National Poetry Month Celebration
Bio: Deanna Nikaido is the author of two collections of poetry, Voice Like Water and Vibrating With Silence and holds a degree in Illustration from Art Center College of Design. Voice Like Water was selected in the Small Press Bookwatch July 2009 by Midwest Book Review. Her poems have appeared in several anthologies and journals and in 2006 she was a guest poet for Rumi’s 800th Birthday Celebration at the Visionary Art Museum.
She is a senior coach and design consultant for Bookinday(www.bookinaday.org), a non-profit hands-on literacy project that teaches students the fundamentals of creative writing, through poetry and book publication; is Maryland’s North and Western Regional Coordinator for the national recitation program, Poetry Out Loud(www.poetryoutloud.org); and sits on the board for Artblocks (www.artblocks.org), a nonprofit organization, whose mission is to provide Baltimore neighborhoods with creative placemaking, a grassroots design tool used to identify the community’s projects and goals for its public spaces.
All winter long I’ve been watching
the sound sleep of the lake.
Springs slow decision to arrive.
And we like what’s to come, are layers deep.
Too young for the moment we’re in
perfect and terrible--
The wind carrying the seed taking the house with it.
The earth quenched by rain that forgets to stop.
And the heart, invisible beneath this body’s mud
is more than itself;
more than the ordinary planet turning in our humanness.
Unshattered like this lake
that never drinks or thirsts.
Like these lotus sipping through hidden stems
that always find their way through the dark.
Where do you draw your inspiration from to write poetry?
For me writing poetry is more of a listening process where pen point hits the page and a conversation begins. I never plan to write a poem about this or that and even if I do it tends to lead me to some unforeseen place where it wants to tell me something. And strangely enough there is comfort in this unknowing where little by little another layer falls away and I see another connection I didn’t notice before. You can learn a lot listening to silence.
What advice do you have for someone that is threatened by poetry?
I would tell them to come out to a Poetry Out Loud recitation competition in their area and listen to the most amazing high school students recite poetry by heart, or attend a local reading of poetry in their area. Poetry comes alive when you hear it read aloud because it calls upon your emotional intelligence. It’s about connecting to that part of you that is connected to everything else.
What is an interesting fact about you?
I like to collect small rocks or pebbles from places I’ve been or when people visit places and want to know what they can bring me that is what I ask them to bring me.
Where are you from/Where do you live?
I am originally from Denver Colorado. I have lived in 8 different states, 7 of them before I finished high school. Currently I reside in Baltimore MD
Who is your favorite poet?
Although I have many favorite poems hands down, Rumi is my favorite poet.