Interviewer: At what age did you start writing poetry and what inspired you?
Amanda Lee: I started writing poetry at the age of 16 as a creative way for me to journal my thoughts. As a teenager, I was full of angst, and I found writing to be really therapeutic. It was a healthy outlet that allowed me to cope with my chaotic home life, and gave me a sense of control during a time in which I felt like I had little stability.
What three poets or writers have influenced you the most and why?
The first poet whom I truly felt inspired by was Kahlil Gibran. I discovered The Prophet, one day, when rummaging through my grandfather’s library, and was awestruck. I’ll admit that I didn’t read much poetry, growing up, however I thoroughly enjoyed anything philosophical, psychological, or simply thought-provoking. Influenced by my grandfather, I also discovered that I was very fond of fantasy, adventure, and science fiction. At a young age, I was introduced to books by authors such as Edgar Rice Burroughs, Damon Knight, H.G. Wells, and Ray Bradbury.
When you think of the word “poetry” what does it conjure in your thoughts and emotions?
Poetry, like any art form, allows for unique perspective, and aides in capturing the essence of humanity. For me, writing poetry is a way to appreciate every aspect of living, from the mundane to the extraordinary. It is a method of celebrating what it is to be human.
What areas of interest inform your poetry?
I am definitely a lover of nature. I often spend my free time walking trails and discovering new parks. This is reflected in my poetry, as I often write about my observations while walking through wooded areas. I find the serenity of being outdoors to be a great time for me to organize my thoughts and reflect upon life.
What do you hope to accomplish or achieve through poetry? Is there an objective?
For me, the objective of writing is just to celebrate living. My poems are all a direct reflection of my personal experiences, and by sharing these experiences, I feel more connected to myself and to others. With this form of self-expression, I feel like I have given myself permission to be transparent, and I am discovering that this kind of honesty allows more room for relatability. I think that the more we embrace our own stories and who we are, the more we can find common ground amongst others, regardless of our backgrounds.
What are your thoughts on the current poetry scene and the place of poetry in our society?
In recent years, a new style of poetry seems to have emerged, particularly through social media platforms such as Instagram. While “Instapoetry” has received criticism from some traditionalists, I think that any new and healthy form of creative expression should be welcomed.
What does the term “poetry in everyday life” mean to you?
To truly appreciate poetry, is to be inspired by ordinary, everyday living. Poetry occurs when we learn to fall in love with the human experience.
why are all the benches shaded?
I took a walk in the park alone
on a day in which I was free to roam
down wooden paths not far from home
where time is still and thoughts are faded
delighted by the warmth of noon day
I sought a spot to sit and stay
but I looked around and to my dismay
thought, “Why are all the benches shaded?”
so I hid away from the sight of the sun
near a jungle gym intended for fun
but the slides were closed, and the swings undone
forgotten grounds that had yet to be reinstated
but the birds still sang, and the families still gathered
and the moms gave chase to toddlers that blathered
as they realized their picnic plans were haphazard
due to lack of help, for the dads were jaded
here I stifled a sigh and picked up my book
as I minded my own in my well-hidden nook
but the wind began blowing and the trees they shook
for their trunks were weary and emaciated
sullen and chilly, I stood with a shiver
and wandered away to walk by the river
soaking in warmth that the sun did deliver
at ease and once again acclimated
Amanda Lee grew up in McDonough, GA, and currently resides in Gainesville, Fl with her fiancěe. She is currently working on her BA in Psychology, and in her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, painting, and walking in nature. When she doesn’t have a pen or a book in her hand, Amanda can usually be found somewhere outdoors. She loves to discover and explore new nature parks, and her fondness for the natural world is often reflected in her poetry. In the near future, she is hoping to publish her first chapbook.