The poems filled with hope
“Poetry is when an emotion has found its thought
and the thought has found words.”
In a recent interview about his newly published book: Pandemic Thoughts : Poems of a youngster, Raphael Canali reveals the ins and outs of the journey of writing this book and its purpose.
Led by the US best selling author Dr. Melissa Caudle, this interview is meant to understand what the message Canali wanted to share through his poems and why it was important to him, as a writer but also as a person, to share his work with the world.
Inspired by current events of our time, this collection of poems was written during the pandemic as a response of hope and joy to the loneliness and sadness many people felt during this challenging time. As we emerge from these unprecedented times, the poems also represent the emotion that many people felt, once the world was able to socially engage with one another again.
Delving into the mystic and the potential of humanity and human development, this book will resonate with those who want to explore the gift of life and the everyday beautiful opportunities it gives us to not only find ourselves but to also grasp the rarity of life itself, what many of us tend to sometime forget.
Engaging in various and everyday situation, everyone will be able to recognize themselves in Canali’s poems and enjoy a new and poetic way to address them.
Having already sold in various country like Brazil, India, France, Italy, the UK or in the USA, the 22-years old author invites you join the journey through his writings to take a look back on what was, how we were able to get out of it and the beautiful aspects of life and its opportunities it holds for each and every one of us in the future.
To dig more into it, you will find below the interview of Raphael Canali and his book Pandemic Thoughts: Poems of a youngster.
Interview of Raphael Canali – Pandemic Thoughts: Poems of a youngster
Led by Dr. Melissa Caudle
1 – Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
Hello everyone, my name is Raphael Canali, a 22-year-old French and Italian law Student who grew up in Germany, Munich. There, I attended the European School where I had the chance to grow up in a Multi-lingual environment and where I learned English, which quickly became my favorite language to write in.
I have various interests in my life but to me, the three most important ones include sports, animal welfare activism, and of course reading and writing.
From a young age, reading was always a pleasure for me, which then developed into a hobby and interest in not only literature on a worldwide level but also philosophy. To be honest, everything that involved words, their power, and the possibilities they offer each one of us to describe the world, how we see and feel it, I loved.
This is what I like the most about writing, it allows us to express ourselves and share feelings to others, sometimes resonating with them and their personal situations of life without knowing them personally. That is the power of words, creating a personal relationship between the reader and the writer based on the transmission of emotions through writing, like a musician would do with their songs and the painter with his paintings.
That is why I took the step to sum up these many years of interest and a particular affection for words, books, and what they allow us to share of ourselves with the world and decided to publish my very first book.
2 – What inspired you to author this book?
To answer what inspired me to write that book, the question that should be answered first is how the inspiration started. I was 19 years old when I just came back from a long day at university and for the first time in my life found a video, totally unrelated to the other recommendations I had on YouTube, of a public reading of Charles Bukowski and his poems. I have to say at that time; I wasn’t that familiar with this art of literature that is poetry. Of course, I had read some in the past but never really dug into it further like another genre of writing. What followed is 1h of pure fascination with what poetry had to offer when talking about the possibilities to describe the world, and your emotions and express yourself freely. From there, thanks to that Bukowski public reading, I interested myself more in the art of poetry and before I knew it, started to write my own.
A major turning point was the coronavirus pandemic. I was around 20 years old and lived in Paris at the time it started. From there, as we all know, restrictions were taken including having to stay at home and the university closing. That’s when I really started to write on a daily basis, especially poems. In these poems, I would write what I saw during that pandemic period, what I felt, and how I felt the world surrounding me. This period was very challenging for many and to face these challenges, I personally translated these feelings into words and poetry. But these poems don’t limit themselves to the pandemic period. As a matter of fact, as I said before, philosophy was always a subject that interested me. Thinking about life, its nature of it, what it offers, and how we can grasp it fully are all themes that I tried to explain on a personal level through my poems.
Fortunately, at one point we were all allowed to slowly get back to a “normal” life, and cities around the world slowly began to get their sparkle of life again. This transition was also a big inspiration for me, seeing how things were slowly getting better and that animation of life around us we had nearly forgotten, a hope of freedom that we all had and that finally came true. As a matter of fact, hope and freedom and the sweet human ideal of it are also a big part of my book.
The main reason I wanted to share my book with the world is to share all these various emotions and states of mind, describing life in all its aspects through the beauty of poetry.
3 – Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
For the cover, I wanted something simple and to the point, which represented the journey through my book. More so, I wanted to represent myself, more precisely the idea of myself while writing the book. The front cover represents a man on a bench, who seems to think. On the back cover the same man, relaxed and who now seems to dream. That is what I would say represented the journey of writing the book for me. Thinking of what life is able to give to us but also, during the pandemic to take from us. How one can face it the best way possible and make the most out of it. Life is a rare chance that we sometimes forget we have, understanding it through the dreaming of poetry is what I tried to do.
My goal is to share this sensation with the reader. While reading, thinking of the good and bad times, in life, knowing we welcomed the good ones and overcame the bad ones while dreaming of a better tomorrow.
4 – Who has been the most significant influence on you personally and as a writer?
As a writer, I have to say Charles Bukowski. Like I said, I think that if I didn’t stumble upon the video of his public reading, I may have missed the opportunity to interest myself more in the genre of Poetry and maybe would have continued on Novels and essays.
So yes, thanks to him a follow-up of events happened that led me to start writing poetry on my own and, who would have thought, being able to publish my first book of poetry. Bukowski was, just like me, someone who liked to observe the world and translate what he saw and felt into words he shared with us. That honesty and loyalty to life and all it has to offer always resonated with me.
Personally, I would have to say my grandmother on the Italian side, my “Nonna”. Just like me at my age, she also wrote quite a lot of poems, describing her feelings and views of life. What’s funny is that I only knew about it after I finished my book, which of course surprised me, in a positive way. Having a very close and strong relationship with her, her support always meant a lot to me and still does to that day.
5 – What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
Difficult time, may it be the COVID-19 pandemic or other times, depending on each person’s personal circumstances, much of the time leads to many mixed feelings. Being someone who likes to go out with friends and discover new things, the fact that I had to stay home but also the fact of seeing so much distress around the world made me experience many different feelings and sensations, some I never had before. So sometimes, translating what I felt into my poems in an effective and true way was quite challenging, as sometimes one may not fully understand or grasp it entirely. However, when the restrictions started to be lifted, these struggles started to disappear as life started to be animated again and what was once hope turned into reality.
6 – Tell your readers about your book.
My book is a book celebrating the gift of life, its nature, how one may feel it, what emotions different situations of life may guide us to and what they can teach us to develop ourselves.
Good and beautiful experiences of life are present in my poems, but it wouldn’t be true to what life really is if I didn’t add the more challenging experiences life can give us, just like the covid-19 crisis. While these were trying times, I never lost hope and always tried to see the light at the end of the tunnel, just like I try to do in every challenging situation.
Hope and the will to see a better tomorrow is what guided me in the writing of the poems I share in my book, grasping the true gorgeousness of what life has to propose.
One who is interested to explore the different experiences life allows us to have through the rhythm and rhymes of poems will resonate with this book.
7 – Who is your target audience, and why?
Good and trying times happen to everyone, especially during this pandemic. Therefore, I don’t have a particular audience I wanted to target. I tried to write in such a way that it can resonate with the most people possible, whatever their age, their personal situation, or personal beliefs. Emotions and life are two universal things I tried to translate and share with the reader.
8 – What do you consider your greatest success in life?
I am still quite young so I don’t know if greatest success is the right word for I have still a lot to do and accomplish. But there is however many things I am very proud of like being able to be accepted into my dream University, my activism for things I believe in like animal welfare, or simply the fact to always try to see the positive sides of things no matter how hard the situation is. To be true, my biggest personal achievement would actually be this book. It comes a long way from many years of interesting myself in literature, writing, life’s meaning, and the beautiful possibilities it offers. Publishing this book made me realize one thing if you like something and it makes you happy, do it and pursue it no matter how trying or hard it can sometimes be. I always had the wish to one day be able to share my words with the world and today I am very glad I didn’t give up on the idea that did bring much joy to my younger self.
9 – What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
Poetry itself is a very unique genre. You won’t find many younger folks who can share their works of poetry with the world and be able to reach many people.
A lot of the time the scene is given to authors of the past like Robert Frost or Ferlinghetti for example. Of course, their works are amazing and their contribution to the world of poetry and literature is immense but sometimes you also have to give it’s chance to the younger people for poetry is a too precious art to not be continued by our younger generations.
Some may find that 22 years old is young, but my goal was to write about an experience we all have together, life, in such a way it could resonate with everyone.
I tried to look deep into my heart to translate my feelings in their purest form possible, so the reader understands them on a personal level. Writing separates itself from no one, it allows us to live just like we are and on the same level as everyone, allowing us to depict the joy and harder times we all face in life. That is the beauty of writing and poetry that I try to share.