6 Questions with Eighteen Inches Author Mirtha Michelle
Mirtha Michelle’s latest collection, Eighteen Inches, came out Sept. 15 from Andrews McMeel Universal. Since its release, Michelle’s evocative and vulnerable fourth title has inspired others through its wisdom and its interesting concept of relating the heart and the mind, or emotion and reason. The beloved poet—who currently has 100,000 Instagram followers—talked with Read Poetry about her lifelong love for poetry, how she hopes to connect with readers, and her creative ambitions.
Kara Lewis (KL): You’ve written poetry since you were 6. What drives your connection to poetry?
Mirtha Michelle (MM): I love words, and I love to feel. I have also always had a need to express myself. Poetry is my God-given creative outlet, just like how the singer needs to sing. I see poetry in everything—the good and the bad, the dark and the light. It’s my way to learn more about myself and humanity.
KL: Eighteen Inches is your fourth collection. How has your poetry evolved so far throughout your writing career?
MM: I feel that in the beginning of my career I mainly wrote about love and heartbreak—what many young poets do, because lost love often overpowers every other feeling. My poetry has now evolved to reflect a more balanced expression of my entire essence. I have developed the courage to express my dreams, faith, and confidence in my poetry as well.
KL: What themes and messages do you hope readers find in Eighteen Inches?
MM: The main theme in Eighteen Inches is the power of decisions. We are faced with choices every day. Are we making them with our hearts, or are we making them with our heads? I’d love the reader to be inspired to look within and make the best choice for their soul and to accept the love within the pages of the book.
I find that many times, people read books for guidance, and the best advice I can always give is to learn and be kind to yourself. I hope that sharing my journey of learning about myself can motivate others to do the same.
KL: Eighteen Inches revolves around the idea of the heart and the mind. How do these two forces interact? How do they inform your collection?
MM: I think that in order to live a balanced life, we need both the mind and the heart. Often, human beings allow for one to overpower the other. I myself was all heart until I learned that I needed a balance. I needed to apply those eighteen inches between head and heart. I shared those lessons and personal truths in the book, along with my understanding that the soul is what balances the mind and heart.
KL: In addition to your poetry, you’re also a successful actress. Do you find any similarities between poetry and acting? Does one help inspire the other for you?
MM: They are definitely somewhat connected. The root of the theatre is poetry—performance poetry. I first fell in love with poetry, then performing followed. In my life, I see acting as an artistic branch, but poetry is always the seed.
KL: What’s next for you creatively?
MM: Screenwriting! I’ve always wanted to combine my love of film and writing and create stories for the screen. My eyes are set on conquering that next phase!
Order Eighteen Inches by Mirtha Michelle here.