I’m so happy to once more be part of Royal James Publishing’s blog tour – this time for Tiffany Teoh’s collection of poems titled The Traveller Series. I love doing author interviews, because it gives some truly wonderful insight into the creation of the book, as well as providing an opportunity to meet some fantastic people. The book itself is an exquisite collection of images and poems, and well worth adding to your poetry collection.
About The Traveller Series:
The series started from a longing to want to travel after hearing all the good and bad tales from long term backpackers.
Every single piece that made it and didn’t make it in this is book has a special place in my heart as they were the beginning of a journey of a memory that never happened, but a longing that was constant.
We all naturally have it in us to wonder and wander, it’s just a matter of allowing it to take you to places.
When did you start writing poetry?
I first dabbled in song-writing at around ten years old which later led to writing poetry in my teenage years to get some angst out, though I started writing more seriously two years ago when I was 23.
Most of the poems seem to be written in freeform. Have you written any formal styles of poetry, or do you prefer freeform?
I’ve played around with many form of poetry and proses. To be honest the abab rhymes are my favourites. However, most of the poems in this book are free-form because they are meant to take the readers on a journey of the character’s thoughts, rather than to just entertain the readers. I wanted to make the readers feel as if they are there.
The Traveller Series was inspired by your desire to travel and see the world, but a lot of the poems in it also seem to deal with love and loss. These seem to be universal concepts experienced by anyone who’s ever been in a relationship. Do you think that travelling – specifically the immersion into one place before leaving for another – is a metaphor for the experiences that love brings to people?
Actually, The Traveller Series was first inspired by a boy I fell in love with once, but we couldn’t be together as his first love was to keep travelling and he couldn’t remain with me. I wrote the first few poems to help me get through the heart aches and further developed the series when I started travelling myself. The book as a whole is meant to encapsulate the experiences of a traveller i.e. The excitement of being in a new place, a love for the world as they learn to see it, and meeting as well as having to part with people that you meet.
There’s a simple elegance in your poetry. I especially love this one:
“Humanity is my father,
Nature is my mother,
the world is my home.”
What inspires you to write and do you follow a routine or write when the urge takes you?
Thank you, that’s one of my personal favourites as well. My inspiration comes from people. I enjoy hearing the philosophies and stories of others. Sometimes they move me so much that I feel they have to be preserved in a physical form. That’s usually when I have the urge to write. I try to have a routine but I’ve learnt creativity can’t work that way all the time. It’s better to just have a pen and paper ready at all times when I feel something profound coming.
Which poets/authors would you say have influenced you the most, if any?
I find so much bravery and sweetness in Lang Leav. It’s not always easy to share with the world some matters of the heart, plus readers would assume that the author is the main character all the time which is not always the case. I also love Oscar Wilde’s romanticism and elegance – I think those elements should always be preserved in poetry. Edgar Alan Poe’s work was actually what got me into writing poetry instead of songs. I love the stories he tells in poetic form. Annabel Lee is my favourite.
If there’s one thing you would want readers to take away from your poems, what would it be, and why?
I just want them to finish the book and feel awakened with a renewed sense of empathy towards people. There’s always more to the story than the summary of it. We are all just travelling through life and it makes this world a better place when we are kind and mindful to each other.
About Tiffany Teoh
Tiffany is a Malaysian born Chinese, of Peranakan heritage. She was raised in Kuala Lumpur until the age of 17 and proceeded to live in Australia for 8 years until the age of 25. She is currently hitchhiking and traveling around the world with her fiancé and their puppy. For more on Tiffany, visit her website.