Interview by Magdalena Ball
The obvious question, why did you write this book?
I wrote “The Poetry of Business” primarily for 3 reasons. In doing my research for this book, I discovered that so many people ‘wrote poetry when they were younger, but stopped.’ So this created a mystery for me. What were all those once, passionate poets doing. So I surveyed. And in that it became apparent that they were working, in a career, doing anything but writing poetry. In that same survey, I asked “Why did you stop?” and “Why don’t you start again?” From that, many respondents wrote they had no idea, and they would start again. They simply needed a gentle reminder that poetry is a fantastic way to express what they’re going through (at any age, through any circumstances, and the more painful or horrific the situation, the more powerful the impact and greater the need.) So this book served as that reminder, and at the same time, it opened up their own inspection of their careers and lives and current paths through the poems that were chosen. It is a progressive journey through a typical career, that causes the reader to take a serious look at whether they are doing what they really want to be doing, and if not, gives them a tool to excavate and find out what is their true passion, and how can they start to make steps toward that. I wanted a reader to discover if, or why they weren’t happy, and find out what they needed to do, to change this. Because work is such a huge part of what identifies us, and allows us the freedoms on a personal level, this was the first area I wanted to address, due to its natural effect on all other aspects of daily life.
Why poetry? Couldn’t the book exist with just the exercises? What does the poetry do?
Having been an entrepreneur for over 21 years, and reading book after book that helps people find their true passions and purposes, using a “How To” or “Step-by-step” method, I found that many became quickly motivated, did the steps, but just as quickly dropped it, never making it part of their lifestyle. It was a ‘diet’ approach, where you would get the result, but fall back and quickly return to the same point. It wasn’t a lasting effect. With poetry though, this was a way I could invoke an internal change, self-motivate, slowly lead them through their own cognitions and realizations that would cause them to make a true change towards what they needed to do, to be happy, to fulfill their purpose. The book couldn’t exist with just the exercises, because poetry is the tool that causes them to open up and breaks them out of their automated approach to coping with their current way of life, and inspiring them through creativity, and emotion to make a difference, and change whatever needs to be addressed so that they can be happier, more fulfilled, and on purpose.
Can poetry change the world? (or does “poetry makes nothing happen: it survives/In the valley of its making where executives/Would never want to tamper?” to quote Auden)
Poetry can change the world, as any creative and aesthetic band activity can. Words inspire, motivate, cause a reaction, they are very, powerful. “The pen is mightier than the sword”, still holds true today, because we can see that the ‘sword’ of society is leading us to nothing but chaos, destruction, and death. Executives using poetry as an outlet, or motivator, or as a way to help organize their thoughts and express a situation, will find creative ideas, better solutions, and more effective emotional tools. We have made the workplace a stagnant, logical, environment. This tends to eliminate the upper emotions which are very powerful products of aesthetics, such as enthusiasm, strong interest, active, game playing, tone levels that increase productivity on every level. If used in a positive and motivating way, the words expressed by poetry can very well be a solid foundation to changing the world.
Do you think that there’s a crisis amongst workers in the corporate world?
Yes I do. The crisis is overwork, lack of satisfaction, unhappy, lost in terms of purpose, and uninspired and unaffected by life. When such a large part of how we spend our day, is wrapped in mystery and discord, it carries on into our relationships, and personal activities. They start to blend, and takes the emotional tone of a person continuously lower. This makes for a very unhappy society, or an unbalanced one. We have a fantastic marriage for example, and are doing fine personally, but have no idea how to contribute to a group, or the planet, or how to help across all of the dynamics a person is responsible for. Without knowing what you want to be doing as a being, as a career, as a purpose, this dramatically affects who you are, and how you deal with life outside and inside the corporate walls. Money and success aren’t creating a happy society or a happy person, so the biggest crisis is first finding out for ourselves, what do we really want to be doing with our life.
Who was your intended audience?
The intended audience was the business man and woman, who are in a job or career, that might be giving them satisfaction on some level, but is lacking in others to the point where they are questioning what they are doing with their life. That is the first audience because they are reaching for help, and I am handing them a tool that can start the help process. The subtitle of the book is “working from the inside out” and this is where that element really kicks in. The next target group, is anyone who works, which makes this audience enormous. For the mere enjoyment of the poetry, and the illustrations, this on the surface is a very fun, and humorous book. Poems such as “Mondays always screw up my Sundays” or “I think the corporate ladder is broken” or “Watercooler Boogie” It is full of fun poems that expose a slice of a business day, and highlight it. So in essence, the target for this book, is very broad.
Did you do all the cartoons yourself?
I didn’t do any of the illustrations, although I would say what they should be, and my husband, who has been working by my side for the last 14 years, would draw them. He is an artist by night, and software developer by day. I have been asked why illustrations in a poetry book, and the reason for this again goes to humor. Life is funny, poetry is fun, we don’t have to take it all so seriously that it becomes work. Plus, the illustrations add to the imagery, providing a full experience of visual and literal.
The book seems to lend itself to facilitation. Have you ever thought of developing an program using the book and presenting it as a corporate program?
That is a great question, because it already exists, and is happening. It is a corporate program that uses self-examination, and team building to incorporate it into the workplace. It helps an employee or business person look inside at their life, and figure out how they can contribute more, add more dynamics to really make a difference to what they are doing within the walls of their current job, and how by each person understanding more about the overall mission of the company, they can align themselves to that, automatically creating a higher purpose and motivator just within that environment. The details of the workshop are located at: www.innersurf.com/workshop.htm
You offer purchasers a bonus question – have you had many responses to this offer and if so, what kinds of questions have you gotten. If not why do you think you haven’t? (after all, it’s a good offer!).
This is a very insightful question, because it is a priceless offer, and I am saddened by the fact that only 3 people have taken advantage of it. I give them a chance to ask a very successful entrepreneur a question, about anything, to which I have had experience in most things, and they aren’t taking it. That says something about the state of society with respect to HELP – they aren’t asking for it, and missing an opportunity. I am a mentor/life coach to many people, who depend on some of the advice I give to make their next moves, and pay very well for it. I help people take advantage of things in front of them, or give them the strength to do something, and I offer a question for free. It is from a value perspective, priceless, and I am sure almost everyone has one question, sitting at the tip of their tongue, that they want an answer to.
Tell me about Poetry Canada – why you started it, big goals, greatest accomplishments (I know that’s 3 questions!)
Poetry Canada magazine is a combination of bad habit and purpose. When I saw the state of poetry in Canada, and more importantly the fact that we didn’t have a poetry magazine that appealed to a typical reader – not just the highly educated poet – I knew I had to do something about it. It was a dying art form, many of the prominent poetry organizations in Canada were collapsing, and I wanted to create the Canadian Federation of Poets as the unified poetry community, and Poetry Canada would be the medium used to attract and promote poets from all over the world. In addition, I wanted to promote photographers and artists, and give writers a place to be recognized for their work. And I have accomplished this. And I call it a bad habit, because starting a magazine from scratch, is a very heady task. It is incredibly time consuming, and costly, and at this moment, appeals to a very small percent of the population.
Big goals – I have the biggest goals, all of the time. It is one of the ways I can detect whether a person is growing within themselves, is by asking them this question – “What are your goals?” I can spill mine out, and go on and on, about the goals of various aspects of my life, without a breath. In fact, they take up pages and pages. If you have to think, or pause, or have no idea – this is a first step you need to take in your life. Because without goals, you are standing still, looking around, and have no idea if the direction you are going, is right. My goals for Poetry Canada (or Poetry World Magazine), is to be one of the most selected and prominent magazines in the world. For poetry – to have it be the insightful and prominent medium and literary and life tool that it should be, and return it to the prominent and revered status it should be. For myself, be known as a world-wide Ambassador of Poetry, and to achieve spiritual enlightenment so that I can cause change on a global scale, and be part of the solution to return humanity and society to a state of peace and affluence.
Greatest accomplishments – This is such a fun question, that I could answer all day, because when I think of greatest accomplishments, I take each element of my life, or my 4 companies, or whatever I do, and I recognize it. It is amazing how many great things people do, and don’t even notice them, and then they feel like their life amounted to nothing. Part of being a success, and allowing yourself to be happy, is to notice the great things you do. And these don’t have to be ‘great things in the eyes of society, but from your eyes. So some of my greatest accomplishments: my 3 amazing, productive and happy children, my successful marriage, my spiritual growth, my books, Poetry Canada magazine, the Canadian Federation of Poets, being recognized by peers with such honours as – “Canadian Entrepreneur of the Year” nomination, “Chamber of Commerce Business woman of the Year” nomination, inducted into the International Who’s Who of IT professionals and Who’s Who of Professionals, the testimonials I get from readers and poets about how I have helped them, and the fact that I am happy, helping to make the world a better place.
What other projects are you working on right now?
Right now I am in the process of expanding the Federation of Poets, and opening up a Head office in Burbank California to carry the success and growth of the Canadian Federation, into the USA. This will become far more International in its appeal and
So, for International it will be “The Federation of Poets” and Poetry Canada magazine, will now have another version that is distributed in the US and the world, called “Poetry World Magazine” It is a very fun direction, I am excited to bring together the global village that is planet earth, and have a unified effort towards the progression, preservation, and
And for the magazine, I have also created an online PDF version that you can subscribe to, which will give you a printable format, access to all the editions, articles, poetry, and information, from 2004, and for a period of a full-year from your subscription date, plus make it affordable for International members and visitors compared to the hard copy version, for only $9.95 for the full year. This has allowed the magazine to reach globally, without too many barriers, excluding technology, which is actually the technology that drives my purpose. We have a tool, the internet, that can touch billions of people every day, so I am taking advantage of this target audience, and using it to expose them to the virtues of poetry. It is about seeing an opportunity, and using it, always keeping in mind, the greatest good, for the greatest number of people.
The company that holds all of the vision together – InnerSurf International – www.innersurf.com