My name is Izabell Jöraas Skoogh and I studied creative writing as an international student-athlete at Saint Leo University in Tampa, FL, for a couple of years. I was encouraged by my English professor to continue writing and was later published in the Sandhill Review Magazinein 2017 with ”Under the Surface”.
Have you ever been SMITTEN and if so, do you feel it’s possible to summarize those feelings in poetry?
Yes, I have, and I think the pros of being able to write in both English and Swedish, even though I’m constantly working to improve in both, is that it provides me the chance to decide which words capture the feelings I’m looking for the best in a certain piece. I am convinced that a poetry piece can make the readers feel and, in that sense, it would be possible to summarize feelings for the reader to mirror it within themselves, — only to the extent of their own experiences, though.
- When you found out SMITTEN was about women who loved women, without the emphasis on erotica that is usually the case – could you immediately think of ways to express that love through writing?
Yes, I was beyond happy to have the chance to share different kinds of love in poetry pieces without the focus on erotica. Love comes in so many different shapes and forms – yes, sex is one of them, but there’s so much more. For the writers of the poetry pieces featured in this anthology, capturing other aspects of love is a beautiful masterpiece.
- What does it mean to you to be part of something like SMITTEN and have your work alongside other women who love women?
I am extremely happy and excited to be a part of SMITTEN. I think the sense of belongingness in a community can make stronger individuals. One of my pieces featured in SMITTEN is “Community” and was inspired by how I was accepted into sharing a moment where I didn’t have to feel different or wrong – this is another moment like that.
- Your poems in SMITTEN was excellent, why did you choose those poems and what did you hope it would convey to readers?
As mentioned above, my piece “Community” is about those moments where you get invited and accepted to be who you are and the genuine inspiration and power you feel from others in settings where you don’t have to spend energy analyzing what other people think of you. With this piece, I hope to convey to the readers that the smallest act of kindness can mean a lot.
My other poems, “Innocence” and “Every Minute of Us”, are opposites of each other, where “Innocence” is the beginning of love and “Every Minute of Us” is the end of a love that won’t let you go. I think many of us have been there at some point, and I hope one can look back at those moments and still see the magic.
- How does being a poet inform your views on expressing emotions through writing?
When I was younger I had a hard time expressing my feelings, especially the “negative” ones such as sadness, anger and/or guilt. Writing helped me to stop censoring myself as much. To write about emotions, good or bad, helped me organize what I felt, but I rarely dared to share them with anyone. Now writing is a tool for me to capture moments of emotions and I hope to share these moments through my writing with everyone who wants to partake in the journey with me.
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