I'll be honest, I don't know a lot about poetry. It is something that I've never written before, but I truly admire the artistry of poets and how creative they are. Also, I love talking to poets, as they are always such kind people. Today's guest is no exception.
I'm honored to interview Elly Schyven, a seventeen year poet with a new book out and a lot of wonderful advice. She is someone who exudes wisdom beyond her years and her poetry (which I discovered on Instagram) is absolutely beautiful. I hope you enjoy this interview and make sure you check out Elly on social media, which I will link at the end of the interview.
L: I’m so glad to have you on the blog, Elly! I’ve followed you on Instagram for a while and I’ve always thought your poetry was so lovely. Before we dive into talking about your inspiration and your new book, would you mind introducing yourself?
E: Hello everyone, I’m Elly Schyven, author of ‘rose petals’ on Amazon. Thanks so much for having me on the blog Lev, I’m really happy to be featured!
L: It’s an honor to have you! My first question is about your journey as a poet. I read that your poetry book, rose petals, began as a project on Wattpad. Was that the first time you started writing poetry or have you been writing for a while?
E: It did start on Wattpad, but I had been writing poetry for a year or two before that. Rose petals is a bunch of poems I had worked on for a while, before I decided to put them all into one collection on Wattpad.
L: What draws you to poetry? Do you dabble in other kinds of writing as well?
E: I really love poetry because it’s a way for me to bluntly express my emotions. Ever since I was little, I’ve always loved writing. I use it as an outlet, and I know that poetry is an easy style where people can look deeper into themselves and relate to what’s being written. However, I also write novels; I’m currently working on the sequel to my main WIP. Honestly, I just really love writing in general!
L: That is wonderful! I’ve never tried my hand at poetry, but I really think it would be a great outlet. How would you describe your style of poetry?
E: You should try it, it’s super fun! I would describe my style as very forthright and direct, but with lots of metaphors and literary devices used as well. I prefer to write short poems, but every so often, I write longer poems too. My poetry is very upfront; most readers can grasp it and find some hidden meanings or messages that they resonate with.
L: As a reader, I really love your short poem. They are only a few lines, but really pack a meaningful punch. I also admire how you make sure all your readers can connect to them. Do you find that challenging, making them universal?
E: Thank you so much! Truthfully, it can sometimes be difficult. I write about things I’ve never experienced before, such as a proper straight relationship. However, I take lots of inspiration from what I see around me, including the experiences of my friends, my family, and myself. So normally I try to figure out what each person as an individual can relate to, while also expressing my own emotions. I’ve gotten the hang of it; sometimes it just takes time and finding the inspiration in everyday issues or occurrences.
L: That makes sense! What is your writing process like? Do you typically write a lot of poems at once or do they come more slowly?
E: My writing process is all over the place, to be honest. Normally, I write poetry every so often, but when I do, I write anywhere from five to fifteen poems at once. When inspiration strikes, it strikes me pretty hard.
L: Interesting! I love hearing about your process, but I’d like to slide into talking about your book. Can you describe rose petals for us?
E: Of course! Really, rose petals is split into three parts: love (petals), pain (thorns), and healing (buds). It’s a journey through different types of emotion, and at the end, the reader can feel as though they have found themselves once again, and if not, that’s okay too! The whole point of the book is to allow people to healthily express their emotions and to feel as though they are represented in one way or another. The most important thing for me is that readers enjoy the book, and feel as though somewhere within it, they are there, and that their emotions and experiences are valid.
L: What was the journey from Wattpad to publication like?
E: It was a long journey. I had to take all the poems from Wattpad and put them onto a document, then edit them all one by one, and finally format. I also gave many of the poems new names, and my partner proofread the collection for me. There was a lot of editing, formatting and late nights happening, but I wouldn’t change it for the world! Overall, the journey was stressful, but still super fun and thrilling, since it was my first time ever publishing!
L: That is super exciting! And congrats, of course, on publishing the book. It sounds like a fantastic project. Why did you decide on roses for the theme?
E: Thank you! I decided on roses for the theme because I LOVE flowers. For some reason, I’ve always found roses to be very beautiful; I have them printed on my bed sheets, and I just love the aesthetic of them. I also think there’s lots of comparisons between roses and pain, since they’re very beautiful flowers, but they have sharp thorns, so I wanted to play on that. A rose has so many layers, and I strive for my poetry to be the same way, so I thought it was a rather fitting theme.
L: I think it’s both beautiful and clever. I also read that rose petals is the first in a series, can you tell us anything about upcoming poetry books? Will there be more flower themes?
E: Thanks! rose petals is indeed the first book in a series; I’m thinking there will be three other books, and there will definitely be more flower themes! The next book I’m working on, which is about halfway written, is based around sunflowers, and centers more around the topic of self love and euphoria. Just like rose petals, it’s also divided into three parts!
L: I love that! I know this may be a tough question, but do you have a favorite poem within rose petals?
E: I don’t exactly have a favourite, but one of the poems I’m really proud of is called ‘violinist’. I just think that it symbolizes a lot, and the fact that the girl is playing the violin with broken fingers really resonates with me personally, because despite her pain, she is still doing what she loves to do, and what she feels she needs to. It’s all about pushing forwards, regardless of the hardships, and I feel like a lot of people understand that same feeling.
L: How do you title your poems?
E: Usually, I make sure every title relates to the poem itself, but sometimes, I base the titles off of my own personal experiences. I like to create titles that make people think; sometimes, I honestly feel as though the titles tell more than the poems themselves. They sort of just come to me out of the blue, and it sounds cheesy, but certain names simply click. My partner also helped me title lots of them, so her input was really important to me as well!
L: Why should people read rose petals? What do you think makes it original or different from other poetry books?
E: Honestly, it’s not even about being different. What it’s always been about to me is empathy; in rose petals, I try to include poems that people from all walks of life can resonate with, no matter their race, sexuality, past experience, etc. I think that people should read rose petals if they want to see themselves represented somewhere, whether it be through physical description, pronouns, or just the emotion behind the poetry overall.
I really want to be empathetic to everyone, and make sure that all the teenage girls and boys, and all the older people as well, can relate to something, or at least feel as though their emotions have been put into words. Whatever they need to hear in that moment when they pick up my book, I want them to be able to read it. Therefore, I think that rose petals is unique in the sense that it represents diversity, and it includes something for everyone!
L: I can do nothing but applaud you for that. I really admire your drive and your compassion. For my final question, do you have any advice for other young poets? About putting together a book, about writing poetry, about anything at all?
E: Write what you need to. If you’re happy, write a poem about it. If you’re sad, write a poem about it. If you’re angry, write a poem about it. Out there somewhere is a person who feels the same, and needs the words just as much as you do. Worry about putting together a book and publishing later; first just focus on getting your emotions across. The rest comes after.
L: Extremely wise words. Thank you again, Elly, for coming on the blog. It was great to talk to you and learn more about your work. You’re welcome back anytime!
E: It’s been a pleasure, thank you so much for having me!
Link to Elly's Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/roseypinkwrites/