Poehemian Press Founder Eva X on Poetry, Publishing, Play-Doh & Poe

Eva X is a young Greco-American poet, artist, publisher, podcaster, performer, retailer and blogger. She brings poets together and promotes their work through a variety of channels.

So. Eva. Happy Birthday to Poehemian Press, which celebrates its first anniversary today! Take us through its evolution so far.

Thank you, Owain! Years ago, my good friend Suzy and I co-founded a poetry group and press called True Colors. We used to co-host poetry readings in the area for several months and now the project is currently on hiatus. Exactly a year ago, I decided to branch off of that and start my own project. Poehemian Press has been accepting poetry submissions for online publication, and just recently I also accept art and book review submissions.

A few months ago, I decided to put together a paperback anthology entitled “The Universe Inside” which features poems that were entered into Poehemian’s very first poetry contest. To this day, the submissions just keep on rolling in and on a yearly basis, I put together an electronic magazine of the best submissions. Poehemians Issue I is a very eclectic, inspiration-packed collection, to say the least.

And what does Poehemian actually mean, you might ask? “Poe·he·mi·an: a poet/artist who does not adhere to the norm; a bohemian of poetry or art; a poet/artist who is quite possibly inspired by the great Edgar Allan Poe.”

Ha! I saw you on You Tube recently reading your favourite Poe poem in celebration of his birthday. What is it about this 200-and-something-year-old man that you so adore?

I can’t quite put finger my on it, but every single poem and story I have ever read by this man has inspired me greatly. What can I say? He’s a literary genius. What especially inspires me is the fact that Poe is the first well-known American writer to earn a living through writing alone. Well, he tried to, but struggled quite a bit. Kudos to him regardless. Plus he’s quite handsome for a 204 year old, isn’t he?

He’s a dashing fella, Eva. A dashing fella I tell thee. But yeah, seriously, kudos to anyone having a stab at pursuing their own creative projects for a living. It’s always been tough, but there are writers, like Poe, who will succeed, critically or financially or both. So maybe the first step for some of these people is to send their work to the likes of The Artistic Muse which, among other things, allows poets to submit their work free-of-charge, with a chance of having it published on the site or in the second issue of the Poehemian Poetry Anthology. So what kind of poetry are you looking for?

One word to describe the poetry Poehemian Press is looking for is “eclectic.” Thus far, I have published free-verse, sonnets, haiku, ekphrastic, experimental, and visual poetry. The poems can pertain to any theme as long there are no excessive obscenities. Lately, I’m more prone to publish work that is surreal or even mystical in nature, but ultimately, this is an all-embracing press.

So you like surreal and experimental… you still use crayons… Is there a part of you that’s determined to remain six years old and see the world through uninhibited eyes? It’s something you allude to briefly in your poem, Ghost of a Mother in the Flesh.

Of course! We all ought to nurture that inner child of ours no matter how old we are. When it comes to being creative, one cannot be receptive to all of the amazing inspiration out there if he/she takes life too seriously or thinks he/she is far too old for certain things. Here is a great tidbit of advice: Have an inner child date with yourself at least once a week. Color with crayons (like silly “old” me), swing, dance like no one is watching (even if people are clearly watching), make an imaginary creature out of Play-Doh… embrace that ever-youthful inner-limitless!

So that’s your secret! Ha! But I hear you have other ways of embracing your inner-limitlessness too – like Qigong. What does Qigong do?

By definition Qigong is “a practice of aligning breath, movement, and awareness for exercise, healing, and meditation.” What’s my definition? A portal to additional creativity via transcendental excercise. By relaxing both the body and mind, I become more aware of the world around me, thus allowing more inspiration to flow into my life. In addition, I’d have to say Qigong aids in calming my nerves. It’s a great thing to do before a poetry reading.

This awareness of the world around you has led you to donate a good chunk of the proceeds from your anthologies and spoken word downloads to charity. Do you view charity as an intrinsic part of your creative process?

Most definitely. I truly feel like poetry itself can change the world just by writing it and sharing it with others. But I like to take that next step. I love inspiring others and getting inspired by fellow artists, but I also love to give back to those in need. Poetry For Change; both are entwined. For what is creativity if it is only kept to yourself and not externalized for the greater good?

Well that sums it up quite nicely! Thank you so much, Eva, for sharing your creativity and inspiration with us. And keep doing those exercises. I think they’re working.

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