Thursday, April 10, 2014

Interview With Carolyn Riker

Welcome to our first weekly interview with one of the poetesses from 'Journey of The Heart: Women's Spiritual Poetry'! 

We begin by introducing you to the lovely Carolyn Riker, one of the first regular contributors to the project. 

Journey of The Heart (JOTH): When and how did you first begin writing poetry?

Carolyn Riker: I was probably eight or perhaps younger when I started writing in a small diary. Simple poems. Sweet thoughts. It had a little lock and key. Each Christmas I received a new diary to write my words.

Which subjects are easiest for you to write about?

It is easiest for me to write about nature and her lovely elements. 

Which subjects are the hardest for you to write about?

Love and relationships. Sometimes it flows eloquently and other times a knot forms in my throat. My voice gets stuck and therefore written words slip through my fingertips.

When do you feel most inspired to write poetry?

When I’m near or in nature. On a hike. Driving on a country road. Near water. 

What is your biggest fear or hesitation when deciding to share a poem with the public?

How much of me is being exposed. What will people think? Is it too much? Is it even good enough?

What is the most profound thing you have learned from writing poems? 

To be concise. Finding just the precise word to bring flavor to the mood, moment, or ecstasy. To find myself lost in a stream of thought and to come out the other side exhausted but satisfied by writing a poem. (tea and chocolate help too)

How is writing poetry a spiritual process for you? 

I tap into my heart and listen. I let go of the chatter. It is meditative to write poetry. A bubble envelopes me but my core is lit. There’s a synergy with the universe. I wish I had words to describe it fully; but English is almost debilitating to my expression of the spiritual process. I often cry with each word – and the feelings I’m trying to convey. Spirit speaks in solitude.

What function has writing poems played for you in your life? 

A lifeline. An umbilical cord to healing, processing, communicating the onslaught (at times) of feelings, emotions….dissecting a sensory overload into a meaningful tutelage. 

Name some of your favorite poetesses. 

 Emily Dickinson, Sylvia Plath, Maya Angelou, Louisa May Alcott, Jane Austen, Christina Rossetti, Mary Oliver….oh this list could keep going on!

What effect has reading the poems of others had on you? 

If the poems are well written, I dissolve into their words. If they're rambling I get weary. I may either laugh or cry. Depends on the spell of the poem and their words.

How did you first discover Journey of The Heart?

November 2012. It was a year of transition and finding my voice again. The universe played a ginormous role and the stars led me to Journey of The Heart. I had no idea my first poem would be published. I hit enter on my ancient computer and a few hours later, I receive your lovely reply….then guidance and an outpouring of love that I can only consider angelic came from you!

Have you publicly shared your poetry before doing so via this project? 

I did have a few poems published, scattered decades ago, but nothing as monumental as this. 

If not, what did it feel like to share your poetry for the first time on Journey of The Heart?

My first poem, published on Journey of The Heart left me breathless. I kept blinking first at my wee cellphone and then to my computer screen….thinking it was a mirage. I told my kids and we did a happy dance in the kitchen. I wasn’t sure if I should even ‘like’ it. I didn’t want anyone to know either. Why? Scared and so uncertain. This is/was a whole new side of me being shared and revealed to many. 

What has been your general experience of sharing your poetry on Journey of The Heart?

Beautiful! The most nurturing, supportive, enlightening, honest and loving experience. What guided me to Journey of the Heart? The need to be heard and held by the hand. I didn’t have a bio or even a picture.  I found someone to believe in my words and sprinkle kindness to let them grow. 

Any last words you’d like to share about poetry? 

Poetry is an intricate dance of love and heart. It languishes by the sea and dips into the storms. Poetry has an eloquence of bittersweet joy and a splash of melancholy.  It is love.

Carolyn Riker is an elementary teacher, mental health counselor, writer and a poet who finds comfort and balance in her kids, nature, music and her sweet cat Copper.  She can be seen sipping soy lattes, nibbling on dark chocolate or savoring a full-bodied red wine. Introspective, forthright, kind and compassionate, she intertwines life with yoga, meditating and learning about Vedic Astrology and Ayurveda.  She also writes for Elephant Journal and Rebelle Society. Carolyn can be reached via her e-mail address or on facebook here.  

~If you are one of the poetesses from 'Journey of the Heart', and would like to appear in this blog, just click here to request an interview. We are excited to learn more about you!~

~If you write poetry and would like to share it on 'Journey of The Heart', click here for submission guidelines. And thank you for your interest!~ 


  1. Thank you, dear Carolyn, for helping us launch the debut of this blog! I loved interviewing you and especially knowing that the sharing of your poetry at 'Journey of The Heart' has proven to be such a meaningful experience for you. In your answers above, you spoke of poetry as your "lifeline" or "umbilical cord" that connects you with healing, processing emotions, etc. I can very much relate to this as I've engaged poetry in this capacity since I was a little girl. Thank you again for sharing!

  2. Carolyn, after reading, and loving, your poetry for months it's wonderful to hear how the process of creating poetry unfolds in you. While I do love all of the poetesses at Journey of the Heart, your poems ignite my heart every time :)