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After reading (and listening) some parts of her poetry works, I would consider Lovelyn Andrade as one of the rising contemporary women poets, and a Filipina at that. She possesses a natural prowess and elegance with which she brings verse to life. She also explores spirituality and relishes the contradictions and complexities around her in her verses.
Here, Lovelyn talks about her journey as a writer and her latest collection. She also offers some great insights and tips into writing poetry.
1) When did you start writing and what do you think attracted you to poetry?
I have discovered poetry when I was 8 years old. My teacher asked me to join the poetry writing contest during the celebration of Buwan Ng Wika. The topic was about illegal logging, that was the year 1987 when illegal logging was such a big issue in the Philippines. I remember writing about a young girl who found a talking tree. The poem revolved around the sufferings and wishes of the trees. I recited my poem and won first place.
2) What motivated you to go on to focus on writing?
Memories motivated me to write. Even as a young girl, I kept a lot of diaries. I wrote mostly about things, people and places that touched me because I want to preserve these memories. Photographs were never enough for me to save memories, I had to be able to describe the intense emotions, the sound of a laughter and the bitterness of a tear.
3) How do you think you’ve evolved as a writer over the years?
I used to think that a poem has to be dramatic in order to be a poem. Since last year, I have discovered another way to write poems that still touch my soul minus the suffering.
4) Do you think poetry has a purpose? Is there something particular that good poetry ought to do?
The purpose of poetry is to ignite emotions hidden or undiscovered, both for the poet and the reader. Good poetry stimulates intense emotions, presents another world that mirrors this world and helps people find words to emotions they never know existed inside them. Talkshop, owned by Christina Merl, a Language and Learning specialist uses my poems as a creative method for language learners to learn how to express themselves authentically in a foreign language, find their communication strengths and inspire them to a new way of thinking while connecting with their inner-selves.
5) What’s the best experience you’ve gained through your writing?
It is when readers or listeners find themselves in my poems, they take the poems as their own and interpret my poems in a way that connects it to them.
6) Which poets or poems most inspire you? Whose work would you recommend with regard to contemporary poetry? What are you reading at the moment?
My favourite poem is called “Tonight, I Can Write The Saddest Lines” by Pablo Neruda, a Chilean poet. For contemporary poetry, I have recently discovered a Filipino poet, Juan Miguel Severo, who I hope to meet one day. His words are raw and authentic, I enjoy his recorded performances and writings.
7) Do you have a particular process or place where you like to write, and does a poem start life in longhand, notes, or straight to the computer?
I do not have a particular place to write. “The Boss”, a poem included in the first edition of Poetry in Business for Talkshop, was written while my plane was landing in Antalya. My notebooks are full of scribbles, written very fast in a handwriting only me can decipher. I never wrote straight to computer, words flow faster when I have a pen and paper. But writing about certain topics take a long process of acquiring ideas, daydreaming and finding real people to fit the characters. Once I find an inspiration, words fall like rain therefore I have to write right away, anywhere, anytime.
8) I understand, you are coming out with your second collection of poetry out – where do you see yourself going next?
Yes, that’s correct. The Cookie Edition of Poetry in Business by Talkshop.cc, an E-book, has recently been released. It’s about traditions and the memories linked with these traditions. In the Philippines, we have the Puto Bumbong after Misa de Gallo. Here in Austria, Christmas cookie baking is a big deal. Every family has a special recipe that has been passed over from generations to generations, mostly from a beloved. The series of poems I’ve written for this edition focus on everlasting remembrance of loved ones gone before us, beautiful memories brought by this season and hope for the future. In this edition, I read some of my poems with the music accompaniment of Turkish composer, Cagri Beklen. People can find the collection at www.mytalkshop.club
As we speak, I am writing the next series of poems about Artificial Intelligence which will be released in 2018.
9) Do you have advice for young writers?
Always write as if you are writing to yourself. Make it simple. Use words that you normally use everyday, for writing is not about being perceived as intellectual, it is about being understood.
10) Do you have message for your Filipino audience?
You are a Filipino. You come from a soil where heroes fought for freedom and succeeded. No matter where you are, carry this independence inside you and let the world witness the beauty and strength of a pearl from the Orient Seas.
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