of life within a universal existence. Everyone has their own unique experience, yet each person somehow manages to crossover with someone else’s without knowing it. Living shared experiences.

The theme is rooted in the reality that we are one with the universe and we can know what other people are thinking without really knowing a thing. What I mean is, Self implies other.

We are not strangers in this world. We feel our own existence alongside others and that is absolute.

In fact, we need others to complete our humanity.

Loneliness, despair, the desperation to feel freedom while continuing to misunderstand our own unmet needs, the differences between and among who we are, and the physical and emotional desire for love and to be loved on the other side of those proclaimed differences are also relevant.

These themes create a unified fabric for being ourselves, the precious moments we choose to spend with another, and the essence of what binds us to a society that keeps us stuck from achieving our goals and pursuing our passions in so many ways within all of our shared communities.

In this piece, I wanted to paint a picture of not only what separates us, but of the qualities that hold us together.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

The sheer will to explore the “role of a character portrayed as an outsider desiring to feel what it feels like to be appreciated captivated my mind.

I had the desire to get underneath the meaning of people’s thoughts but also their actions and what they go through when they experience a loss of any kind, primarily the greatest loss to humankind, which to me is love itself.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

I have been writing poetry for over 15 years

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

Judy Garland

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

As a professional actress, I wanted to see my work come alive off the page through hearing it read aloud. In addition to writing my own book of poems, it gives me joy to know people will be able to enjoy this piece as a teaser before the book is released.

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

I write scripts, and have written several educational scripts for high school students and staff to use for training and therapeutic intervention via the drama therapy and poetry model I created

7) What is your passion in life?

To continue using my art as a form of social narrative that can change and be recreated through the healing power of performance and poetry combined impacting the lives of vulnerable youth and families around the world.

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Interview with Poet H. W. Robertson

Matthew Toffolo: What is the theme of your poem?

H. W. Robertson: Hope’s and my love is like the harmony of the sea and sky.

2) What motivated you to write this poem?

I love Hope, and we were at Cannon Beach, a favorite spot.

3) How long have you been writing poetry?

55 years

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

Walt Whitman

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

It seemed like a good opportunity.

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

I’ve published ten books of poems, three books of fiction, and a screenplay.

7) What is your passion in life?

Staying alive

Watch the Poetry Reading: 

Performed by Carina Cojeen

At ocean’s edge

I pledge

a solemn oath

to both

the sea and sky

that I

shall be as true

with you

in harmony

with me.