Louise E. Rule interviews Bobbie Coelho for The Review's Author Interview
Bobbie Coelho has written a beautiful poetry book called Finding the Light. When you open the book the first thing that you read is her short biography:
"My wish is that when people read this book, it will make them think a little more and reflect on their journey."
Welcome to The Review's Author Interview Bobbie.
You say on your Amazon Author's Page that writing poetry has saved you from negative thoughts and that you feel that, in these difficult times it could be a route for others too. Would you like to tell the readers why writing poetry has saved you from negative thoughts?
I found that poetry helped me to put words to my feelings; not only that, but I could use the poems to hopefully give people a way of empathising with me. Parkinson's Disease is very misunderstood, poetry has also helped me explain what it is like.
On your Goodreads Page you say that your favourite poem from Finding the Light is The Essence of Me. It is an extremely profound poem Bobbie, If I may quote a small portion:
[M]y spirit could last evermore
But my body is not playing - you know the score
Many a person has written me off
But no one can make me sto[p]
All your poems seem to have a statement or message regarding determination of some kind. Would you agree with this?
I think a lot of them strike a chord with some people; it makes them think. Most of my poems have a story behind them, but the main message is; it is always later than you think. Don't put off doing things - do them now. Enjoy life, every day is a blessing.
You also say, Bobbie, that the poem you are most proud of is What is a Soldier to Me? Of which this is a small excerpt:
[W]e mark our loss with the poppy flower
Every November, but I still feel the power
Of the truest saying from Shakespear's pen
A Band of Brothers - the greatest of Men.
Please tell the readers why it is your favourite poem?
The poem came as a result of a competition I ran when working as an Army library assistant. The title of the competition was "What is a soldier to me?" I wrote my poem after much consideration and the Army's love of history. I thought the men today are of the same stock as those who fought at Agincourt, Flanders, and Normandy, etc.
I saw this poem as the only way I could say thank you to the forces who protect us. I am also saying that I understand their close ties of 'brotherhood' and the sacrifice they make.
Do you have a special time of day and a special place where you like to write Bobbie?
I don't have a special time of day, but I do like to compose on my computer. The words seem to flow smoothly.
You say on the back cover of your book, Finding the Light, that you have always had an interest in poetry. Would you like to tell the readers which poets have made an impact on you?
The very first poet who had an influence on me was William Blake. I always like The Tyger, when reciting it, you can hear the padding of the tiger. Similarly with The Lamb. Then followed John Masefield, because I liked Sea Fever. But my favourite was always Not Waving, but Drowning, by Stevie Smith, because that seemed to describe me in my life.
Would you like to tell the readers a bit more about the poem, Bobbie? Why you thought it seemed to describe you in your life?
The reason for that is that I've always felt I don't fit in anywhere: maybe I connect with people through my writing rather than in a social sense. I find it difficult to make small talk, which I feel are the waves of society and against which I can't reach across. It leads to a feeling of being in too deep and being unable to cope.
I also like Gillian Clarke. When I first read Miracle on St. David's Day it made me cry - and still does.
Poetry has a long history, almost as old as time, being originally recited or sung. it can be a way of saying something that would otherwise be difficult in the telling. How difficult was it for you writing your poems?
It has never been difficult, but two poems in particular, being Freak and White Flowers would not leave me alone until I had written them. The words kept going through my brain.
I think of poetry as potted emotion and feeling. After a particularly bad incident in the town where I live, (a group of people were pointing at me and whispering). I hurried home with tears in my eyes, and two lines going through my brain;
how long does it take to realise you're a freak?
It was the first time I realised that I was now different.
The lines of this poem are a bit shocking: I don't think I could put that in a book so shockingly and make people sit up as I have done here.
Similarly, White Flowers: the background to this is the Beslan School Siege. This happened at roughly the same time as the Tsunami in Thailand, but strangely the school siege affected me more. I saw a picture on the news of a man rocking, crying over the coffin of his daughter. It made me think of the things he has been robbed of; seeing her grow, her wedding, etc., but most of all, he's bean robbed of hope for the future and that is the cruellest thing that could happen to a parent. I could not have expressed this in any other format with such feeling. The rhythm of the poem emphasised the bullets as the children were shot.....
Having read Finding the Light, I would like to say that it has certainly made me reflect on some of my life. I would like to thank you very much for joining me on this interview Bobbie, and thank you for your candour.
Bobbie Coehlo's book Finding the Light can be found on amazon.co.uk
Bobbie can be found on Facebook here
Louise E. Rule is author of Future Confronted
Louise can be found on Facebook here