You guys! It’s April! You know what that means? It’s NATIONAL POETRY MONTH! This is especially exciting for me because it means I have an excuse to talk with two of my favorite poets.
If you haven’t heard of Amanda Lovelace, then you have probably been living under a rock. She and her spouse, Cyrus Parker, are poetry’s “it” couple and are taking over bookstores all over the world. Amanda’s debut collection, the princess saves herself in this one, won Goodreads choice award for best poetry of 2016, and she is a USA TODAY and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Cyrus is an incredible poet himself and just released an outstanding debut collection called DROPKICKromance. I am lucky enough to call both of these poets my friends and will forever be thankful to them for introducing me to some of my favorite poetry books!
Cyrus and Amanda were kind enough to make space in their busy schedule to do an interview with me, so let’s jump right in!
Summer: Alright guys, we are super-duper into romance here at Frolic, so can we start out with your favorite romance book… or who your OTP is?
Amanda: I love any romance penned by Christina Lauren, especially Dark Wild Night and Beautiful Player. I’m also a huge fan of Dahlia Adler’s Radleigh University series!
Cyrus: My OTP’s are Luke and Lorelai from Gilmore Girls, Kaz and Inej from Six of Crows but also Nina and Inej from Six of Crows, Rhy and Alucard from A Darker Shade of Magic, and Jessica Jones and Luke Cage from their respective Netflix shows!
Summer: Oh man, I also love all things Christina Lauren and Dahlia Adler! And OMG OMG I am obsessed with Nina and Inej as a couple… speaking of Leigh Bardugo, I know she officiated at your wedding, and you both love her books (me too me too), so let’s play kiss marry kill!
First round: The Darkling, Nina, Jesper
C: Kiss Jesper, marry Nina, kill The Darkling
Summer: The second round is Mal, Kaz, Alina.
C: Kiss Alina, marry Kaz, kill Mal
A: Same again.
Third round: Matthias, Nikolai, Inej.
C: Kiss Nikolai, marry Inej, kill Matthias (poor guy can’t catch a break, can he?)
A: Not to be redundant, but… same. (Justice for Matthias!)
Summer: Alright, not surprising that you had the same answers on all of those EVEN THOUGH I TRIED TO STUMP YOU!!! *Sigh* I know you are both incredibly busy, but do you have a favorite show to binge during your down time?
C: The last show we binged watched together was the second season of Jessica Jones, which was absolutely amazing. The show is not only aesthetic goals for me, but also life goals.
A: Yes, season two of Jessica Jones was incredible! I’m also watching Outlander, hoping to get caught up on everything I missed! I’m madly in love with Scotland and all things witchy, so I can never get enough. But most of the time, I’m watching YouTube channels. Some of my favorite creators are LoeyLane, Kendall Rae, Harmony Nice, LearningToBeFearless, Safiya Nygaard and Hailey Reese.
Summer: Oh man, I am SO behind on all of those shows. I need to catch up on Jessica Jones and I should DEFINITELY start watching Outlander, but I can never seem to find the time. Maybe I’ll drink coffee and stay up all night to catch up. Speaking of Coffee, WITHOUT CHEATING can you tell me how each other takes theirs?
C: Cream and four Sweet’n Lows. And if we’re at Dunkin’, the same plus the Coconut Caramel Girl Scout Cookies flavor!
A: The same – cream and four packets of Sweet’N Low!
Summer: I guess it’s true what they say, the couple that drinks (coffee) together, stays together, LOL. Okay, now let’s get down to the poetry. Amanda, can you tell me what your favorite poem of Cyrus’ is? What about you, Cyrus?
A: My favorite poem of Cyrus’s is a small but mighty piece titled “ours will always be my favorite” which reads “let’s build bookshelves together and fill them with our story.” It’s such a simple yet perfect way to encapsulate our shared loved of reading and storytelling, the very foundation of our relationship since the beginning. Now, our love story gets to sit on shelves beside our favorite novels with our favorite fictional couples.
C: “- even when everything else fades.” from the princess saves herself in this one is one of my top favs. I have a tattoo idea I’d like to get one day that is inspired by that poem! I also love “- millennials.” from princess, which Amanda refuses to read at events now because I always laugh out loud when she does. There’s a story that goes along with that, so @ me on twitter if you wanna hear it.
Summer: Excuse me while I cry. I love both of those poems so much. Particularly the one that Cyrus wrote. I have that one dog eared, underlined, AND highlighted in my copy of DROPKICKromance. Which brings me to my next question: I have read and loved all of your published books, and the thing that I always think while reading is “This is so incredibly personal. How do they share the darkest parts of their soul with the whole world?” Do you think sharing your most intimate experiences is the hardest part of being a published poet? If not, what is?
C: Sharing my most intimate experiences is actually one of the easiest parts for me. I’ve always been someone who internalizes everything. Talking about my feelings is something that I’ve never really been able to do, so having this outlet now, being able to finally lay it all out on paper and put it out in the world is so very freeing. The hardest part is finding the right words to convey what I want to say. I don’t want to call it writer’s block because I feel like that’s a cop-out, but I do spend an awful lot of time staring at a blank page!
A: I agree with Cyrus. Writing down the raw feelings themselves is easy; finding a way to dress them up as poetry is the most difficult part. Sharing my story has never bothered me, either, because it’s incredibly therapeutic to be reminded that I’m not the only one who’s had to endure certain life struggles, and, in turn, it’s also therapeutic for my readers. The equal give and take is what makes it all worth it to me.
Summer: Wow. I never thought of how therapeutic and freeing it could be to write about your experiences. Both of your collections have helped me immensely so thank you for sharing your struggles and for allowing me to feel a little less alone.
You guys are basically a poetry power couple, does that ever become stressful? What do you do to keep life as easy as possible?
A: Being a couple in the public eye is never easy, especially when you’ve put some of your most intimate moments out there for the world to read. That means we’re constantly getting other people’s opinions projected onto us, sometimes in the form of unrealistic expectations for their own romantic relationships, failing to realize that we choose what people see of our marriage. Every relationship is more than it is on the page — the good, the bad and the in-between!
We always take quality time together away from everything to just be. Sometimes that involves sushi and Netflix. Even better, pizza and HGTV.
C: I definitely have a lot on my plate these days, and it can become stressful at times, but I’m quite literally living a dream right now, and I wouldn’t change even a second of it. Keeping life as easy as possible for me is about knowing when I need to slow down and take time for myself. Some days it means simply stepping back a bit from social media, and other days it means ordering a ton of sushi and binge watching television.
Summer: One of my favorite things about you two is how often you promote other poets. You are very supportive of your community so can you share your current favorite poets? Who should we be checking out?
C: I’ve just finished reading the new and improved Honeybee by Trista Mateer, which was originally self-published, but has since been revised and expanded upon and is being released with Central Avenue Publishing on May 1st. This is a brave collection of confessional poetry that deals with topics such love, heartbreak, and sexuality, in a way that only Trista can and needs to be in everyone’s preorder cart right now.
Another poet that I feel like everyone should be checking out is Gretchen Gomez. Gretchen is a poet who I think is highly underrated and I am honestly shocked that a publisher hasn’t come in and snatched her up yet. Her debut poetry collection love, & you deals primarily with the events of a toxic relationship, along with its aftermath, and provide some advice on how to pick up the pieces after someone leaves you a wreck. Gretchen also touches on other important topics, such as mental illness, and does all of this while weaving her Puerto Rican culture throughout the pages. Her next collection, welcome to ghost town, is slated for an October release!
Honestly, I can talk about my favorites for days, so for the sake of brevity, I’m gonna name drop some of other favs here: Anne Chivon, Caitlyn Seihl, Nikita Gill, K.Y. Robinson, Iain S. Thomas, Tyler Kent White, Morgan Nikola-Wren, Terrance Hayes, JUST TO NAME A FEW.
A: Welp, Cyrus just about covered them all since he has the same taste in poetry as I do.
I do want to add three more names to a list that could potentially go on for days. Nicole Tone, who recently released a wonderful little book of poetry called Secrets of the High Priestess. Sophia Elaine Hanson, who penned the collections hummingbird as well as soul like thunder, two of my all-time heartbreaking favorites. Lastly, Yena Sharma Purmasir, author of Until I Learned What It Meant, When I’m Not There, and [Dis]Connected, the last of which is a poetry/short story anthology we appear in together and will be released on October 1st from Central Avenue Publishing.
Summer: Somehow I knew that would be the longest answers that you both would give! *adds ALL THE BOOKS to my ever growing TBR* Speaking of adding books to my to be read pile, what can I expect from you guys in the future? Can you share snippets of your current WIPs?
C: I am working on a follow-up to DROPKICKromance. While DROPKICKromance focused primarily on my romantic relationships, DROPKICK2 focuses more on my relationship with myself, and how I identify with both myself and the world around me. I’ve also recently come out as non-binary, so I will absolutely be touching on that aspect in DROPKICK2, as well. There will still be some romance in DROPKICK2 because my relationships have definitely impacted who I am as a person, but it won’t be the main focus. DROPKICK2 is still in the early stages so I don’t have much to share, but here’s a snippet of a poem from the current draft:
whatever happened to the one
who raced from dawn ‘til dusk,
waving in the wind on wings of wax
to wrap their fingertips around the sun,
yet cowered from the glow of street lights?
the one who decided even the sun wasn’t enough,
and pocketed entire galaxies instead?
A: Next up on bookshelves will be to make monsters out of girls, book one in the “things that h(a)unt” poetry series. It’s about an abusive relationship and its aftermath, and it’s also my first book with inside illustrations, done by the talented Munise Sertel, who also did illustrations for both of Sophia Elaine Hanson’s poetry books. Look out for monsters on September 18th, 2018!
“i would be lying if i ever said you served no greater purpose in the book of my life. there is at least one good deed that i can attribute to you. it was only after you left me stranded & i found myself still breathing that i knew i could withstand everything that came after you—even the tempest that rattled the hinges on all the doors & blew all the shutters off & split every tree around me in half. she was nothing in comparison to you.” – stronger than all the storms.
What I’m working on now is the third and final book in the “women are some kind of magic” poetry series titled the mermaid’s voice returns in this one, which is due out in March 2019. I don’t want to reveal much about it just yet, but I will include a snippet that premiered on my Instagram in honor of International Mermaid Day.
An homage to C.S. Lewis’s “The Chronicles of Narnia”:
“if you want to put on your very best dancing shoes, then do it. if you want to zip yourself into your golden apple ballgown, then do it. if you want to paint your face while you dream of all the cupid-shaped smudges you’ll leave on mirrors for passerby to collect on their lips, then do it. you can do it all & still save yourself & the world for good measure. there’s nothing stopping you from being both gentle & valiant, just & magnificent, or any combination you should ever long for. the reason they tell us we cannot have it all is because they fear we will become even more dangerous than we are, & we are already such forces to be reckoned with.” – open up the wardrobe & step inside.
Summer: TINGLES. I AM TINGLY. The poem that you shared, Cyrus, is INCREDIBLE. I am seriously looking forward to Dropkick2… is it too early to preorder?! Thank you both so much for talking with me today. I can’t wait for the world to get their hands on all of your exciting upcoming projects!
C: Thanks for taking the time to talk with us!
A: Thanks for the interesting questions!
Summer: No Problem!
Will any of you be picking up their collections? Have you already read them? What did you think? Let me know on Instagram!