Header Photo Credit: Jamadhi Verse (Instagram link below)
By: Alec Holmes 05/01/2018 8:00 pm CST
Her work is mesmerizing, unique and carries with it an abundance of timeless wisdom. It has also been a source of inspiration for poets around the world, as it shows that poetry still holds tremendous power and will always be an unshakable contender in the arts. She is also a bit of a celebrity in the online poetry community Hello Poetry. This interview will explore her background as well as the motivations and inspirations behind her poetry.
Jamadhi currently resides in Seattle, Washington. A city of natural beauty, the arts, open-mindedness and diversity. And surprisingly enough, she works as an executive assistant for a tax and consulting firm. Many may not assume for such a creative spirit to be so confined for eighty hours a week during tax season. Nevertheless, she finds time to indulge in her passion for music by attending music festivals, frequenting symphonies and operas and perusing record stores with her husband.
Jamadhi went to university in both New York City, New York and London, England where she studied Anthropology and Religious Studies. She would still like to return to school to further gratify her love for visiting historic sites, experiencing firsthand relics and exploring mysteries of our distant past.
As for her poetry, Jamadhi’s words are like no one else’s. It is rare to come across a poet that can bend minds and bring readers into the the present moment with such ease. Attempting to decipher her work is a huge task in itself, but it seems to sprinkled with hints of timeless wisdom, hyper perceptivity and potent emotionality. She even delves into the realms of romantic passion on occasion, though this doesn’t seem to be her main theme. Jamadhi’s poems have a way of inspiring and helping us see life in a different light, even from the moment we look up from her text.
Alec Holmes: Do you remember what first got you started writing poetry?
Jamadhi: I was an introverted and extremely sensitive child and unfortunately, my upbringing was a traumatic one. My delicate nature and the challenging situations surrounding me did not interact positively. As a result, I grew up extremely stifled. I never voiced my needs or expressed my true emotions to those around me. I tried to make myself as small and obliging as possible. This lonely habit carried on into adulthood and I often found myself still not expressing who I truly was or revealing my full potential as a person. It caused a lot of pain and frustration to keep so much held within me and away from the world of interaction.
Poetry was a decision to finally have a voice – to be heard, to be felt, to be seen and acknowledged as an individual who had something real to say and share. After a few years of writing for myself, I took a chance and joined the website Hello Poetry in the hopes that someone else would connect with what I was feeling inside and how I was visualizing external life.
Alec Holmes: Do you believe your upbringing has influenced your poetry?
Jamadhi: Absolutely. My upbringing was one of constant flux. Paradoxically, extreme change was the only thing consistent in my life. By the time I reached high school I had lived in numerous locations within five states, gone to eight schools, and had been raised by many different relatives aside from my parents. There was very little stability or support in my childhood. I learned very early on the transience of life and how precious a fleeting moment truly is. I was acutely aware that every interaction with a person or a place could very well be the last.
Learning to consistently let go of what I knew and loved, to accept what is and make the best of things, to plant appreciation and love deep into a person or a moment, and to above all, forgive — these are all very prevalent themes in my poetry.
Alec Holmes: What inspires you most to write?
Jamadhi: We live in a time where the world can be overwhelming. Issues and current events leave us frightened, angry, and divided. Technology has brought people together, but it has also served to consume and distract us. Our attention is divided between headlines and screens and the racing, unsettled thoughts in between. We remove a level of physical presence and awareness from our lives when we focus so much on electronic connection.
Writing for me encourages a moment of much needed stillness. It helps me take a deep breath and focus on the feelings that arise within myself, grounding me into my body. It helps me reflect on that which is beautiful in life, because there is a tremendous amount of beauty, love, and kindness in this world. You forget this when you are glued to the stories of tragedy in the news. The good stuff – the small things – don’t sell. They aren’t broadcasted. However, when you stay present in a moment and watch the day to day world around you, you will see goodness in so many unexpected ways.
So writing for me inspires and reminds myself that there is a balance in life between dread and joy and that above all, we need to physically reconnect. We need to get back in tune with our inner selves, with nature, and with each other. We need to allow a level of enchantment back into our lives. It is so essential to keep a level of physicality, awe and wonder alive in an increasingly technological world. My poetry endeavors to point towards these moments of magic and asks people to engage with it.
Alec Holmes: What was your writing process like for some of your most well-known poems?
Jamadhi: When I begin to write, I never have an idea in mind. I never think, “I will write a poem about this.” and then start. I clear my mind as if doing meditation and allow the very first line to appear out of nothing. It is always a great surprise to see what materializes. I let my spirit choose what it wishes to speak of, rather than my mind.
My poetry comes to me as a music-like rhythm and as a result, the rhyming in my work happens very naturally. Rhyming has never been restrictive or hindered in any way that which I am trying to convey, because it serves as the integral movement that drives the poem forward into creation. I do not search for rhymes and then try to painstakingly build a poem around them. Rather, the poem moves and flows according to the rhymes rhythm and it shows me what it wishes to say. In essence, it is a dance that moves itself. It does not ask for my help.
Sometimes I sit down and write out my poems, but many of my poems are written while I am taking a walk (or in a work meeting!) and because of its lyric-like rhythm I am able to memorize the lines to be written down later. As a result, I am able to recite the majority of my poetry from memory.
Alec Holmes: Do your poems follow any certain theme?
Jamadhi: My poems have a tendency to branch into two significant themes. One is embracing the magic of a moment of life, feeling and detecting the unseen buzzing within and all around us. I try to draw the reader into the full depth of a moment.
Growing up in quiet solitude I became aware that imagination is not just in the mind. It is a place, a doorway you can step through and access. It is place of experience where you can rehearse and experiment with untouched situations and feelings. You can then take these lessons back with you to better strengthen and come to terms with your everyday life. I try to use words that engage every sense to allow someone to step outside of themselves and into that doorway and live a moment that is not theirs. I ask them to sit and connect with all of their senses and acknowledge what arises within them as they read interact with the experience.
The other theme in my work is the immense draw and force that is love between two people. How one can recognize and perceive themselves through the eyes of another. I like to address the challenges of connection: the bittersweet joy in knowing that finding love means to eventually let go. In love we always juggle a delicate balance between fulfillment and a level of dread. My love poetry is inspired by the challenge of how we can be our highest possible selves to help uphold and give strength to the person we are journeying through life with.
Alec Holmes: Who are some of your favorite poets, who are you most inspired by?
Jamadhi: Rumi, Pablo Neruda, Walt Whitman, Anne Sexton, Rainer Maria Rilke….to name a few. I am inspired by poets who can take our everyday feelings, experiences and surroundings and describe them in a way that gives them new dimension and meaning.
When a writer can take something familiar and then spin it into a doorway that leads to a whole other realm of perception, understanding, and value, it shakes you awake from the spell of the everyday world. It opens your eyes to everything around you as if you were experiencing infancy once again. Suddenly, you see them clearly for the first time as the full miracle and wonder that they are. I find Rumi is especially effective at this and he does it so simply in his work. Every day things suddenly become a great meditation, a driving force to lead spirit to gentle transformation. His natural way of leading readers into soul through the simplicity of a look has been a great source of inspiration for my work.
Alec Holmes: Is there any wisdom, religion or philosophy that you like to live by or incorporate into your work?
Jamadhi: I am a very spiritual person, but do not follow any specific religion. I try to steer clear of strong beliefs. I try to keep all doorways and perceptions open to ensure I never cut myself off from any experience. Certainly Eastern religions and philosophies do resonate very much with my inner state. My work always encourages a meditative stillness. It begs for the moment to be given to full awareness and to feel the interconnectedness of all things — to see oneself reflected inside of another, a flower, a moving stream. To feel empathy and reverence for the smallest details of life so that one can discover that joy is an eternal state from which you grow and are.
Alec Holmes: What is one of your favorite memories that relates to your poetry?
Jamadhi: I don’t have one specific memory, but when I think about these last few years of sharing poetry, the moments that warm my heart are when someone writes to tell me that a poem has been of help to them emotionally or spiritually. When I am told that something I have expressed has given someone peace or clarity regarding a difficult situation or a pain within themselves, I suddenly remember how tremendously important it is to speak your mind and share your voice. You never know what perspectives or feelings you carry inside that may aid and speak to another.
Poetry is very subjective, so you can never be sure how an interpretation of your personal poem will ultimately address an issue inside of a reader. Countless poems written by others have done so much to heal my own inner struggles and shift my perceptions. Reading the hearts of others allows your own emotional doors to open. It gets love and empathy moving through you in exchange. I count myself so lucky to have been healed, taught, and inspired by so many wonderful writers.
Alec Holmes: If you could achieve anything with your poetry, what would it be?
Jamadhi: When I first began sharing my poetry, I wished to be heard. I wished for the first time to have a voice that would encourage people to truly see, feel, and understand me in the ways I was never acknowledged as a child. However, since I began sharing my poetry and interacting with many others my wish has changed.
Now, I hope that when people read my work they do not perceive me, but rather glimpse a reflection of their own selves. I hope it encourages people to realize that we are never alone feeling in the ways that we do, whether positive or negative. We are all journeying, learning, and loving together. In expressing each of our unique perceptions, we manifest the whole of truth. We each shine our own facets and when we connect and share our hearts and vantage points through our art, then love, healing, and acceptance can only grow stronger.
Alec Holmes: Do you have any advice for new poets?
Jamadhi: Follow your heart. Do not try to follow a format or a concept of what poetry should or should not be. Speak your heart language in whatever way it comes. Your individual voice is so needed and necessary. It will speak to those who can recognize your rhythms. As people we must be our authentic selves in order to connect with and help guide those who can hear us.
The moment you find yourself trapped for what to say next in your writing, you are thinking too deeply. Let it be light, feather light. Let it pour out of you as a river to the sea. In doing so you will also learn so much about yourself and what is arising within you. It will bring you in touch with yourself and find you more fined tuned to your inner callings. It will proclaim your joys and drive your transformations. It will speak to people in ways you never could have imagined. Stay open and true to the voice that naturally manifests.
To Read Jamadhi Verse’s Poetry: Click Here.
Jamadhi’s Instagram: Click Here.