About the Author:
Cairenn Rhys, Spiritual Author & Poet, has been writing poetry for 30 years.
She began her formal spiritual studies in 1999 at the Assn. of Research and Enlightenment (Edgar Cayce Foundation), and earned a Masters of Arts in Applied Spirituality/Transpersonal Studies at Atlantic University. She is an Animal Reiki Practitioner in private practice.
Her other creative pursuits included painting, photography and graphic design. She enjoys hiking, walking and yoga.
Donations received through her website benefit numerous animal shelters & wildlife conservation organizations.
MF: You write epic, confessional and spiritual poetry. What made you choose these genres?
CR: After studying the work of Plath, I ventured into writing Confessional poetry. I like the rawness of darker work and some of my “darker” writings have been the most popular among my readers, I believe because it is that raw humanity that everyone can relate to at different stages in their life. Spiritual poetry – it started as channeling (automatic writing) many years ago. Most of my free verse today is channeled (in the esoteric, metaphysical sense). I have few epic poems – not shared as yet. It is such a challenging form of poetry, to follow the standard as set forth by Homer and others.
MF: What is your favorite form of poetry? Why?
CR: As a writer, structured free verse is my forte. As a reader, I prefer anything that evokes the six senses, where the poet has an expanded view of the world and can see the beauty in the tiniest of subjects. That is what holds my interest and teaches. I love when a poet has an incredible vocabulary. I am not a fan of poesy (artificial or sentimentalized poetic writing), or anything that drips to excess emotive words or phrases. I refer to it as “sing-songy”, like that of a strolling minstrel. I know poets out there know what I’m talking about! We work hard to avoid it.
MF: Your 4th book of poetry, “Upon Higher Ground” is to be released this summer. Tell us a bit about what we can expect within its pages.
CR: “Upon Higher Ground” starts from a point where I landed after taking the first leap into publishing my writing. It is softer, lighter and written through new eyes and a renewed Spirit after the trials and tribulations during the writing of “Warrior”. It includes more traditional structured poetic forms, which is a departure from my usual free verse. The poetry within speaks about rising above the obstacles along the spiritual path, getting to “higher ground”, seeing life fresh again, with a new heart and new perspective. It will coincide with another book called “Luminous” by Synclectic Media that is including some of my poetry with a friend’s photography. We’re very excited about collaborating on this project. I have a busy summer ahead! Then, I will be participating for the first time on NaNoWriMo in November. This year has been amazing for me as a poet. I’m so blessed for the connections I’ve made thus far. Yourself included, Missy. Thank you so very much for giving me this opportunity!
MF: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as a poet? What has been the best compliment?
CR: I was told once by someone (another writer, unpublished) that I was not “confident as a writer” and that he was my “greatest competition”. Definitely a bit of his ego showed up in that statement, but I did not take offense to it. He was only right about my confidence not being up to par. I was just starting to write again after many years away, so it was a great wake up. It was just the impetus I needed to push through to fulfill my goals as a writer and poet. Soon after, I received the most wonderful comment when a reviewer compared my writing to that of Khalil Gibran, one of my own influences. That review is something that I will always keep close as a reminder of overcoming obstacles and strong opposition in life, and as a writer. The other guy has since disappeared from his own writing completely.
MF: One of your poems will be featured in the Forward to an upcoming Australian author’s novel. How did this come about?
CR: He saw my post on Facebook, followed the link to my blog and decided then and there that he wanted me to write a poem for his book! I was prepared to submit three original pieces to him, but my mind went to a poem I had written last year called “The Ancients”. I thought it might be the one. I shared it with him, he agreed that it was “the one” and he added it to the manuscript immediately. It’s an African fable, told in a series of Young Adult novels called the “The Roads Of Luhonono” My poem is in the first of the series and will be released this year.
MF: What do you think poets such as C.J. Dennis, Louisa Lawson, Anna Akhmatova and Rudyard Kipling would say about your poetry?
CR: Such an interesting blend of poets in that list! Let’s take the Aussies first: Dennis was wonderful at having that expanded vision I spoke of earlier that I prefer in other poets. Although he was a humorist, I believe he might have appreciated that shared affinity for going beyond the normal sight. Louisa Lawson was the mother of a poet (Henry Lawson) and a feminist publisher. She was amazing poet in her own right. I think she would like the boldness and fearlessness I sometimes exhibit in the written word as a woman. Akhmatova – she was a Russian spiritual warrior, to me. She used her poet’s voice as a sword to defend those that she had lost in so many battles. I believe she would recognize my strengths through my poetry in a “kindred-spirit” way. Lastly, Kipling. The Jungle Book. I laugh at this because I refused to read it in school and took the failing grade because I had no interest at all in it. I still have not read it. And yet, my work with animals and wildlife is very much at the core of who I am, outside of being a writer. I believe he would probably convince me to read his book, and would appreciate the other work I do. He loved the outdoors and we would have much to talk about regarding spirituality, poetry and animals.
MF: What do you read? What do you re-read?
CR: I have always loved Emerson, and his work was one of my earliest influences when I was younger. Then, a couple of years ago, through the intense genealogy research by a cousin of mine, it was discovered that Emerson is my 5th cousin 5x removed on the paternal side of family. I always return and reference his poetry, lectures and essays. Now I read whatever I can find that tells of his personal life. I have always felt deeply connected to him and his work than any other writer I’ve ever read. I wish I could have truly known him, and travelled with him when he lectured. I read and re-read Gibran, Angelou, Muir, Hemingway. Many are unaware of the poetry of Leonard Nimoy (yes Spock!), some the most beautiful love poetry I’ve read and one of the first that influenced me to write. Jim Morrison is also a favorite. He was visionary in so many ways, and his writing has been shamefully lost in the background. My books on spirituality and metaphysics are numerous and are teachings I will reference for life. AnimalSpeak by Ted Andrews is sacred text to me.
MF: What is your favorite writing tip or quote?
CR: Write every day. Always keep pen and paper close for those blinding flashes of inspiration and write them down, even if it’s just one word. That is muse whispering in your ear.
MF: Do you have any advice for other poets?
CR: The pieces you write that you think aren’t good enough are most likely the pieces people will praise the most. Write from the heart, always. Learn traditional poetic forms – it honors those that came before you, those that set the standard in writing. Learn the rules well, first, then change them up. It will make you a better poet and helps you discover your own voice.
MF: What is your favorite line of poetry?
CR: It is the entire poem by Emerson, “Brahma”, but especially the line: “They know not well the subtle ways I keep, and pass, and turn again.”
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