Exclusive Interview with Gabriela Marie Milton – Author
Gabriela Marie Milton is an internationally published author and the editor of MasicadoresUSA. Her literary work appeared in various magazines and anthologies. Under the pen name Gabriela M she was awarded 2019 Author of the Year at Spillwords Press (NYC). Her piece If I say I love you was nominated for 2020 Spillwords Press Publication of the Year (Poetic). She is the author of Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings published in April 2020.You can find her book on Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Passions-Love-Poems-Other-Writings/dp/0578666073
and on BARNES&NOBLE at https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/passions-gabriela-marie-milton/1136894692
Her second poetry collection Woman: Splendor and Sorrow will be published by Vita Brevis Press on July 31, 2021.
NY Glam: What projects are you currently working on?
After my two collections of poetry and poetic prose, Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings (Vita brevis Press, 2020), and Woman: Splendor and Sorrow which will be published by Vita Brevis on July 31, I hope to start working on a new book of poetry.
The theme of my poetry collections is love. Yet Woman: Splendor and Sorrow also includes philosophical thoughts on literature, on winning and losing, on feminism, and on life in general. As Brian Geiger, editor of Vita Brevis Press, writes in the preface:
“Woman is a triumphant collection of poetry. Milton explores with sincerity and great craft the many faces of identity and womanhood. This is the sort of poetry collection that will resonate with any reader.”
I am thrilled with his description, as I was with the reviews I received for Passions from San Francisco Book Review and Manhattan Book Review.
When Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings came out Bobbie Peyton of San Francisco Book Review wrote:
“Gabriela Marie Milton’s new collection of short poems and flash fiction offers a series of contemplative and intimate writings about the shifting landscape of love.…
The series transports us on a journey of love as much as it delivers us a thematically diverse set of emotions. This is a superb collection.”
Jo Niederhoff, Manhattan Book Review, stated: “Where Milton really shines is in her imagery. These are no Keats-style odes, with stanza upon stanza to describe a single vase. Her descriptions come out in briefer segments: one line here, another there. She doesn’t paint details so much as she paints a feeling, with just enough precision that it becomes real nevertheless. Her words are chosen precisely, showing a distinct shade of blue or a particular floral scent. There is no laziness in her lines.”
I was pleased with the praise and the sales. Yet, I hope that Woman: Splendor and Sorrow does even better. I hope my readers will enjoy it.
As for new projects I plan to write another poetry book and a children’s book.
NY Glam: What is this book/project about?
My third poetry collection will be ready next year. In it I want to capture not only love and beauty, but other themes such as climate deterioration, the present lowering level of the standard of living, the growing mental crisis facing our society, the viciousness of the structures of power that oppress and exclude.
As for the children’s book… Oh, I cannot wait to start the children’s book… In it I want to explore the youthfulness of magic together with the innocence of childhood. The text will be playful. Children learn through the irresistible magic of play. I have a title and the book lives inside me.
NY Glam: What genre are your books?
These days, I mainly write poetry.
NY Glam: What draws you to this genre?
I grew up in Europe. I used to live in different countries. English is not my native language. I like to say that I grew up immersed in literature. I love novels. Yet, I did not walk in the streets of Europe repeating to myself entire passages from the many novels I adore. I walked in those streets breathing the beauty of poetry, repeating in my mind one stanza or another from Rimbaud, T. S. Eliot, Seferis, and/or García Lorca.
To me, poetry is the magnificence which reflects upon the landscape of our souls.
NY Glam: What are your biggest accomplishments thus far?
My accomplishments. Aren’t we living in an epoch that taught us to show off? I am smiling. Let’s see. Perhaps, the prize I was awarded for a novel I wrote under another name in my native tongue. Someday I hope to write a novel in English under the name Gabriela Marie Milton. Perhaps my 2019 Author of the Year at Spillwords Press NYC, an award for the poetry I wrote under the name Gabriela M. I am deeply honored by both awards. Perhaps my first book Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings. Perhaps my second book Woman: Splendor and Sorrow or perhaps my doctoral degree. I am immensely proud of all these accomplishments and deeply grateful to my social media followers, and my family for supporting me.
NY Glam: What is your writing process like?
Poetry writes itself in my soul. The problem is that I have a very demanding profession. I need to find time to get those poetic images that haunt me on paper. I usually write in the evening. I wish I would write every day but I do not have the time to do it.
NY Glam: What three social topics/theme do you care mostly about and why?
Discrimination, abuses of power, and climate change. To some extent they overlap. I despise discrimination with its claim to primordial identities, and its unpalatable claim to superiority. I despise the social construction of “the Other” as the enemy. In the mind of those who discriminate, the danger comes from that which is different, i.e., from the Other. In reality, the danger is inside those who discriminate not outside of them. I am horrified by the centers of power that perpetuate lies and distort reality. Those centers of power that get away with everything: sexual abuses, battery, the creation of vicious discourses, the destruction of our planet. You name it.
NY Glam: What are your top three favorite books?
My favorite poet is Arthur Rimbaud. His work Illuminations left a profound mark in my soul. I recently found a blog on The Guardian written years ago and entitled: “Rimbaud was no genius: The vagabond prodigy promised greatness but never delivered.”I beg to differ.
Further, I love Odysseas Elytis, García Lorca and many others.
When it comes to novels, my favorite novelist is Lawrence Durrell and his tetralogy entitled: The Alexandria Quartet, which Durrell called a “relativist” work, as well as his The Avignon Quintet. I am flabbergasted by some of the criticism that was mounted against Durrell himself and his work. Some of his critics claim Durrell was obsessed – I am paraphrasing – with “love complications.” I will say this: such criticism is pathetic.
NY Glam: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Another book of poetry, a children’s book, and a novel.
I want to write a novel in which the action will not flow in one direction only, but in all directions. Think about how memory works. We do not remember things in chronological order. I want to make a pact with my memory and write things as they come to me, as I feel them, as they overtake over my soul.
I have already written some parts, yet a major problem for me is that I do not have enough time to immerse myself into the writing of an entire novel. At least not now.
NY Glam: Do you express yourself creatively in any other ways?
No. I live to write and to read. It consumes and it replenishes my soul at the same time. I love art but I do not draw or paint. I love music but I do not compose. Simply because I know I cannot excel in those areas. Life is too short to spend it in producing mediocre work. That is one of my mottos.
NY Glam: Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I rarely have writer’s block. It is difficult to advise others on something that I rarely experience. In one of my interviews with Spillwords Press, I stated that if I feel I am not touched by the muse all I have to do is to pick up one of Durrell’s books and read things like this:
“In the great quietness of these winter evenings there is one clock: the sea. Its dim momentum in the mind is the fugue upon which this writing is made. Empty cadences of sea-water licking its own wounds, sulking along the mouths of the delta, boiling upon those deserted beaches– empty, forever empty under the gulls: white scribble on the grey, munched by clouds.”
― Lawrence Durrell, Justine
NY Glam: How do you market your books?
Mainly, my publisher does the marketing. I do what I can on social media. Marketing is exceedingly difficult for me because I write under a penname. There are no gettings together, no signing of books in bookstores, no flowers, no friends to buy a bunch of your books and start writing reviews. Writing under a penname makes marketing a very solitary and difficult journey. Sometimes I feel like a tree branch in winter waiting for spring to come.
Yet, I am incredibly grateful to my social media followers who buy my books, rank them, share the news with others, write reviews. They make me think that one day spring will come.
NY Glam: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Read. Write. Do not compare yourself with others. Stay close to people who inspire and help. Stay true to your heart. Write what your heart tells you to write. Forget about social constraints. Social constraints are put in place by structures of power that fear talent of any kind. They fear progress because progress and awareness diminish their power. They will try to crush your work because it threatens them, and the “righteousness” of their oppressive narratives. Keep going. Greatness always encounters resistance. Let the passion from your heart guide you.
NY Glam: What else can we expect from you this year?
This year is the year of Women: Splendor and Sorrow. I accomplished that. The book came to fruition, and as mentioned, will be on Amazon on July 31. I will continue to publish my pieces of poetry and short prose in various journals, work on a third poetry book, and on my children’s book.
NY Glam: Can you share with us three favorite things about your city/culture?
I can share some of my favorite things, however, not necessarily about the city where I live in the US. I love oceans and beaches; old towns and cobbled streets; fragrant candles and classical music, ethnic food. I love evenings when the sun dies on farway beaches. Dying is the expectation of new birth. I love tropical islands. Hawaii is magnificent. I love autumn with its glorious colors. I love Italian food and trips to Europe. My favorite Nordic cities are Stockholm and Amsterdam. I love the country where I was born, and I love Greece with the magic of its perennial myths. If I say “beauty” my soul trembles. If I say “the beauty of Greece” I transcend words and I feel that I must kneel.
NY Glam: Where can everyone keep up with you to learn more? …social media…website
I blog at https://shortprose.blog/. My Twitter handle is @shortprose1 and my IG is @gabriela_marie_milton.
Thank you for interviewing me and thank you to everyone who reads this interview.