Arielle Estoria: Five Things You Need To Write Powerful And Evocative Poetry
An Interview With Heidi Sander
You are the secret sauce. When comparison tries to blind you and distract you with what everyone else is doing, remember no one can tell the story like you can, no one can invite people in like you can, you are the secret sauce — use that.
Poetry is growing in popularity and millions of people spanning the globe have a renewed passion for embracing the creativity, beauty, and art of poetry. Poetry has the power to heal and we make sense of the world through the human expression of writing and reading. Are you wondering: What does it take to become a successful poet? What is the best medium and venue to release your poetry? What are some techniques to improve or sharpen your skills? In this interview series about how to write powerful and evocative poetry, we are interviewing people who have a love for poetry and want to share their insights, and we will speak with emerging poets who want to learn more about poetry either to improve their own skills or learn how to read and interpret better. Here, we will also meet rising and successful poets who want to share their work or broaden their audience, as well as poetry and literature instructors.
As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Arielle Estoria, poet, speaker and author.
Arielle Estoria (R-E-L EH-STORY-UH) is made of sass and good intentions, does not believe in surface level conversations, is a good coffee paired with even better conversation enthusiast and breakfast burritos and flowers are her love language.
Arielle is a Spoken Word Poet, gifted Writer and Author, captivating and authentic Emcee, Speaker and Actor. Shamelessly claiming that she is in the business of pulling on heartstrings, her motto, “Words not for the ears but for the soul” stems from her dedication to remind anyone who encounters her and her work that words are meant to be felt and experienced and not just heard. Which just means you may or may not cry by the end of your time with her. Arielle also has a very specific heart in empowering, encouraging and making space for audiences of women to feel at home in their own bodies.
Arielle has shared her work through custom spoken word pieces, workshops and themed keynote talks with companies such as Google, Sofar Sounds, Lululemon, Dressember, Tedx, the SKIMS campaign by Kim Kardashian and more.
Arielle’s first EP, a collection of music and poetry called “Symphony of a Lioness” and her single “Magic (In Your Bones)” are available on iTunes or Apple Music. She is Co-author of two collections of poetry: Vagabonds and Zealots (2014) and Write Bloody Spill Pretty (2017) which can both be found on Amazon.com.
Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share a story about what first drew you to poetry?
I first fell in love with the art of Theater and would write plays and monologues in the perspective of fictional and non-fictional characters and would perform first by placing myself in the shoes of others. As I grew more vulnerable in my art, I placed myself back into my own shoes and my own story and began performing and sharing more spoken word. I have always been fascinated by the written and especially the creative written word, I process the world best through written processing and so I like to say my journal pages were breathed out into the world and became something I also gave to others.
Can you tell us a bit about the interesting or exciting projects you are working on or wish to create? What are your goals for these projects?
Most recently, I had the opportunity to work on an amazing project with premium iced tea brand Pure Leaf that was timed to NO-vember. Throughout the month, we encouraged women to embrace the power of “no” so they could say yes to a more balanced life.
During the pandemic, we saw many women leaving the workforce, bearing the brunt of household responsibilities, and needing to reprioritize their goals. With life returning to ‘normal’, Pure Leaf approached me to write a poem that would empower women to embrace the beauty of no — similar to how they use no extras and no artificial ingredients in their iced tea. They then brought my poem, “The Beautiful Art of No,” to life on murals in Los Angeles, Brooklyn and Manhattan — which was such an honor.
Local artists, Ashley Uananiau Lukashevsky in Los Angeles and Perryn Ryan in New York, helped design the murals by channeling their own creative interpretation of my poem.
Wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition so that all of us are on the same page. What is your definition of poetry? Can you please share with us what poetry means to you?
Poetry is a form of storytelling that creates environments and spaces where audiences have the permission to be vulnerable and seen. Within my own work, I like to say that my poetry offers “Words not for the ears but for the soul” and reminds anyone who reads the words that they are meant to be felt and experienced not just heard. My poetry in particular is crafted with a specific heart in empowering, encouraging and making space for audiences of women to feel at home in their own bodies.
What can writing poetry teach us about ourselves?
Personally, my brain responds in poetic form. It’s how I process everything I experience and gives me further insight to self-reflect, and I think my work and poetry in general has the power to do that for everyone.
Who are your favorite poets? Is it their style, the content or something else that resonates with you?
One of the first specifically spoken word poets I kind of fell in love with is a Poet by the name of Sarah Kay. She’s a New York based poet who had a Ted Talk about poetry that just opened me up in a whole new way. Her poem, “A Letter to my Daughter” was the first poem topic I duplicated and wrote my own version of. Her style, delivery and ultimately her audacious permission to be herself on stage and in her work is something I still admire. Also, my poetry coach, Brian Olivia or SuperB, is a phenomenal lyricist and beautiful human and I will always carry with me the lessons he coached and instilled within me.
If you could ask your favourite poet a question, what would it be?
So many! I would ask her what, who or where inspires her the most, how her writing has changed the most from the beginning of her journey and if she listens or writes to music and if so what kind!
Poetry can be transformational. Is there a particular poem that spoke to you and changed your life or altered a perspective you held in some way? Can you share the story?
There’s been a lot of poems that have done this and a lot of writings in general that I have come across in my lifetime so far that have impacted and transformed me in so many ways. I suppose the first poem that comes to mind is a piece by my Poetry Coach, where he connects the beginning of his poem about the wrinkles in his grandmothers’ hands to the very end about another connecting piece reminding him of those said wrinkles. The poem brings to light the tenderness and beauty of humanity as a whole and invites us to remember what a gift each person is and the gift that we are individually as well.
Today’s world needs so much healing. Can you help articulate how poetry can help us heal?
In today’s world, I think it’s more important than ever that we use the power of words to remind people of their self-worth. That we remember the power of healing versus harm, that we use our voices to equip, restore and to bring about ethical and fair justice in this world. Words can empower, encourage and help everyone, particularly women, feel at home in their own skin and more confident in their own strength.
We’d like to learn more about your poetry and writing. How would you describe yourself as a poet? Can you please share a specific passage that you think exemplifies your style or main message?
I’ve said this before but my motto, “words not for the ears but for the soul” is a huge and foundational part of my work. I would describe myself as a deep feeler, a student of exploration and emotion and a poet who hopes to not just say beautiful things but to also BE a beautiful person internally and externally.
My style and main message is always worth, to leave people feeling more aware of their inherent worth and that they walk away standing a little bit taller, more aware or more in tune with their own ability to feel deeply. I always say, if people only experience what I looked like on stage or what I said and how it related to my own story, then I’m not doing my job as an artist.
What do you hope to achieve with your poetry?
Through my work, I hope that my own experiences and words ultimately inspire people and give them freedom to embrace the poem’s theme within their own lives. I want to offer people something they can take with them to sit and soak in — something that goes beyond just me.
In your opinion and from your experience, what are 3 things everyone can learn from poetry?
- How to be human
- How to feel deeply
- How to live intentionally
Based on your own experience and success, what are the “five things a poet needs to know to create beautiful and evocative poetry?” If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Oh wow! What a question, I want to first say that I am not nor do I claim to be an expert at this art form. I am still a student in this craft and hope to always be one. What I can share is what I have found to be formulas or ingredients to good storytelling, which also includes poetry.
- Tell the truth. This has been a big one for me lately because I tend to make words sound really eloquent and pretty but oftentimes, I am trying to dance around what I really want to say, and honesty is always the best policy. So, before you get pretty, get honest. I am writing my first non-self-published book right now and my agent at the beginning of the process reminded me that though this is a hard task at times, it is a requirement to being an honest and evocative writer and so I keep this close to my heart.
- Bring yourself to the page. Often times I think as artists, writers, creatives etc. we have a good handle on how to be vulnerable while not revealing or sharing any parts of ourselves and though I find this sometimes necessary to do for protecting ourselves and also to not share from open wounds, I think it’s important if we’re asking people to show up vulnerably that we also do the same.
- Trust the art form. Your art is a gift, one that can be trusted wholeheartedly, so when perfectionism starts to take over, when imposter syndrome shows up, remember to trust your gift.
- You are the secret sauce. When comparison tries to blind you and distract you with what everyone else is doing, remember no one can tell the story like you can, no one can invite people in like you can, you are the secret sauce — use that.
- The goal is legacy but not so that you yourself will be remembered but that your words live longer than you do, that’s the goal.
If you were to encourage others to write poetry, what would you tell them?
Grab a piece of paper, show up and be honest. Share your story, let the work be for your own healing first and if it benefits others, that’s a plus. Show up as much as you can to work on this gift, it’s a craft and crafts must be practiced.
How would you finish these three sentences:
Poetry teaches…us how to be human.
Poetry heals by…inviting us into our own reckoning.
To be a poet, you need to…be honest.
We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Entertainment , Business, VC funding, and Sports read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them :-)
Wow! No pressure umm…Adele…or Oprah?! Both?
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Readers can learn more about my work by visiting www.arielleestoria.com or following @arielleestoria on Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
To learn more about my partnership with Pure Leaf and “No is Beautiful” murals, readers can visit www.pureleaf.com or follow @pureleaf on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.
Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent. We wish you continued success.