Treasuring Poetry – Meet author and poet Yvette M. Calleiro and a review

Today, I am delighted to introduce you to poet and author, Yvette M. Calleiro. I have read and enjoyed a few of Yvette’s lovely books and I am also a fan of her poetry.

Which of your own poems is your favourite?

This is such a difficult question because I’m quite critical of my poems, most likely because many of them come from deep within my soul and scrutinize aspects of my mind and heart which have spent a long time being hidden. One of my favorites is “The Battle Within.”

The Battle Within

I am brave.

I am strong.

I am confident.

My reflection tells me so

Every morning and every night.

I believe her

Until at some point in the day

My inner voice awakens

And slithers through the slopes of my cerebral cortex,

Seeking a soft space to enter

And inseminate her vitriol.

Her termites gnaw

At the foundation of my strength

Until it shatters into splinters

And crumbles them to dust.

She pours gasoline to fuel the fire.

The flames scorch the blanket

That tries to shield me from

The stream of searing scenarios

Of what ifs and maybes and if onlys.

Her berating mantra

Batters against my brain,

Bullying me into accepting

Her truth as mine,

But I refuse to accept her broken record.

I refuse to let her have control.

She is not me

No matter how convincing she can be.

She lives in the darkest recesses of my mind,

And I have the power to prevent her

From gaining more ground.

I breathe deeply

Once

Twice

In

Out

Inhale peace

Exhale fear

I gently shut the doors

So her access disappears

For now.

She will try again,

But I’ll be ready

For I am brave.

I am strong.

I am confident.

Another poem that I’ve written that stands out to me is “Be In The Moment.”

Be In The Moment

BE

Such a tiny little word.

If you look too quickly,

You might miss it.

But, oh, what power it has!

Its life-sustaining energy

Stills chaos in an instant.

IN just being,

Allow your breath to calm the mind.

Slow down.

Breathe in.

Breathe out.

Notice.

Feel.

Let go.

THE beauty of life

Begins and ends with one breath.

Calm the mind.

Still the worries, anxieties, and negative thoughts.

Awaken your senses.

Feel the earth beneath you,

The wind caressing your hair,

The sun warming your skin.

Hear the birds serenading the world,

The laughter of a child,

The rustle of the trees’ leaves.

Smell the sea salt as waves crash upon the shore,

The freshly cut lawn on a dewy morning,

The percolating coffee.

See the puffy, white clouds as they lazily stroll by,

The precious poodle pulling excitedly on his chain

On his quest to mark a new territory,

The elderly woman tenderly caring for her roses.

MOMENT by moment,

Pause, breathe, and cherish

The precious life you are given.

Just be. Be in the moment.

What inspired you to write these poems?

I developed an anxiety order about a decade ago. It took me a long time to learn to manage it, and it is something that I actively attend to every day. My anxiety manifests through negative ruminating thoughts, and for a long time, they completely drained me of my strength and energy. Through many types of therapy, I have learned to regain control of those moments. I have setbacks every now and then, but more often than not, I prevail. “The Battle Within” depicts that struggle but also reminds me of my true inner strength.

Mindfulness and meditation are huge parts of my life. They are two tools that have helped bring me peace in my anxious world. I wanted to create a poem that emulated the calmness that comes when meditating, and “Be In The Moment” is what emerged from my mind.

What are your plans for your poetry going forward?

I’ve written poetry since I was 12 years old. Back then, they were silly, rhyming poems. I have since evolved as a poet  and continue to enhance my craft. For years, I only wrote free verse, but I’ve recently been learning about syllabic poetry through Colleen Chesebro’s #Tanka Tuesday challenges. Ultimately, I hope to publish a book of poems that encompass my life’s journey into poetry.

What is your favourite poem?

The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,

And sorry I could not travel both

And be one traveler, long I stood

And looked down one as far as I could

To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,

And having perhaps the better claim,

Because it was grassy and wanted wear;

Though as for that the passing there

Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay

In leaves no step had trodden black.

Oh, I kept the first for another day!

Yet knowing how way leads on to way,

I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh

Somewhere ages and ages hence:

Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—

I took the one less traveled by,

And that has made all the difference.

Why do you like this poem?

This poem has always resonated with me. It speaks of choices that must be made and of accepting the consequences of those choices. Making decisions has always been difficult for me. I overthink the options and wonder about the options I don’t choose. This poem reminds me to embrace my choice and move forward. I also love using the poem in my classroom with my students. The conversations are always so rich and meaningful.

My love for poetry made its way into my newest novel, HYPE. One of the characters, Gaby, uses her poems to express her deepest, darkest emotions and secrets. Here is one of her poems:

A Lit Candle

For years, I was the beautiful centerpiece,

The elegant, most prized decoration of the home.

I was bright and cheery, tall and elegant.

Everyone always stopped to admire my beauty,

To comment on how special I was.

Until one day, someone thought

It would be a great idea to light a match

And see how well I could withstand the heat.

I could smell the rancid sulfur

As the matchstick caught fire.

It was then that I discovered what true fear felt like.

The sensation of the intense heat

Violating my wick

Was too much to endure.

I screamed and crackled

As the fire invaded my wick.

I cried tears of wax

As the blaze melted my beauty away.

I wished there was some way to stop it,

To keep it from taking away

All that was pure and perfect about me.

I wanted someone,

Anyone,

To blow out the flame,

To save what was left of my beauty,

But no one could hear me.

No one was even paying attention

To my withering loveliness.

I cried and cried

Until there was no wax left to cry with,

And when all my beauty was gone,

The flame finally burned out

And I was discarded.

No longer did anyone admire me.

No longer did anyone care.

I was alone,

Abandoned,

Dead.

Thank you, Yvette, for being a lovely guest.

My review of Hype

What Amazon says

Cici’s junior year in high school is going to be the best year ever. Popular co-captain of the varsity cheerleading team, she’s dating the starting quarterback. Even her jealous co-captain’s attempts to steal her boyfriend can’t curb her enthusiasm.

When her mom moves in with her fiancé, a handsome, wealthy man, only one small detail threatens Cici’s perfect life. The school’s social pariah is about to become her stepsister, and Cici wants nothing to do with her.

Everything changes when someone Cici cares about throws her life into a tailspin, and the one person Cici couldn’t stand becomes her only ally.

Warning: This story contains scenes of sexual assault.

My review

Hype was a most interesting read for me. I grew up and attended school in South Africa and my experience was very different from the life of a school girl described in this book. I couldn’t help thinking that the strict rules I grew up with were helpful in preventing some of the prejudices towards other people, based on their appearance and behaviour, that were described in this book. We wore school uniforms, had to tie our hair back and wore no makeup. We most certainly did not demonstrate affection towards the opposite sex during school hours. It was an excellent insight into school life in America.

Cici is a popular cheerleader and her boyfriend, Ryan, is on the football team and is also popular. He is voted Homecoming King which demonstrates his place on the schoolboy social ladder. Cici is an interesting character as she is totally self absorbed and selfish in many ways, but she is devoted to her mother and wants the best for her. This love is exploited by a predator to keep her quiet when she is sexually assaulted later in the story. Despite her giddiness and obsession with maintaining her social position at school, Cici is naïve and innocent. This aspect of her character is demonstrated a few times in the book.

When Cici’s mother, a successful lawyer who works long hours, decides to marry a man she met six months previously, Cici discovers that one of the most uncool girls in the school, a Goth the students call Grub, will become her step-sister. Cici is most displeased abut this situation and doesn’t want Grub raining on her parade. Cici, however, comes to realise that bad things can happen in life and these events can shape a person and cause them to exhibit certain behaviours in self defense. Cici comes to appreciate Grub when her own life spins out of control.

This book tackles the difficult subject of schoolgirl rape and I felt those scenes were well handled and appropriate for a YA audience. The horror of the situation was conveyed without the author going into to much detail. Sub themes are not to judge someone by their appearance, and not to trust people you don’t know really well. The book also covers the type of counselling and student support that is available in the American school system which was interesting.

I enjoyed this book and it is well written and and has good flow.

Purchase Hype by Yvette M. Calleiro

Amazon US

Yvette M. Calleiro Amazon Author Page

About Yvette M. Calleiro

Yvette M. Calleiro is the author of the Chronicles of the Diasodz fantasy series, HYPE, and two short stories. As a heavily addicted reader of both young adult and adult novels, she spends most of her time pseudo-living in paranormal worlds with her fictional friends (and boyfriends).

When she’s living among real people, she is a middle school Reading and Language Arts teacher. She’s been sharing her love of literature with her students for over twenty years. Besides writing about the various characters that whisper (and sometimes scream) in her head, she enjoys traveling, watching movies, spending quality time with family and friends, and enjoying the beauty of the ocean.

Yvette lives in Miami, Florida, with her incredible son who has embraced her love for paranormal and adventurous stories. She also shares her space with an assortment of crazy saltwater animals in her 300-gallon tank.

Twitter

Blog

About Robbie Cheadle

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Robbie Cheadle is a South African children’s author and poet with 9 children’s books and 2 poetry books.

The 7 Sir Chocolate children’s picture books, co-authored by Robbie and Michael Cheadle, are written in sweet, short rhymes which are easy for young children to follow and are illustrated with pictures of delicious cakes and cake decorations. Each book also includes simple recipes or biscuit art directions which children can make under adult supervision.

Robbie has also published 2 books for older children which incorporate recipes that are relevant to the storylines.

Robbie has 2 adult novels in the paranormal historical and supernatural fantasy genres published under the name Roberta Eaton Cheadle. She also has short stories in the horror and paranormal genre and poems included in several anthologies.

Robbie writes a monthly series for https://writingtoberead.com called Growing Bookworms. This series discusses different topics relating to the benefits of reading to children.

Robbie has a blog, https://robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com/ where she shares book reviews, recipes, author interviews, and poetry.

Find Robbie Cheadle

Blog: https://www.robbiecheadle.co.za/

Blog: robbiesinspiration.wordpress.com

Twitter: BakeandWrite

Instagram: Robbie Cheadle – Instagram

Facebook: Sir Chocolate Books

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