Interview with Anca Mihaela Bruma
You use many grammatical images and figures of speech in your poems. How does this relate to what you are trying to convey to the reader?
I do not respect rules of grammar the way an acrobat respects the tightrope!. In fact I love to give a total new meaning. Poetry is attractive to writers who are especially creative, rebellious, and enjoy coloring outside the lines. Spelling, punctuation and use of grammar, are nothing more than a creative tool for me. I choose to dismiss the rules altogether or use the them to decorate and add aesthetic elements to a poem. Toying with grammar rules is one such device, but it is not something that can be approached carelessly… It is true for all types of writing: learn the rules, and only after you have learned them, go ahead and break them! I will salute anyone who is able to break the rules in the interest of ART and great poetry writing just as much as I admire poets who craft meter and verse within the confines of grammar. So for this language-loving poet, either way is the right way. Walk the tight rope or jump from it and see if you can fly. Now, why use of so many grammatical images as figures of speech? One reason, it is impact of my own education; second, grammar by its nature is very near Mathematics, use of them as part of speech creates a specific rhythm.
What is your main inspiration and the message?
The message is: find YOURSELF! KNOW yourself! With and within all your aspects and manifestations of your own Being! The inspiration: the hidden meanings about Life and Love and I use this form of expression for creating picturesque views about these major themes, transforming the way we think about our own selves.
Do you think your writings are related to the music of the spheres?
Through my writings I try to respond and give VOICE to certain metaphysical visions and the Reality I try to reflect. When the forms of my expression change radically, it is always because the underlying metaphysical grasp of Reality has changed as well. Music is, in a way, the sound of metaphysics, or metaphysics in sound. When engaged in creating the work, artists usually falls into a MEDITATIVE trance, becoming saturated with a pure, non- material energy, untouched by human desires. Socrates believed for example, that ‘beautiful poems are not human, not even from human beings, but are divine and are from gods, and poets are nothing but representatives of the gods, possessed by whoever possesses them’.
How does the spiritual dimension of reality infuse your works? Do you see spirituality as primarily inner, unrelated to the “objective” world, or an intertwining always taking place, sort of incarnational?
All artists, painters, fashion designers, writers etc will be able to tell you their “creations” are reflections or manifestations of “another” world. I personally like to write in an induced altered state of consciousness. However, sometimes I seriously think if these are not coming as well from other experiences, not from this tangible, immediate Reality.
Many artists say that unhappiness can be a good catalyst for composing. For you, writing is like a catharsis or how can it be described?
Katharsis is purification of the emotions… the same time a perfect catalyst for powerful personal development. Psychologically a poem arises from the unconscious, subsequently a poem is created by the mind, since poetry is its language. It is content in the form of words which often expresses the psychic tribulations, this influencing the emotions. In Antiquity Art was used for “soul cleansing” and the word “katharsis” appeared in relation to the word Art. In this way poetry started to “heal”, therefore “therapeia” arose and it was considered the poet’s divine afflatus. Katharsis itself is not only therapeutic and healing but in the same time a mystical experience. Therefore the central theme of my lyricism has therapeutic effect, “the lyrical I”, whose feelings and thoughts are considered as lyrical confessions, a self-expressed artistry where my inner realty, inner space and psyche are exteriorized.
Your poetry is wonderfully enhanced by the lining of music and soothing or provoking imagery that you use. It becomes very cinematic. How did you come up with the idea?
OK, first I always dreamed of combining arts in one, one supports the other. Second, the decision came, when someone made a comment that he felt “negativity” in one of the poem, I was distressed to be honest, even though everything you read, hear, see it is just an interpretation. Regardless, I chose to make a point, to use other arts in order to support and convey more appropriately what I want to say: a message of Hope, Love, Wisdom, Joy, Self-Discovery. And third: I am a strong believer in what is called “total artist”, therefore I could synthesize better my view of HOW I see and react to the World.
Has your poetry changed in any ways since when you first started writing it?
Of course, it is a MUST for any artist to keep changing and challenging himself/herself, nothing is static in this Life, therefore the artist has to be prone to be inside these changes, be able to depict them. In fact his art (in any form) at various stage shall show his/her own artistic development. As I started writing since I was just 9 years, it has passed so many years since that moment. My “lyrical writings” now, as I like to call them, are more kind of a spiritual autobiography, depicting a reality behind all forms, with no space and time, a quantum view of existence. Right now, I see the writing as a form of being present inside the language, a paradigm of living which is encoded in the message itself, like a poetic consciousness with a spherical view of things, Life, and Love. From the classics to the transcendental thinkers, all influenced me, and I have a holistic approach when I express myself through writings. The language, I use is highly evocative and infused with multi-dimensional meaning. It demands comprehension and sensitivity on the part of the reader to grasp out the inner aspect of a poem. ALL my poems, deal with dichotomies, dualism, paradoxes, antithesis in a dialectic manner; themes like: body and soul (corporal and spiritual), Time and Eternity (finite and infinite), real (concrete) and the ideal (abstract), carnal (profane) and divine (sacred), emotion (passion) and reason (logic). Everything is resolved into a unity: the oneness of lovers, the self-sufficiency of lovers, the image of the circle (perfection).
What is a good poetry to you, you seem to know a lot of forms and ways to write poetry, which way or method has been your favorite so far?
What is a “good” poetry? The one which “builds” a language within a language, a universe within another universe using vivid imagery, sometimes surreal, giving to the poetry a transcending feeling. The one which “moves” from the outward expression to a more inner world expression, as a poetic description of elevating experiences, and as the result is able to mark people’s lives. The one which awakens in others the deep realities of Life within themselves. A good writing shall be like a LEGACY in people’s hearts and lives!!! I like poetry or writings which are able apprehend the infinite intelligence, catching the reflections of Truth with a strong mystic sense of infinity, of the boundless, of the opening out of the world of our normal finite expressions into the transcendental. In terms of “my favorite method”, it is very similar with “stream of consciousness” style. I am not fixed with a style, yet, the reader, is able to recognize my signature, even though my writings do not have the same format, but he/she will be able to recognize it due to the content, my approach, my signature. It is imperative to find the balance between format and content, too much emphasis on the format will create kind of dilution of the content itself. Techniques, recipes on how to write are important, as a base, however, each writer shall develop their own style. My emphasis is on the inner rhythm, rather than the external one.
Where is your destination in this journey called Life?
“We shall not cease from exploration/And the end of all our exploring/Will be to arrive where we started/And know the place for the first time./… What we call the beginning is often the end/And to make and end is to make a beginning./The end is where we start from.” (TS Eliot) No final destination, but each moment creates opportunity for recreation. Deciding for a destination, you stop the moment of recreation, by allowing limits!
What topic is your favorite to write about?
The hidden meanings about Life and Love and I use this form of expression for creating picturesque views about these major themes, transforming the way we think about our own selves. For me the poetry works when it directly or indirectly focuses on the relationship of Self and World. The persona of the writer is the poem’s crucial element, it’s spine. No good poems about sunrises have ever been written. Many great poems have been written about persona who happen to be experiencing the sunrise. Therefore, the writing shall have a powerful experiential element. The poem has to convey something deeper than just the aesthetic meaning!!!
What literature genders impacted on your own writings? Which authors, poets, and people have inspired your work?
In terms of poetry writing, there is an interesting curve in my writing “career”. At initial stage, just a teenager, I was very much influenced by Romanticism, Realism, Symbolism, Avant-garde, followed in my university times by Existentialism, Surrealism, Transcendentalism. Poets and writers influenced me in my own literary development as well approach of life. Just to mention some at that time: Dostoevsky, Camus, Kafka, William Blake, Umberto Eco, Leo Tolstoy, Emily Bronte, Alfred Tennyson, Robert Browning, TS Eliot, Plato, Henri Bergson, Jean Paul Sartre, Victor Hugo, Paul Verlaine, Carl Jung, Immanuel Kant, Johann Wolfgang Goethe, Henry David Thoreau and so on. A huge impact on me had as well the Oriental philosophies, like Taoism, Zen, Upanishads, Bhagavad Gita, Sufism, Buddhism and so on, and all these perspectives about life made a huge impact on me and the way I approach writing nowadays. The time I did not write, for many years, it was the perfect time for me to incubate and crystallize all these knew knowledge, together with my own experiences in order to have my own signature in my own writings. From the classics to the transcendental thinkers, all influenced me, and I have a holistic approach when I express myself through writings. Also a major role played from the very beginning the seer poets like Kabir, Rumi, Hafiz etc, the ones who depicted so well the high consciousness and wisdom, who were interested in the meaning of Life.
How difficult was it for you to write poetry in a different language, did you always write in English, or you also have poems in your native language?
I started writing since I was just 9 years old, so of course, it was in my native language, which is Romanian. It was the time when I belonged to an artistic writing group. I had attempts in writing poetry in English, only when I graduated my Bachelor of Arts. It is imperative to feel the “pulse” of a language in order to be able to express yourself in another language. This is a major plus, as you can use the inheritance of your own language, and I am lucky as Romanian being a Latin language is full of meanings. English being a Germanic language, rigid by nature, it challenges me, ‘forcing” me to move the poetic language at different level. I like to find analogies between disparate things. In my writings, as well with these two languages. To be noted that Latin languages (and Romanian is one of them) are reach in connotations vs Germanic languages (English), and the beauty of expression play a major role in building exactly on these connotations. If initially I found that difference between these two languages, quite restrictive, I approach it differently, by maximizing the language usage, using lots of antithesis, and combination of words, in order to create new ideas, like universes of thought inside the reader’s mind and heart. Basically, you become like an “architect” of a language!
Every poem imagined by you is a celestial drop of spiritual energy. I’d like to know if the roots of your daily thoughts are in English or Romanian.
Speaking two languages can be challenging because sometimes I must direct attention to one language while suppressing interference from the other. Brains of bilingual people automatically activate both languages even in contexts where only one is relevant. This is for my daily thoughts
Between words (poetry) and music, which form of expression is more powerful?
Well, it is simple, of course MUSIC!!! Music speaks to all types of “languages” and hearts, SOUND is before the Word, in facts words are combination of sounds!
Do you find any of the subjects you are driven to write about the most painful?
PAIN!!! The best way to answer this question is with one of my favorite quote: “Take heed of this mystery and don’t forget it, the more you rise, the more you have to descend, because the measure of height is the same as the measure of descent.” (Zamolxe law)
The cadence of your poetry indicate a great ease of making the words dance together. Like they were already there, somewhere and you just stumbled upon them. How difficult it is for you to “give birth” and how long does it take?
You are right, for me everything is a dance, this is my perspective about Life itself, the conversation is a dance, the way you choose the clothes is like a dance for me, basically everything. Saying that, keeping the mind switched on this approach, I do not find problems in playing with the words, and through this “dance” to create new meanings. Words appear to me like dust particles in front of my eyes, and I can hear their sound…. and their dance while I am combining. The whole imagery to me appears like 3D painting. How difficult and how long it takes? Mostly it is spontaneous. More switched on I am and highly motivated, quicker they flow, sometimes the “river” is smooth, other time quicker, it depends on the main emotions of that time. And above all they need to be positive and vibrant!
Why poetry for transformation? What’s the difference, if any in your perspective?
Poetry is different than any other forms of writing simply because it is more concentrated, more open to interpretations…. prose has the “chance” to explain more, to “dissect” the meanings. The “word” which also mean “logos” and “wisdom”, once read, has powerful sounds – therefore creates Transformation.
You are a kind of mirror to me all reflections of soul, spirit and mind, do you feel our poems as typical female?
YES, a tool and path for women to claim their own inner feminine powers. When I said “feminine: I have not referred to the strict understanding of feminine/feminist. But as a tool rather. If I were a man, I would write the same, and you know why? Because, every time I finish one of the poem, I am thinking,” I wish a man will write for me like this!!!” Each person has masculine and feminine inside, depending on the situation, one aspect takes over. Now, when I write, of course I use the masculine energy as well. When I said I like dichotomies and paradoxes I have also referred to this aspect, making use of both aspects of the Being.
Poetry is losing battle in terms of literature unlike novel, essays and short stories. With the rising of contemporary literature do you think your poem can cross the mainstream and outwit the aforementioned literary genre?
Any form of art can make by itself a huge difference in people’s life, therefore, if let us say my writing has something to say, something to elevate in people’s hearts, for sure it shall “penetrate” through the “crowd”. I do not write to get appreciation and being labeled a “good poet”, I write because I love to see positive and transformative effects on people around me. Basically they are my end goal, not me…. yet, it transforms me as well!!!
Would you say that your art writes you?
I have decided to start writing again this year, and it came to me like an “explosion” – it is like the pen “writes” me not the other way around – and I just know, all these years of crystallization came into fruit right now, in a concentrated manner full of hidden meanings and layers after layers.
You mentioned that recently you started to write again. How recent, and what made you to start and of course to continue writing?
My lyrical impulse started in January 2014, however I decided to go global just in April 2014, on various poetry platforms. Less than 6 months I got 4 global awards, and numerous amazing feedbacks from the readers, as well poetry published in various anthologies. People’s feedback and their insights made me think I shall take it to a more serious level, therefore I came with the idea of my own recitals as well “translating” my own poems into visuals. The audience made me to feel more responsible in terms of creating and building more in order to inspire, motivate, heal, even awaken deeper realities. So, I took it as a personal mission, for which I am grateful!
How do you relate your own self existence with your literary life? Do you think society as a whole, is the key factor in shaping you up as a poet? Or is your poetical journey is actually a spiritual extension of your whole individuality?
For me poetry is a process of self-discovery, the plateau where strong emotions are intensely expressed, explored and explicated, it is a process of cognitive and emotional insights. My writings are my own spiritual autobiography, the stages of my own development, as a Thinker and Feeler. Projecting it outside I hope to awaken in others deeper realities of life within themselves. I am a true believer in the power of the words and the mystery of unlocking latent realities, universes, thought, emotions. It is supposed to elevate and enrich their lives as well!
Society is a key factor! A society which believes and fully supports art plays a major role in the development of an individual.
Why literature or poetry in specific interests you so much? Do you think literature or poetry is really essential in our life? If so why?
Poetry is the language which can say more and more intensively than any other language implied in other literary pursuits. It is like a multi-dimensional, involving the readers’ sense, emotions and intelligence. There were poems which literally changed my perspective upon life, and some of them have like hidden secrets which need to be unlocked. For me poetry is important as it has that fire in the person’s life, changing it alchemically, bring new realms to it, through its powers and rhythms indeed breaking the conscious mind helping it to awaken and nourish it as well, as if it honors both the known and the unknown in us and the world itself. Personally for me, poetry is an act of existential leap, illuminating our life even bringing new breath into it. When I write I like to galvanize the readers’ attention, shaking and awakening them. With my poetry it is as if I become more human, more fully engaged with the world.
Do you think in this age of information and technology the dimensions of literature has largely been extended beyond our preconceived ideas about literature in general?
The digital medium has provided the basis for multi-mediality and every day we learn how we can manipulate in new ways the information. The transformation done by the web is multi-dimensional, it changes the objects of study and in the same time the subject who studies it. The changes in time will become greater, as technology is very fast evolving, and of course with it all other fields. Accessibility and convenience are top priority benefits.
Do you believe all writers are by and large the product of their nationality? And what are the factors which pay dividends and which become obstacles for your ultimate growth as an international writer even beyond your time?
We are all the “products” of our own nationalities, no doubt about it. It is in our DNA, carrying our own ancestors’ heritage. Each of the nationality carries its own history which of course impacts on each individual, shaping him/her. Even if I write in a language which is not my mother tongue, I do carry my own language characteristics, a very specific poetic lyricism particular in my part of the world. That makes the approach being different, even enticing for many.
I do not believe there is any obstacle for growth as international writer, if so far you have a strong message out there, you will always find an audience which resonates with your own style, approach, view about things.
In this patriarchal society do you think, as a woman you need more free breathing space to uphold your own personality and liberty? Would you like to be addressed as a feminist?
I consider my writings as a tool for women to claim their own feminine powers. My writings try to overpass what seems to be the humans’ limitations but emphasizing the essence of a woman, of the Goddess. The main theme, Love, is basically presented as a transformative experience in life, the energizing force of the Universe and empowering the creative feminine.
As a writer I may not come across as feminist as more as a sensually mystic writer. Even though I am a strong believer of gender equality, with the same civil rights and liberties, this is not the approach I have when I write, pleading for human equality but rather a more wakeup call addressed to women to reclaim their feminine powers for themselves, to become stronger, loveable, therefore a better woman in society. It is a call not to prove to others who they are but for themselves.
Humanity has suffered immensely in past, is still suffering around the world. What role can literature in general play to bring a better day for every human being?
I see the act of writing as an existential leap, delivering people from the habitually or conventionally established world into new horizons of the spirit, and that brings a breakthrough in one’s overall consciousness.
All spiritual traditions teach us about the Power of the Word, and how life changer can be, affecting us and others, ability to change minds and lives forever. As words, thus poetry, have creating force of healing, awakening us from a deep quotidian sleep!
For me, a good poetry is like a magical spell, which carries power, color, vibration, intend, magnetically charged. Us, the poets, are the alchemists, transforming the emotions, mostly through katharsis, into poetic “spellbinding”. Saying that, we ARE responsible for the words, the ars poetica we deliver to the World and we should consciously choose to cultivate the literature’s curative powers! Using the Art of Words it is as if we practice Magic, and with this, altering the World and shifting its state of consciousness. I am a believer that us, the writers, can bring change and challenge through poetic consciousness!
Many thanks ANCA for spending such a wonderful time with us, we would like to conclude this interview with a personal note, are you satisfied about your own achievements in your life? What are your plans for future?
Thank you! My “achievements” are my own personal developments. Over the years I have added so many different flavours to my own persona, growing, expanding and hopefully becoming a better person. In sense of writing I have only one dream: that my writings indeed will bring power to heal and awaken others. Making a better world! This is my greatest mission!
For the readers/listeners who wish to read/listen watch my audio/video poetry, they can find me on these accounts: