Happy Valentines Day from everyone here at the Phoenix Remix. To make your day of love that little bit special we have sat down with a poet to talk all about writing and how to express your feelings on paper. So if you’re stuck for gifts this Valentines Day, then this may be a good read for you!
I sat down with poet Sam Sumner, a 27 year old actor and writer from Berkshire who in his spare time produces poetry. He has his own social media pages called Sumnerds Words were he posts his written melodies that branch out to an array of subjects.
Hello Sam! how did you get into poetry and what was the first one you wrote and what was it about?
My father has always written and is a very talented poet. (He should really get his work published) It was a combination of his influence and a teacher of mine called Ms Bowker who pushed me to write my feelings down. Poetry for me was a way to express myself when I struggled to be clear with my emotions when growing up…I guess I still am, so that is still very true for me. I got in to poetry in my early teens and my first real poems were in a very cliché way love poems. My first poem I can remember was an ode to my first 20 year old dog Shamus who died when I was 12. ‘The Everlasting Dog’.
“Simple and clear is better than big words and lost meaning.” – Sam Sumner, Poet
What inspires you to write a poem?
Passion. Whenever I am inspired to write a poem, it is either because someone has said or done something that has made me click. Whether it’s anger, happiness, love, woe or simply awe. Also other writers…songs…films…a beautiful skyline. It really does vary.
What is the writing process in writing a poem, explain it to us.
Well that’s rather different for everyone, for me personally I have a rather different brain to most people. I am dyspraxic, which means the way I see or do things is rather distinct. When I see, touch, smell, say or hear something it causes a chain reaction of images in my head like an old cinema projector. A bit like a grenade exploding…all the shrapnel flies off in different directions…each piece a different thought process. My way of put the pieces back together is to use imagery and rhymes to forge something better.
What is your favourite poem you have written and why?
Also a hard question… I would say it’s a close call between two. The first being ‘Devotion’ a recent poem I wrote especially for my best friends wedding, which was my expression of how I saw marriage and and how I admired the loving couple. I wish to emulate what they have, should I ever choose to marry. The other is many years old, but stays with me even now ‘Little Ghost’. Without going to much into it, it explores the pangs of regret and grief of losing a child. I think its the most human piece I’ve written. Saying that, the darker ones always stick the most I guess.
For anyone who wants to write a poem for their loved one this Valentines Day, what would you recommend and how would they go about it?
Be honest with yourself about what you feel. Don’t over-embellish. Don’t try to be too flowery or gushing. Speak true and from the heart. Saying that…don’t be scared to be bold. If you feel it, sing it like an opera. Don’t be too scared of rhyming schemes or trying to sound too clever. Simple and clear is better than big words and lost meaning.
Why do you enjoy writing poetry?
I find writing very cathartic. When I write, I see other worlds in my head. Writing and reading have always done that for me…I am massive mythology fan, Classical Greek in particular. It is also my main artistic vent when I’m not acting…I love to find beautiful art and photography to blend my words with, instagram and tumblr have some amazing artists. A fair few of which I am friends with. I also relish affecting people and making them feel…this is also very true as to why I love acting. If they react to my work then I feel like I have achieved something.
Are there any themes in your poetry that you want to explore that you havent before and if so what are they and why?
I like to think I explore whatever is on my mind at the time…I’ve benefited from doing so. Over the years I’ve written about love and break ups (a lot haha), family, friends, death, birth and the afterlife. Really I’d like to start writing more in a storytelling manner. It’s something I’m working towards with theatre and short film projects this year.
Are there any plans for you to publish your poems in the near future?
In the near future…I’m not sure. I would love to compile a book of all words as Sumnerd’s Words.
Which of your poems that you release on social media tend to have very artistic pictures posted along side them – how do you decide a picture to go alongside your work?
I’m usually browsing and my eye just catches something stunning or visually symbolic. Sometimes I’m asked and other times I’m a big fan and really just want to show my affection for their work by sharing it alongside my words. The most successful thus far has been with two good friends Demi Cavey and Danny Richardson who are a Jersey based model and photographer.I wrote a stanza for a piece they shot and it was liked over 8000 times on BerlinArtsParasites.
What are your plans for your poetry in the next year?
I am releasing a greeting card line soon…but that’s something that’s still being worked on. That and continuing to share my work ad hoc as I do.
“I love to find beautiful art and photography to blend my words with…” – Sam Sumner, Poet
Anything else you want to tell our readers?
If anyone wants to collaborate, feel free to ask My favourite Spanish words ‘El riesgo siempre vive’. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, to create art or to live…you only get so many chances
If people want to follow Sams work then head over to Instagram @Thesamsumner and the hashtag #sumnerdswords is best.