Anie Hart’s Advice to New, Aspiring Poets

This week’s li Voices column is going to be a little different from the rest. Enter: Anie Hart.

Anyone else ever have the feeling of intense admiration and sentiment for words? Not just poetry, but written words in general. We sure have, and we have someone we can relate to.

Anie Hart started writing poetry in 2014. She shares her journey as a poet and general literature lover on her website aniehart.com. Today she shares the way she navigates through the poetry world while maintaining that passion for literature, what it’s like maintaining a website, and advice for new poets. Hart inspires us to challenge ourselves and delve into other worlds of the magical written word.

little infinite: You started writing in 2014. Have you always had a passion for writing, or was it poetry first? How did your love for poetry come about?

Anie Hart: I always loved the written word, stories told of lives lived and things experienced. It can be through poetry, songs, speeches, stories, -anything really. It’s how I feel connected to the world and how I learn. With every language or subject I studied, I learned through lyrics or poetry. Especially languages. I would sit and translate lyrics; it’s how I learned English, Spanish, Tagalog, Swedish and Danish. 

li: Writing poetry and sharing poetry are two very different things. What drew you to share your poetry on social media?

AH: I started writing down the things I was feeling and I created my account with a secret e-mail and a pseudonym so that nobody would know it was me.  It was an escape, a safe space where I could share any thought or feeling without judgement. All my early posts were all poetry or feelings, then I slowly started posting pictures. I studied photography, and sometimes the feeling I have for a picture can’t be translated. I grew my confidence over time and eventually felt comfortable “coming out”… It’s been all positive, some don’t “get” it. But it’s OK. It’s not for them to get.

I don’t ask people to follow me, or want my friends to follow me just for the follow. To me, it’s more important to cultivate a community where I feel safe to share and talk to people that are like-minded. 

“…Some don’t «get» it. But it’s ok. It’s not for them to get. I don’t ask people to follow me, or want my friends to follow me just for the follow. To me, it’s more important to cultivate a community where I feel safe to share and talk to people that are like-minded.” 

– Anie Hart

li: You share a lot on your website, aniehart.com, about both poetry and literature. What motivated you to publish articles like book reviews, reading lists, and opinion pieces on a website vs. solely being active on social media? 

AH: I think that everything I do is just to sort out who I am, what I am feeling, what I’m observing and trying to make sense of everything. Through reading, writing, taking pictures or stating my opinion. Trying to carve out my space in this world and collect the things I care about. I created my blog because I needed a space without limits, I’m free to post longer pieces, go on rants, publish series of photographs. I also fully live by the saying, “If you are looking for something and you can’t find it, it is up to you to create it!”

li: What is the most surprising aspect of poetry you have come to terms with since learning and writing more?

AH: It often surprises me the different meaning that people can put into the same thing. How we interpret things can be polar opposite! I’ll have someone read romance into a poem about a friend dying or read sadness into something hopeful. I try to not comment too much when people have opinions, but I enjoy reading them. I just don’t want my words to be limited or supply an «answer» to what things mean – it means whatever you want it to mean. Also the more I learn, the more there is to learn! Haha I am not a technical writer per se, I just go with the feeling….

li: When you’re working through your creative writing process, which step is the most crucial for you? What do you do to beat writer’s block?

AH: A writing process is always different to me! Sometimes I’ll see something or feel something and a poem can just fall into my head and I write it down immediately. Other times I can sit and google, “What rhymes with wind?” Or something like that.

I love rhymes and half-rhymes! Sometimes I can try and create a piece from two words I like that sound like a good rhyme. Sometimes I write with a melody in mind, but I’ve never actually written any songs. When it comes to writer’s block I allow myself to take breaks. I don’t think you’ll find inspiration by sitting and staring at the words. I’ll listen to music, watch a movie, and maybe try to invoke a feeling. I’ve also tried free writing and I’ve found that helpful sometimes. 

li: What type of poetry do you like writing most? Is there a certain type of poem you enjoy writing more than others? Is there a certain type you like writing the least?

AH: I ONLY write because I enjoy it, so if there’s something that’s annoying me or a poem I can’t seem to connect to or finish, I leave it. Sometimes I pick it up again later and it works itself out, other times I have to abandon it completely. I prefer writing in rhymes, but I also love storytelling through very short or longer stories. Pieces that take you full circle around something are my favorite, both reading and writing. I mean, if you don’t like what you’re doing, then why should anyone else like it?

li: If you had to give a recommendation to the li community, what are your top three favorite poetry books/collections? What about your current three favorite books in general?

AH: My favorite poetry books or poets are Maya Angelou, Rupi Kaur and, can I say Taylor Swift? She writes poetry and I find her lyrics great! She’s a great storyteller.

When it comes to books I like the ones that hit me with something deeper than just a predictable story. I like books that inspire you to think and lets you go in many different directions. My favorite are: The Stranger” by Albert Camus, “The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt and The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.

li: What artists/writers influence your work most? Why do you draw inspiration from them specifically?

AH: I love visiting museums and exploring many different types of art. I can be inspired by anything! I love BTS (the Korean boyband) they mix Korean lyrics with English, they incorporate poetry, and the translations are always so interesting. The Korean language seems to me to be a lot deeper than what I am used to. They use words differently and I love looking into those meanings.

Visually they also do very artistic and stunning work, and sometimes I find it so inspiring to listen and watch something I can’t understand. It allows me to read what I want into it and create my own meaning. This projection can often say something about things I didn’t know I was feeling. This year I’ve been reading more world literature, and it’s been very inspiring to read from different cultures than my own. 

li: You’re also a photographer. Do you think your creative profession affects your writing or poetry? If so, how?

AH: I started a project a while back with photography and words. It’s inspired by the saying, “A picture says more than a thousand words.” I would spend a thousand words telling you everything that you could not see from the picture.

It never came to anything and I abandoned it pretty quickly. But I think as a creative person all the mediums that I express myself in are fluid and they blend into each other. It’s hard to say where one begins and the other ends. In the end, it all affects me, and so my work, whatever it is, will always be affected by it.

li: If you could give one tip to someone who is interested in writing poetry but doesn’t know where to begin, what would it be?

AH: When it comes to writing in general, there are no rules so just go for it. And do it your way – whatever you like that feels good to you! But I will say this: the more you write, the more you read, the better you will get! So read a lot! Write a lot! And don’t stop.

To keep up with Hart, follow her on Instagram (@aniehart) or check out her website here: aniehart.com.