Serious Insight into the Art of Poetry from Jade of @ShipsWithSails – li Voices

li voices interview, modern poet

Jade of @shipswithsails lets us in on the story behind her Instagram name, her most helpful resource, and what she would tell an up-and-coming poet.

Ten seconds of scrolling through her Instagram page is all it takes to fall in love with her words. Jade is a creator through and through, falling in love with writing from a young age. She experimented with various writing outlets since she was a teenager but always returned back to poetry. She uses art and imagery to drive her words home, even more, making her poetry an experience to consume. We know you will enjoy learning from her. Meet, Jade!

little infinite: When did you know poetry would be the writing outlet for you? Introduce us to your journey as a poet and how you got to where you are currently.

Jade: I became interested in poetry from quite an early age. I remember having a children’s poetry book that had a mixture of poems by “Roald Dahl” called Dirty Beasts, which was a somewhat vivid collection of writing based around the unusual exploits of unsuspecting animals. I still find the concept truly wonderful, even now as an adult. So thanks to Roald Dahl, the seed of love for creative writing was planted. I went on through my teenage years experimenting with different styles of writing, but it eventually led me back home to poetry. 

li: What is your creative process like? If you could dish on the “weirdest” or the most unique part of your writing process, what would it be?

J: I wouldn’t say I have a particularly strange process when writing, although I’m sure everyone’s process differs and is unique to them. I tend to write as soon as I wake up (that is usually first thing in the morning, however, these creative bursts can occasionally wake you, mid-drift. They also have a habit of demanding to be put down on paper before they allow you to sleep again!) I find it easier to collect my thoughts and inspiration before I’m influenced too heavily by day-to-day life.

I always use a typewriter, or pen and paper, as I think it helps my writing to be more organic, as well as making the process quieter. There is nothing more lovely than sitting outside first thing in the morning, before the day has crept into your mind, with nothing but the gentle breeze, a cup of coffee and your words. 

li: Your poetry is displayed in an incredibly beautiful way. Have you always been into the design side of writing? Or did this come through getting your poetry out there?

J: I have always been very interested in writing paired with art. Tracey Emin was one of my main inspirations when I first started experimenting with them together, there was something very raw and honest about her text. Even though she is predominantly an artist, to see the two combined together was very refreshing to me. 

li: Your poetry has a very strong sense of personal style. How did you figure out your aesthetic as a poet? How have your designs and creative evolved since you started writing?

J: My designs have always been based around pieces that are typed out, so it was quite a natural process when deciding on a theme. The poetry always comes first, then I curate an image that compliments the poem and accentuates the message behind it. More recently, I decided to introduce some handwritten posts to go alongside the typed ones, as it just felt a little more personal.

li: If you could recommend one resource that has helped you during your poetry and writing journey, what would it be? This can be a certain app, website, book, podcast, journal, etc.

J: Pinterest has been a really helpful resource for me. It’s very visual and creating a board of images from photographers, artists, illustrators etc. has been a great way to dip in and out of things that inspire me.

li: What is the inspiration behind your Instagram handle, @shipswithsails? What is the story behind the name?

J: “Ships with Sails” is the name of a song by the band The Doors. I have always written a lot of poetry based around the ocean and I wanted a name that would complement this. (Also, it’s a wonderful song!)

li: You have created a community of over 10k people on Instagram, congratulations! Which types of poems do you find your audience responds to the most? Have you found this influences the content in your poetry? Why or why not?

J: Thank you! I have found that my audience tends to respond most to the poems they can relate to. I guess your feelings seem a little less daunting knowing someone else has experienced them too. I admit it can become tempting to post things that you feel will have a better response because when you’ve written something very personal and raw to you, putting it into the hands of a reader can be a little scary! But it’s important to remember that freeing your words into the world can help you to grow as a writer and also as a person. What you create is beautiful, because it belongs to you.

“I guess your feelings seem a little less daunting knowing someone else has experienced them too.”

– Jade, @Shipswithsails

li: If you could give a new writer one piece of advice for starting out, what would that piece of advice be? Why does this piece of advice personally stand out to you?

J: Write, write and write some more! Not everything you write has to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be an earth-moving piece of poetry to be worthy of living outside your mind! Get everything out in front of you on paper, dissect it, re-write it, show the world, never show anyone, leave it in a library book for a stranger to find! Just keep writing. I always used to keep all my ideas in my mind, but once I started getting them onto paper the writing process became much easier.

“Write, write and write some more! Not everything you write has to be perfect, it doesn’t have to be an earth-moving piece of poetry to be worthy of living outside your mind!”

– Jade, @shipswithsails

li: What is next on your creative bucket list? Where do you hope to see your poetry and influence going in the community?

J: I would love to eventually create something that is a physical copy of my work! I know it’s every writer’s dream to write a book, but until then I’m thinking about creating something a little more handmade. 

I want my poetry to continue being a window into my mind, a way to document my growth as a human, and a place you can visit when you are looking for hope.  

li: What does #PoetryForLife mean to you? 

J: Once you develop a love for writing, it seems to become an extension of you, it’s almost like a key to a world you didn’t know was within you; you see things slightly differently, find beauty in the once overlooked. When you find poetry, or it finds you, it stays with you for life.

To see more of Jade, follow her on Instagram: (@shipswithsails.)