Poet Eleanor Russell, known as e.russell, dishes on her debut book from my soul to yours, on working with a publisher for the first time, her creative bucket list, and finding fame in the Instagram poetry community.
E. Russell’s poetry (@e.russellpoetry) is overflowing with themes of self-love, ambition, growing pains, independence, and redemption. In her poetry, she doesn’t shy away from mental health and self-reflection, which we at little infinite greatly appreciate. Russell’s poetry gives us a relatable look into navigating life with a creative mind. We loved getting to know her better, and we know you will too.
little infinite: What was the first moment you knew that poetry was going to be the writing style for you? What sparked it for you?
Eleanor Russell: Well it first started with me seeing the odd poetry post on tumblr and then with my friend ordering me ‘Milk and Honey‘ by the obviously very talented Rupi Kaur, and it just seemed to spark something from there. I was struggling quite severely with my mental health at the time and I don’t know why, I just decided to see if it could be a good outlet for all the racing thoughts and anxieties within myself. Low and behold, I fell in love. It helped me to start to make more of a sense of my thoughts & feelings, and by giving them a home on paper, it freed them from my mind.
li: Writing poetry and sharing poetry are two very different things. What made you decide to write AND share your poems? What drew you to sharing your poetry on social media?
ER: You’re definitely right with that one! It took me a while to come to the decision of sharing my work, poetry is very much raw and comes straight from the heart, and it’s always hard to share such a delicate thing with anyone, isn’t it? However so, there was just something in me that was yearning for me to let people see, and that I knew I may help others who also may be experiencing similar hardships. I never thought that it would lead me to where I am now, or to where I will be, but I am so glad that I never listened to the doubt I did have.
“I never thought that it would lead me to where I am now, or to where I will be, but I am so glad that I never listened to the doubt I did have.”– Eleanor Russell
li: Congratulations on your debut book being published! The collection, entitled from my soul to yours, is (super) newly released. Give us insight into this book and what we can expect?
ER: Aw why thank you so much! This book is something very dear to my heart, it’s a collection of poetry, which explores mental health, love for yourself & them, female empowerment and self-healing & growth. The poems were never really written with a book being in mind, they’re pieces from over the past 2-3 years that I’ve been writing and is broke up into four chapters: you, i, them & us. I named it from my soul to yours as it literally feels like a little piece of myself, which I am now sharing with the world, in which it will hopefully help others as it has me.
li: What did you learn from working with a publisher? Did you find it pushed you to refine your work, or we’re there any surprises throughout the process that you didn’t anticipate?
ER: I found it great working with Leaf Publishing, I think it helped that I had already built a rapport with Adil Dad (the director) beforehand, so I found it easy to ask any questions or when putting forward any concerns. I don’t think it pushed me to refine my work in anyway, my work is my work and to start thinking too much into it I feel would take away the authenticity of it, what you see is what you get haha! There were no surprises either really, the cover design, which was put to me at first I wasn’t so keen on, but it was rectified to something, which I then loved, so I can’t really complain!
li: When you’re working through your creative writing process, which step is the most crucial for you? What do you do to beat writer’s block?
ER: I suppose it depends you know, a lot of the time I like to write when I am at home. I’ll open the window, light an incense stick and just meditate for a few minutes to clear my mind before I sit with my laptop. I find it tends to come a lot more naturally when my mind isn’t so busy and I’ve allowed real emotions and thoughts to surface. However, sometimes the words will come when I’m just going about life as you do, then I just grab my phone and write them down in my notes. I tend to try and not fight writer’s block, to me if the words aren’t there they’re not there for a reason, and that they will come when needs be! To me, it would spoil the enjoyment and bliss that I get from writing if I forced myself to.
li: What types of poems do your fans love the most? What are some of the best discussions your poems have prompted among your community?
ER: I tend to find that poems regarding self-love and growth are loved the most. I think everyone needs to love themselves a little more, and to hope that I can maybe remind them to do so brings me great happiness. I suppose some of the best discussions which have been prompted are in regards to mental health. I’ve been quite open on my Instagram about how I’ve been diagnosed with EUPD (emotionally unstable personality disorder) and always wanted others in the community to feel they can speak openly about their mental health, as I believe it’s helped me tremendously. I love how the poetry community is, I’ve experienced nothing but true understanding and support and they’ve helped through some difficult times when my symptoms have flared up, I’ll forever be grateful.
“I love how the poetry community is, I’ve experienced nothing but true understanding and support and they’ve helped through some difficult times when my symptoms have flared up, I’ll forever be grateful.”– Eleanor Russell
li: You have a very strong sense of personal style and aesthetic on Instagram. Each poem illustrates such different emotions, how did you decide what creative direction you wanted to go when sharing your work on social media?
ER: Yes haha, I’m very much a perfectionist and I’ve always had an eye for the way things look and how I present them. I suppose I just know what I like, I have a tumblr blog called elrxssell which has a very neutral theme and I wanted to mirror that on my Instagram page. To me, it’s important to give yourself some type of identity which can be recognisable, that’s why I’ve always stuck with the same font and theme etc. I wanted my book from my soul to yours to also follow a similar aesthetic, which is why I went for the white and gold cover.
li: How do you stay true to yourself especially now with social media impacting how poetry lovers discover poetry? Does it change the way you approach poetry at all?
ER: Not at all. My poetry has to come from the heart, if it wasn’t it just wouldn’t sit comfortably with me. My art is who I am, and I would dislike portraying to the world someone who I was not. I try to live as my most authentic self, on paper and throughout life, as I feel most of us have forgotten who we truly are in today’s societies. There’s something truly freeing with just being as you know you should, I’m not saying it’s easy in the slightest, however.
li: Your work has been reposted (with credit, yay!) by notable celebrities like Khloe Kardashian and Atticus. How did you feel the first time someone you recognized reposted your work? Has it changed as you’ve grown?
ER:Ah, to me, it showed me that I was heading in the right direction. I believe the universe gives you signs as to when you are following the right path, and they reminded me as to why it is I started writing. This is something that I want to do for the rest of my life and it’s made me so much more sure of how my future may be, it has made me much more determined to give it my all.
li: What are your goals for your poetry this year? Do you have a creative bucket list you’re working toward? What larger impact would you like your art to make?
ER: Oh I have quite a few to be honest! I can’t wait to see how many beautiful people ‘from my soul to yours’ touches. I’ve also thought of maybe starting to sell prints of my work as well as starting on working on the next book! In general, I’d love for my writing to eventually give me a platform were I can use it to bring more awareness to things such as mental health, self love, etc. as there’s a lot of issues I’ve experienced first hand and know many others will have to. To me, as cliche as it sounds, just knowing that I may have resonated with just one person through my words, just means the world to me. I feel like this is what I’m here to do, and I cannot wait to see how it will all unfold.