Poetic Perspective: James. W. A.

Today we have the pleasure and privilege of sitting down for virtual coffee with poet and author of In the Library James W.A. Read our review here.

What was your purpose behind writing In The Library?

Originally, In the Library actually started out as my college thesis for undergrad before it was
published as a separate book. At the time, I was graduating from the honors program at the
University of South Florida St. Petersburg and a requirement was to write and defend a thesis
related to one’s respective field of study. I was a psychology major, but towards the end of my
degree I had decided not to pursue that career further, particularly because I wasn’t really
enjoying the research side of the field.
In talking with my director about this, he recommended that I write something creative instead of
science-related, and since I’ve always loved poetry, I asked if I could write a poetry book
instead. He agreed, with the stipulation that it had to showcase some psychological
phenomenon and provide some fresh insights to it. After I graduated, I tweaked what would
become the book a little further to make it a little more readable for the average person and add
some parts I thought were missing from the original version. A few months later, I decided to
self-publish and the rest is history.
As to why I chose the story and themes that I did, it fascinated me that even though every
person suffers, there are so many different ways of dealing with said pain. The variance is
almost endless, but I really wanted to showcase both healthy and unhealthy coping
mechanisms and dig into this concept a little more. Ironically, I was going through my own dark
time, so writing the book itself was a catharsis for me and a way to vent pain that I was going
through in a productive, creative way.

What’s your favorite thing about visiting your local library?

I have fond memories as a child going to the local library and seeing a bunch of cool new
people or things that I wouldn’t have otherwise. During the summer especially, ours often had a
wide range of speakers and events (I can remember a reptile expert and a magician in
particular) that I think at a young age helped instill in me an openness to experience by being
exposed to new and creative things. That’s definitely one thing I think is important: to have an
area where ideas are brought forth and shared.
As an adult, I think what makes libraries stand out is that they’re free to the public and offer so
much. I’ve heard it said once that libraries are the only indoor venue left you can hang out at
without any expectation of spending money and I think that’s huge. With all the busyness of life
and the Florida heat, having a quiet, cool place to relax in while also learning and growing is
incredibly undervalued.

3. What do you hope people gain from In The Library?
As I alluded a little bit to earlier, when I was writing In the Library I was going through a bit of a
dark time in my life and that shows in the dark themes of the book. That said, the point of it
wasn’t to simply make other people suffer or elicit a sad reaction. Rather, it was my hope that
people who read this book recognize their own pain, their own sorrow, and gain the resolve to
overcome it in the best way they need.

Some of my characters, like the Child, deal with things in a healthy way, and that’s great, I want
others to learn from that. Some characters, like the Degenerate and the Captive, don’t however
and I want readers that are doing the same to see that reflection and do better or avoid such
coping mechanisms if they’re tempted. There’s admittedly not a lot of hope in this book, but
sometimes life can feel hopeless too and at the very least I want readers that feel this way, who
feel that no matter how they try to deal with their pain it’s not enough, to not feel as alone and to
know that there’s always a better way forward.

  1. As a poet and a writer, where do you see your career going next?
    It’s funny you ask because this is something I’ve been asking myself a lot lately. It’s been awhile
    since In the Library came out and I’ve put my writing career on and off the back burner at
    different times. I never stopped writing though and poetry is something that I truly love and want
    to pursue.
    Lately, I’ve been really trying to get back out there and share some poetry at open mics around
    Tampa Bay, especially as my writing is much more in alignment with my current headspace and
    beliefs now. I don’t know exactly what the future holds for me, and I’m by no means chasing
    fame, but if I can share my stories, my dreams, my poems with as many people as I can, I think
    I’ll call it a win.

Any new books currently in the works?
As a matter of fact there is! It’s hard to believe it’s been a little over 8 years since my first book
came out, but in that time I’ve been fairly consistently writing more stand-alone poems. I’ve
amassed enough now and have a solid enough of a theme that I want to publish them into a
true collection, rather than write another narrative like In the Library was. I don’t want to give
away too many details yet, but I hope to announce something relatively soon and have a
release by the end of the year.

Who are some of your favorite poets?
As far as contemporary poetry goes, Billy Collins has to be my top favorite. I love how he is
whimsical sometimes and then really drives it home other times. E.E. Cummings is another,
obviously less contemporary, favorite poet of mine and actually one of the main reasons I chose
the pen name that I did. Sometimes I get the urge to read some classical poetry, in which case I
usually go back to Petrarch, whom I’ve kind of had a love-hate relationship with over the years.

  1. Who inspired you to become a poet or was there a pivotal moment that made you become a
    There was definitely one series of events that led me to become a poet and it happened in
    middle school. One day after school, I was in the library (ironically, no connection to the book)
    and the school librarian recommended a book of poetry to me to read. I don’t remember the title
    of the book, nor why it was even suggested to me in the first place, but I was intrigued.
    In class not too long after that, we read “The Highwayman” by Alfred Noyes and it moved me
    deeply. From that day on, I fell in love with poetry and knew I wanted to write some of my own,
    to impact others the same way that poem impacted me. Obviously I had a lot to learn, I still do,
    but that was the avenue I chose to express my own emotions and ideals and I’ve never really
    looked back since.
  1. Anything else you want to share with my readers about poetry or your writing career?
    I think if I had to give some kind of advice or insight into writing poetry, for your readers that are
    poets or aspiring poets themselves, I would say to not be afraid to write. No matter what stage
    you are at, art, poetry, is always worth creating and has a place in the world. Don’t be afraid of
    rejection, of course, but also don’t be afraid of yourself. Don’t be afraid to reach into the darkest
    or the brightest parts of your heart to create something that’s real and something that’s
    As far as my own writing journey goes, I hope you’ll join me on it by following my various social
    media outlets, links to which can be found on my website at https://thejameswa.com/ . I’m going
    to be making some big changes soon to this website and there are some great things in the
    works for later this year, so I would love to have you all aboard for that.
    Thank you Chelsea for this space to speak about In the Library and my writing career and I
    hope you

Poetic Perspective with Antonio Eramo

Today we have the privilege and honor of sitting down for virtual coffee with best-selling poet Antonio Eramo.

His book is in the Top 100 in all 3 Kindle Categories, and even in the Top 20 in 2 categories with more than 168 reviews.

My review of his book is available on Instagram here.

  1. What was your purpose behind writing Cicadas Serenade

Cicadas Serenade was written to be my own version of “song of myself” (Thoreau). My song, like the song of the Cicada, is loud and can be perceived as annoying…but it is nonetheless natural and beautiful in its own right. As far as purpose goes…well, it serves the same purpose as any song within nature, it means everything and nothing at the same time.

2. What’s your favorite thing about nature?

My favorite thing about nature is that it almost mocks man in its perfection. Every lesson I have ever learned I can see expressed in nature…and there is a great irony that we can only see the wisdom of nature after our own failures.

3. What do you hope people gain from Cicadas Serenade?

I hope to gain several things from this book. The number 1 thing would be understanding. Although the manner I express myself isn’t straightforward, I hope that those close to me can read between the lines and understand the overarching meanings. The number 2 thing I hope to gain is a bit of traction within the poetry community. The poetry community is oversaturated and it is very difficult to stand out or be heard. I am hoping that this book can help usher in a return to form for poetry. Most modern poetry is full of bromides and bad line breaks, and I think the reader deserves a bit more than surface level thoughts masquerading as a poem (insta-poetry).

4. As a poet and a writer, where do you see your career going next?

As a poet, I see myself slowly climbing the ranks on amazon and establishing my work as an indie publisher. I am adamantly against big name publishers, so I do not see myself submitting to any of them anytime soon. I do not foresee myself ever being able to live off my work as a poet, which is definitely a blessing in disguise…I feel that if you treat art like a job/career then the work suffers 

5. Any new books currently in the works?

I have a new book out called “The Day Prior” which features AI artwork. Most people have been using AI to create art…but I was more curious as to how ai interprets art. I plugged each poem in as the input and had an ai generator interpret the poetry and create a corresponding image. The point of the collection is to analyze the process of interpreting art. In general we have a major issue with something I like to call the “coerced consensus”…in school we interpret things as we are told to interpret them…likewise, ai can only interpret things based on its algorithm (how it is told to interpret). I am curious to see if the images impact the readers ability to interpret the poetry and if it influences their perceptions before they even read.

6. Who are some of your favorite poets?

T.S. Eliot and Robert Frost

7. Who inspired you to become a poet or was there a pivotal moment that made you become a poet?

I don’t really remember what kicked off my fascination with words, but I do recall that it was a sudden snap. One day I just started writing poems.

8. Anything else you want to share with my readers about poetry or your writing career?

A bit of advice for anyone new to poetry…learn the forms and learn poetic devices before embarking on the journey. After you learn the rules you can break them…but for the love of god, learn them first. 

Poetic Perspective with Matthew Gutierrez

Today, we have the honor and privilege of sitting down for virtual coffee with Matthew Gutierrez, author of Notes I Wrote Along The Way. A review of it can be found here.

  1. What was the exact moment you decided to begin writing Notes I Wrote Along The Way?
    I had been writing for years before 2019, so I had quite the collection, but in 2019 it dawned upon me that
    I should release them into the world so others may enjoy them and not keep them locked in my computer.
  1. One of my favorites from the collection is Universal Control? Can you tell us more about the backstory
    behind the piece?

This poem speaks about the complete control that the universe has over all living things; the universe
maintains complete control, and we are subject to the twist and turns that are thrown our way. I believe
that our existence is part of the universe’s plan and we must all play a part and complete a purpose to that

  1. Besides poetry, what else have you written?
    I have written screenplays, short stories and currently I am working on more poetry and a longer fiction
    piece that will become a novel.
  1. Do you plan to write another poetry collection? If so, do you know what the themes may be?
    I am currently working on writing more poetry and editing and rewriting pieces that I already have picked
    out for my next collection. I want the next book to be more personal, more direct about pieces of my life
    and things that have happened in my life. The themes will remain the same as the first collection, I like to
    focus on the universe, a higher power, love, life and death.
  1. Who inspires you most in your life?
    I inspire myself… my life inspires me and the people that come In and out of my life inspire me in some
    manner. Life is full or inspiration and sparks ideas to write.
  1. Who are some of your favorite poets?
    I would say that I am a fan of Pablo Neruda, John Keats, Langston Hughes, Sylvia Plath, Phillip B.
    Williams, Roger Reeves.

7.What’s your favorite thing about poetry?
I love poetry because you can find the right words for a poem that you cannot seem to discover when
speaking to another human being. I started writing poetry due to the lack of courage I had to say a few
things on my mind. I found it easier to write them as poems instead.

  1. What is most misunderstood about poetry in your opinion?

The state of being abstract. I hear often, in my MFA program, that I can be a bit too abstract, and I need to
be more grounded and concrete when writing a poem. While I am working on being more focused on
describing a scene, I do believe that I am that poet and have to stay true to what I do.

#PressRelease: Sticks and Stones Mental Health Month Tour!

For Immediate Release

April 12, 2023

Chelsea DeVries



Sticks and Stones Mental Health Month Tour

    Chelsea DeVries, author of Sticks and Stones, is going on a 3 stop book tour. On May 6, 2023, DeVries will appear at the Community Appreciation Event at the Gulf View Square Mall, 9409 US 19 Port Richey, FL 34668, from 11 a.m.-4 p.m. She will be selling her poetry stanza artwork and copies of her award-winning poetry collection Sticks and Stones. 

On May 10, 2023, DeVries will appear at the Spring Hill Library 9220 Spring Hill Drive Spring Hill, FL 34608 from 3-5 p.m. for a poetry reading and presentation of her collection Sticks and Stones: Full Story Edition. On May 24, 2023 DeVries will appear at New Port Richey Public Library 5939 Main Street, New Port Richey, FL 34652 from 3-5 p.m. Books will be available to purchase at this event on May 24. Past appearances for Sticks and Stones Poetry readings include Centenniel Park Library, Hudson Library, and Neat Coffee Bar. For more information about each event, please email chelseadevries@thesmartcookiephiles.com

About The Author: Chelsea DeVries wanted to be a writer at the age of 7. Her first publishing credit came at the age of 14 with a poem in a student anthology. She then wrote nonstop while doing IB classes in high school. She published two YA novels while still in high school which after over 10 years she rewrote as a NA romance that she looks to put out as her next publication.She is a seeker of justice and uses her words to free this world’s outcasted, peculiar, and underdogs from the chains that bind them. When not writing she runs and does PR for authors and musicians with her bookish brand The Smart Cookie Philes. Though she’s Florida born and raised, she has New Jersey in her veins. She currently lives in Port Richey, FL with her squad of two dogs.You can follow her on Instagram and Facebook at @chelsealynnpoetry, and her squad at @dasquad26. In October 2020, DeVries was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome which is a form of Autism.

About The Book: In Sticks and Stones, DeVries paints a poetic picture of rising above toxicity, love found and love lost, and delves into what it means to find strength in the human spirit. Through poetry, the reader finds a voice of strength and the rebuilding of one’s heart a home with all the sticks and stones thrown upon it. Newly expanded with more full color photos, 41 new poems, and a rewrite of Drowning in An Ocean of No Tomorrows, DeVries shows a full poetic picture of turning pain into poetry in order so you can rise above whatever is pulling you under.

#NationalPoetryMonth: In The Library by James W. A. Review

Venturing to check on my own poetry collection at the local library, I happened upon another local poet’s collection. Checking it out, I was immersed in a short narrative poetry experience that reminded me of one of my favorite childhood books that became a movie The NeverEnding Story

James W. A. writes of the freedom from rules and counted meter with the poet’s choice of free verse and also shares how that freedom then trickles down to the reader who can then interpret the poem as they see fit even if it differs from the way the poet intended it.

In The Library is a dark poetry narrative that utilizes a main character who’s dialog throughout the book is expressed through poetic stanza and verse, all while utilizing the image of a library to be similar to a graveyard where the main character is asked to read or “remember” 11 different traumatic events.

The library then becomes like the post-traumatic brain and the poetry is the inner workings of coming to terms with said trauma.

It is a different take on poetry but it is unique in it’s own light, and worth a read.

I found it to be hopeful to me as a free verse poet, and I am grateful that on a trip to the library I happened upon In The Library.

#NationalPoetryMonth: Diary of A Romantica by Celia Martinez Review

If you are anything like me, you read poetry to feel something. To feel sad, to feel angry, to resonate with the feeling of heartbreak expressed in a piece. Rarely ever, do I find romantic poetry a genre that I vibe with these days. That is until I happened upon a poet climbing the social media ranks named Celia Martinez.

What struck me most was the absolute effortless delivery with which Martinez delivers her poems, almost like she’s just saying what first comes to mind, and in terms of poetry and the complexity of language barriers, that is a rare find.

Her poetry reads like diary entries but follows a rhyme scheme with themes ranging from future love, past love, love as a concept, romance, fictional men, heartbreak, and themes of anxiety and depression as well.

The absolute best thing about Martinez’s collection is her imagery. You can literally picture two people meeting in the street, the young woman carrying bread. How she blushes when the man speaks to her, wondering if he’s actually addressing her or someone else entirely. It’s like paintings of romantic storylines come to life, and it fills the readers soul with such wonder, curiosity, and even dare I say, fulfillment similar to that of a romance novel you can’t stop reading.

I finished Martinez’s collection in two days simply because I had trouble putting it down like an insatiable romance novel, and that to me is poetry done absolutely right in a time of social media and short attention spans.

Thank you Celia for reminding us all that love is possible even if it hasn’t been returned to us yet.

#NationalPoetryMonth: Notes I Wrote Along The Way by Matthew Gutierrez Review

Have you ever been completely swept off your feet by a book of poetry? I have many many times. The first time it ever happened I was in college and found a poet on Tumblr and I covered my dorm walls with their words.

Yet, recently sitting down to delve into Notes I Wrote Along The Way by Matthew Guttierrez I found myself in that same place, absolutely glued between the covers of his poetry collection, slowly digesting each and every poem as it spoke to my soul as nothing else has. 

As a poet myself, I find that to be an inspiring moment and a revelation of the true talents that poet has as if I feel inspired to write a piece after reading one of theirs then I truly know I was taken on a journey with the poet, and got to metaphorically walk in their shoes.

And sometimes those shoes are quite big, stuck in quicksand, lost and alone, feeling like a failure, heartbroken, grieving or just pondering a unique perspective of the human experience.

Matthew Gutierrez writes of memory, environment, love, sexual desire, dreams, madness, and death but they all speak to something profound and poignant.

Gutierrez’s word choice and imagery are what struck such a chord with me while reading this collection, and it makes me hungry for more work from this poet as I am certain this poet has many more notes that will need be written along the way.

Coming this Wednesday…stay tuned for an interview with Matthew himself.

For more from Matthew Gutierrez, follow him on Instagram @notes2poetry and @matthewjames_g

Follow The Smart Cookie Philes on Instagram to hear Chelsea DeVries read these poems, and to hear Matthew read one as well.

This FREE BOOK REVIEW was done in support of poetry and the arts. The Smart Cookie Philes is a independently owned and woman run company to help all people feel free to espresso themselves. It is a book and music publicity firm offering various marketing services and packages including the new Indie Book Tour Package as seen below.

Consider tipping Chelsea for her work on this piece at the following link: https://www.buymeacoffee.com/CDeVries26