if the sun can learn to love the moon,

you can learn to love yourself

words to live by

Elly Schyner

This week, I had the pleasure of reading Elly Schyner’s debut poetry book, rose petals. This is my review for this collection of poems, I will share a few of my thoughts, and will even talk to Elly about her process, and how rose petals came to life.

Today on the blog, we have Elly Schyven, a debut poetry author who has recently published her poetry collection, Rose Petals. Her poetry comes from the heart, and talks about topics like broken relationships, love, and growing. 

Riya: Hi, Elly, glad to have you on the blog! Your poetry book was really well formatted and passionate, and I love the themes you discussed through poetry. When did you decide that you wanted to turn your poetry into a book?

Elly: Hey Riya, glad you decided to have me on the blog! I’m very thankful to be featured. I believe I decided that I wanted to turn my poetry into a book in the summer of 2019. It started as a Wattpad collection, before I decided I really wanted to publish it.

Riya: That’s really cool! When did you start working on it with the intention of publishing it?

Elly: Thanks! I completed the book in November, and it was in December that I decided to start getting it ready for publishing by formatting and editing, etc.

Riya: I know that editing is super important, but not much attention has been given the importance of editing poetry. How did you go about polishing and editing rose petals?

Elly: Well, I started by reading over every poem I had written, both out loud and in my head. This way, I was able to check the flow of the words and make major changes at the beginning. Then I had my partner read the book, and she made suggestions throughout. Afterwards I fixed it up a bit more, reading it all over again, before sending it out to Beta readers. After one final glance over the book, I had completed my editing!

Riya: That certainly sounds like an intensive process, but it all worked out, because rose petals was so refined and crisp. That’s something I adore about your writing style: it’s simple, almost like Rupi Kaur and Courtney Peppernell. There isn’t much complexity, but that makes your poems so enjoyable. I can read them and enjoy how they’re simple, yet say important truths about love, heartbreak, and growing as a person. How did you develop that writing style?

Elly: Thank you so much for all your kind words! I’m really glad you enjoyed my book. I think I developed my writing style through two things: experience and reading. I’ve read lots of other poetry books, and I’ve always enjoyed more simple styles, just like Courtney Peppernell, Amanda Lovelace, Rupi Kaur, etc. As for experience, I have faced some difficult times in my life, and poetry is a way for me to get my feelings out without overcomplicating everything, so I prefer to write in a straightforward, simple but metaphorical style.

Riya: Poetry is considered as a form of therapy for sure, even I use it as it. There are some topics that are hard to verbalize, some feelings that we just don’t know how to write. You talk a lot about those heartbreaks, those topics we bury deep within us. How do you verbalize feelings that are so painful in a way that doesn’t sound like you’re rambling?

Elly: That’s a great question! Honestly, I just try to remember that I am not alone in feeling those things. I always try my best to verbalize my emotions in a way that I am proud of, and in a way that other people can relate to as well. I tend to make my poems shorter and straight to the point, in order to avoid sounding like I’m rambling. I also use lots of metaphors, similes, and other literary devices, so that people have some room to interpret each poem in their own way.

Riya: I love your figurative language! Here’s one of the similies I loved: like wisps of cigarette smoke 

on dreary summer nights, from skipping class, featured in rose petals. Imagery and figurative language is so important to creating beautiful poetry that just flows off your tongue. What do you consider your favorite part of the writing process?

Elly: Thank you so much! I am also really proud of that line. I would have to say that my favourite part of the writing process is getting my words out onto the page, and not worrying about editing or formatting. I just get to write what I feel, the emotions I crave to read, in hopes that I will reach others in the same way. However, I also love naming my poems, because that’s a fun and creative process! I find that the name of each poem is something that makes people think, and it allows them to further interpret my words.

Riya: There were SO many times in rose petals where I read the poem without reading the title, but when I looked right after, I was shocked at it. Your poem called labels, that genuinely shocked me. You all have to find that poem in the book, it has stuck with me, and had such an important message about respecting people and whatever they wished to be called. Your poetry is honest and unwavering, and isn’t scared to say the truth in its most blunt form. Have you ever worried that the messages that your poems promote will cause some outlash?

Elly: Once again, thank you! To be honest, I am a very blunt person. I tell lots of things how they are (without being rude of course), and I am quite opinionated. I do occasionally worry that I will cause some outlash, but what I write is very important to me. If I can reach the souls of a bunch of people who feel the same way, making them feel as though they are less alone, it will all be very worth it. Everyone needs something to relate to, something that drives them, to make them feel free. If my poems can provide that for even a small amount of people, then any outlash would be worth it. I advise people who don’t like my writing to just move on, because I am more concerned about connecting with readers who need something to relate to, or just enjoy my work!

Riya: I think poetry can be so eye opening, though. I know I didn’t really understand the label problem before I read that poem because it’s not my world. Poetry connects to the most touchy part of our souls, so when we’re faced with beautifully written poetry, I think it can start to change the minds of people who are willing to be changed. One thing I’ve noticed in the poetry community is the lack of ideological diversity, at least in the mainstream. Many of the poems by popular creators like Rupi Kuar and other industry magnets tend to center around more liberal ideas. Do you agree that this may be the case, or is your perspective different? And if you do agree, so you think that should even change?

Elly: I agree with everything you said. I do think that poetry tends to be centred around more liberal ideas, and I do think there is a good reason for that. Since poetry tends to spread emotional messages like acceptance, self love, and more, I believe that it is good to have poetry centred around liberal ideas. I believe that everyone deserves representation, and as I am a seventeen year old lesbian, writing about topics like same sex relationships is very important to me. Everyone should be able to have themselves represented, and I like having a balance in what I write. Straight couples, same sex couples, different skin tones and appearances described, etc. Overall, I just think that everyone deserves representation in one way or another, and I suppose this could be seen as more of a liberal ideology. 

Riya: I noticed that you wrote both straight and queer relationships, which I really apprecaited because I was also able to relate to your poetry (being straight and all). My favorite genre of poetry to write is the creative struggle and political poetry about freedom, kindness, and polarizing issues. What is your favorite genre of poetry?

Elly: I’m very glad you were able to relate to my book, as my goal when publishing was to connect with as many readers as possible, from all walks of life. I’d say my favourite genre of poetry to write is empowerment or heartbreak, since both are very important topics to me. I love empowerment as a whole, and I feel like there is not enough of it in the world today, so I write what I wish to see. Also, I have experienced heartbreak, so writing about it in the form of poetry is a therapeutic, easy way to get my emotions out. My mother always told me to write what I feel, so that’s just what I do!

Riya: I think that poetry is one of those things that we have to write from the heart, or at least write with an intense understanding, which often comes from experience. I honestly struggle to write about romantic love because I haven’t felt it yet, but I also haven’t experienced the great political problems I write about, which is why I intensely research those topics and try to empathize. How does empathy factor into your work?

Elly: I think that I have always been a very empathetic person, and this factors into my work throughout the entire writing process. I try to understand how other people would feel when reading my poems, and whether or not they could relate. I try to limit what may be triggering for some people, while still getting my emotions across in a way that people understand. Personally, I have not been in a serious straight relationship, but I still study how it is for others around me and try to incorporate that into my writing. I really want people to find some sort of solace in my writing, both boys and girls, men and women, straight and LGBTQ+, white or POC. Whatever the case, I want to display empathy when I’m writing, and I want everyone to feel as though at least a part of my book represents them.

Riya: I really admire that mission of yours. Making poetry connect to people in all walks of life is so important and often not emphasized enough. I might be shifting gears here, but I wanted to talk about the success of your book. In this time, this must have been frustrating to release, but you did really well. What do you expect to happen now that you’ve published a book? What are your goals?

Elly: Oh, rose petals was definitely a challenge to release. There were a few struggles, but many other people were dealing with much, much worse at the time, and it was important for me to remember that. Now that it’s published though, I have a few goals. rose petals is the first in a series, all centred around the theme of flowers of course. I am currently working on its sequel, which I hope to publish to Amazon sometime before the end of 2020! Another goal of mine is to publish some of my other poetry books, not related to the rose petals series, which I have been working on for a little while. Other than that, I’m just waiting to see where life will take me!

Riya: I’m so excited to read the next installation! I’m currently in the process of writing a poetry book, but I’m in between traditional publishing and self-publishing. Why did you decide to self-publish rose petals?

Elly: Thank you, I hope you’ll enjoy it just as much as rose petals! I decided to self publish because my mom actually works in marketing, so we’re skilled at promoting products. Also, I already had a fanbase for my poetry on Wattpad, Instagram, and Tumblr, so I figured that it would be easier for me to reach out to my fans on my own. I also find that once you work out the first initial struggles with self publishing, it can actually be much quicker and easier than traditional publishing!

Riya: Self-publishing also offers writers a lot of freedom to design, market, and price their books. This freedom does come with some difficulties, though. What advice do you give to authors wanting to self-publish? Stuff like cover design, marketing, typesetting, all the jazz.

Elly: I agree! I really enjoyed the freedom I had when publishing rose petals, but it did come with some difficulties, just like you said. I think the best advice I can give is that you should design a book that you would want to read. Make sure to be as precise as possible with formatting, and when designing, make your cover appealing. For marketing, I would recommend posting about your book and promoting it to any friends, family or followers that would be willing to purchase it. Also, make sure to get Beta readers; mine helped me a lot! They provide tons of helpful feedback, and give you opinions from a reader’s point of view. All in all though, self publishing can be stressful, so remember to take breaks, practice self love, and try to see the light at the end of the tunnel!

Riya: That’s great advice, and I’ll be sure to keep that in mind when I start my grueling process towards publishing. Well, that’s all I have for today. Is there anything you’d like to say to the readers?

Elly: To the readers, thank you so much for ‘listening’ to me ramble on about my book, I really appreciate it! Of course, rose petals is up for sale on Amazon, if any of you would like to check it out. To you, Riya, thank you so much for featuring me on your blog, it means a lot! Also, to everyone reading, remember to stay safe, practice social distancing, and wash your hands during these hard times. I hope everyone is doing well!

Riya: Thank you so much for taking time out of your day to talk about it all. I loved rose petals, and I think that you all will too! Check out the review I posted here, and like Elly said, stay safe!

Rose Petals is a debut poetry collection by Elly Schyven.

This debut collection was really impressive to me. Rose Petals treads into very emotional, very personal, and very passionate ideas. Schyven’s voice really stands strong in each poem, unapologetic, and bold. It talks to the parts of us that have felt heartbreak, felt despaired and lost, felt angry and vengeful, and felt happy and enamored.

Here are some of my favorite poems:

winding

a heart is caged
by ribs wrapped in barbed wire
and sometimes, little one,
your body fails to numb the punctures.

-elly schyven

diversity

when girls kiss girls,
flowers bloom,
awakening for their
first breath of spring

and when boys kiss boys,
bumblebees are born
ready to pollinate the
beauty around them

-difference is magic

As you can see, her poetry is incredibly descriptive and emotional, and this doesn’t even brush the surface.

If you are a fan of rupi kaur or Courtney Peppernell, you will like this collection. It is simple and down to earth, yet gorgeous. That being said, if you are looking for poetry that dives deeper, has hidden meanings, and is more traditional, this book may not be for you. It isn’t for the poetry academic that only appreciates hiddem meanings and complex concepts, but it’s for the person who needs catharsis, needs relief, and needs to enjoy a good, heartfelt poetry collection that tugs at your heartstrings.

Sometimes I found the repitive refrence to the theme of roses uneccessary, but it did help frame the work, make it cohesive, so I appreciated that. It was obvious that Elly put a lot of creative thought into this collection.

Something I felt lacking the book was a depth in concept. I wish there were some longer poems. Some of the metaphors and similies didn’t quit click with me, like “whispers can be so beautiful when clouds utter your name.” I hard time understand what that meant, but perhaps that is because I’m not looking deep enough. I did find this problem often, but that didn’t defer me too much.

Overall, I give this a 3.8/5 stars, because while I enjoyed it, there is evident growth that can occur. Schyven is still young, but if this is her debut, then I’m excited for what she has next. I can’t for her to fully develop her style so that it’s different than rupi kaur and other mainstream artists, and for her to branch out and explore other emotions and feelings

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