Behind the Poems: Award-winning Poet & Writer Andrea Barbosa

In the Spider Road Press family, we have writers from across the expansive and diverse genre universe. With April being National Poetry Month, we decided it only fitting to shine the light on one of our incredible SRP poets for this month’s blog post. Without further ado, let me introduce Houston-based, award-winning author and poet, Andrea Barbosa–who graciously took some time out of her busy schedule, to answer some of my questions about her poetry work and her life as a writer. Thank you, Andrea. Readers enjoy!

Andrea Barbosa

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Jody T. Morse: Andrea, being National Poetry Month, could you enlighten us as to what it is about the form of poetry that moves you?

Andrea Barbosa: When I teach my workshop “Publishing Poetry as an Indie”, I define poetry as being often a medium one uses to evoke feelings; poetry is emotional, creative and free-floating and it’s used to express something that cannot be easily expressed in logical, precise and analytical forms. Poetry is a powerful form of self-expression. Putting words on paper can help you make sense of the world around you, express your deepest emotions, and give you a healthy way to cope with whatever is on your mind. That’s what moves me about poetry: that we can express deep feelings in a few words without being descriptive and they’re so open for interpretation.

JTM: I couldn’t agree more. This next question may be trite and a bit overdone, but what are some of your favorite poems? And for a fun twist, is it possible for you to articulate exactly what about these poetic works you respond or react to?  

AB: As Sylvia Plath is one of my favorite poets, I’ll use her poetry as an example. Mad Girl’s Love Song has absolutely wonderful first verses:

 I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead;

 I lift my lids and all is born again.

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

I enjoy the dark, depressive mood hidden in her precise words, making it so enigmatic and at the same time evoking a sense of sadness, melancholy.

Another one of my favorite poets is Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa. In his poem  “I Know, I Alone”, you experience his loneliness and feel his pain. The use of the words is fantastic, and this is what I react to; when I can visualize what the poet is trying to convey and feel it deep inside.

I know, I alone

How much it hurts, this heart

With no faith nor law

Nor melody nor thought.

There are lots of emerging new poets and I enjoy reading some of the great Indies out there as well.

JTM: We’re huge fans of Plath and Pessoa around here too. Thanks for bringing them up and adding their words to this post. What are a few of your go-to themes or settings to write about? And any idea why these appeal to you?

AB: I like to read (and write) pieces that are thought-provoking, that give you food for thought and make you wonder about life and what-ifs. And being a fan of literary fiction, I think this hugely influences my poetry as well. Deep feelings, sorrow, fear, all sort of emotions that sometimes one doesn’t know how to express except by writing in an enigmatic, sort of ambiguous, and poetic way.  Dark themes are my favorite. Troubled emotions, I should say.

JTM: In your collection, Holes in Space, you wrote about cities where you’ve lived—like Rio de Janeiro. Was there something particular about the cities themselves that inspired these poems or more the events and people there?

AB: For Rio de Janeiro, it’s mostly the contrast between the classes that is so prevalent in the city. You have the statue of Christ the Redeemer on top of the highest mountain overlooking and blessing the whole city and down below you have a war of the classes, the poverty clashing with the opulence. This is what inspired me to write about Rio.

JTM: …an eternal prisoner of your embracing castle. I have to say that “Magic Castle”, the poem these words come from, is one of the poems from your collection (and our In The Questions poetry anthology) that sucked me in and still clings to my heart. How does your romance novel writing influence your poetry and vice versa? Do the genre waters muddy? And is that a beneficial thing for you or a hurdle?

AB: I started writing poetry way before I started writing romance. The poems from the “Emotional Collection” in my book Holes in Space were written almost 20 years before I ventured into the romance novel genre. Writing poems and novels for me are two very different genres. When I’m writing a romance novel or short story, the focus is on the character’s feelings, their actions, and descriptions. When I’m writing a love poem, the feelings come from within me, and they’re usually the result of personal experiences much more than fiction. In the poem, I have to express what I’m feeling in a few words. In a novel, the characters have room to grow their feelings.

JTM: As a fellow poet and novelist, I couldn’t agree more with your last two statements. For up and coming poets—what’s one piece of wisdom, grace, or acceptance that you would love to share with them, be it practical, whimsical, or somewhere in between?

AB: As William Wordsworth said, “Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” Write with emotion, write what you want. Submit, submit, submit your poems and don’t worry about rejection – it’s a subjective opinion.

JTM: I love that you brought not only Wordsworth up but that specific quote. I wear it on a pendant around my neck almost every time I write. Last question, an easy one. What is on the poetic horizon for Andrea Barbosa?

AB: Since I’m currently involved in finishing my romance trilogy (second book coming up in May and working on the third), I haven’t had much time to write poetry. I have a few poems that I’ll be submitting and hopefully will write more to be able publish a second poetry book. And during the month of April, Holes in Space – A Poetry Collection is on sale for $0.99 on Kindle.

Well, I think we need to wrap this blog post up so that I can snag the Kindle version of your book to complement my print copy. Huge gratitude to Andrea for doing this interview. For more information about her and the “breathings of her heart”, she has a blog site, her Twitter handle is @andyb0810 and click here to visit her Amazon author page

Holes in Space and In the Questions pic

After you check out Andrea’s books, head on over to the SRP Bookstore and consider purchasing your copy of our poetry collection In The Questions: Poetry by and about Strong Women – featuring Andrea’s work. On behalf of Spider Road Press, thanks for being a supporter of small presses, female writers, and poets.  

Jody T. Morse is an editorial consultant and office manager for SRP, as well as, serving as a blog contributor, events staff member, and general right hand to Patricia Flaherty Pagan. For more about her writing, visit one of her two Amazon author pages: Jody T. Morse and T. Haven Morse.  

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