POETIC BLOOMINGS is a Phoenix Rising Poetry Guild site established in May 2011 to nurture and inspire the creative spirit.




Last month I had the honor and absolute pleasure of interviewing our eldest Poetic Bloomings poet, Marian Veverka.  How much fun would it be to interview our eldest and youngest, back-to-back?  Heaps of fun, as it turns out!

It is with great joy that I finally get to introduce our freshest blossom:  sixteen-year-old Erin Kay Hope.  Welcome, Erin!

ERIN:  Hello, Marie! Thank you for having me here.

MARIE ELENA:  It’s truly my pleasure.  I’m sure our poetic family is going to be pleased to finally be able to place a face with the name, and get to learn a little about our young prodigy.  Many “out here” have expressed that they can hardly believe your age.  I’ve actually had two poets contact me privately to ask if I knew you outside of the internet, and could verify that you are indeed 15 (your age at that time).  Your poetry has the quality and maturity of someone much older.  You are also wise beyond your years, I must say.  How do you account for that?

ERIN:  Wow … I’m not really sure how to answer this.  All I can say is that, if anything I have written seems wise in any way, it is a reflection on my parents. Anything I know, I’ve learned from them.

MARIE ELENA:  What an uplifting response!  I wish all parents were such that their teenage children would feel that way about them … and that all teens were such that they would recognize when they have wise parents.

Erin, much of your poetry reflects your obvious and contagious love for God.  I’m sure this is at least in part due to the input of these wise parents of yours.

ERIN:  Growing up where I do, I can’t help but love God. Ever since I was born, I have been brought up in His word, starting with the Ten Commandments and the Apostle’s Creed when I was little, and then moving on to daily Bible reading. I am daily washed and renewed by His word, through other people. I have received so much, and am learning to give it away as well. I definitely think that poetry is a good avenue for that.

MARIE ELENA:  “Growing up where I do, I can’t help but love God.”  It sounds like you live in a beautiful area of the county.  Where are you from?

ERIN:  I am from Tacoma, Washington. I believe that the Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautiful places in the world.

Photo credit: Erin Kay Hope

Photo credit: Erin Kay Hope

Photo credit:  Erin Kay Hope

Photo credit: Erin Kay Hope

Photo credit:  Erin Kay Hope

Photo credit: Erin Kay Hope

MARIE ELENA:  I’ve never lived near mountains.  Your photos are breath taking.  And speaking of photos, your blog, Picture Perfect, is just charming!  You’ve managed a nice mix of photography, poetry, food, family life, friendship, and art.  What prompted you to create it, and what is your goal?

ERIN: I basically started my blog as a way to share all the photos I was taking with my new camera. I really had no idea of posting my poems, but several of my friends gave me the idea, and, after starting The Inklets with Amy and Anna, I took them up on it.

MARIE ELENA:  I know The Inklets (cute name!) is a poetry/writers club you three started. How cool!  How do you know one another?

ERIN:  I’ve known Amy and Anna all my life. We go to the same church, and Amy and I have been in the same class for most of our school years. She lives right next door to me, so we see each other basically every day.  We were very inspired by the Inklings group (J. R. R. Tolkien and C. S. Lewis are two of my very favorite authors).  We wanted to name our group something similar, so we chose “The Inklets.”


THE INKLETS (Erin, Anna, and Amy)

MARIE ELENA:  Is it easy to blog together, or are there difficulties in agreeing on how to go about it and what to post? (Behave Walter! 😉 )

ERIN:  The difficulties that arise are never really a result of the blog posts (I’m always the one who posts them, as it is on my blog). What we do disagree on sometimes, though, is the actual writing. I am very into keeping to strict forms and meters, and never writing free verse; Amy and Anna are exactly opposite. They usually groan when I bring in a form to use. 😉

MARIE ELENA:  Oh, so you’re the slave master!  Just teasing, of course.

Erin, what prompted your interest in photography?  Do you take photos for the simple enjoyment of it?

ERIN:  I think what first sparked my interest was a photography class that we had last year in school. The teacher is a good friend of mine.  She would always show me her nice camera, and even let me use it on occasion. I decided I had to have one of my own. So I saved up and got one. I love taking pictures! Especially of flowers and nature in general. What usually attracts my attention is lighting and shading and colors. That’s generally what I try to capture with my photos: the color.

MARIE ELENA:  I always share a favorite poem from each of our interview guests. It is seldom easy to choose just one, and I had a very difficult time whittling down to just one of yours.   I finally chose Inside the Ashes, as I believe shows off that natural feel of yours:

Photo credit:  Erin Kay Hope

Photo credit: Erin Kay Hope

Inside the Ashes

 He’s taken my closed mouth,

And filled it with His own word;

Taken my stopped ears, and

Let them rejoice in hearing;

He’s taken this burnt-out,

Black as hell heart, and planted

Something beautiful and green

Inside the ashes.


This is lovely, insightful, and comes straight from your heart … and I love the photo you chose to pair it with.  Very nice work.

So, when did you become interested in poetry, and what (or whom) sparked that interest?

ERIN: I first became interested in writing poetry last summer, but I have always loved to read it. I think reading different poets like Tennyson and Shakespeare and Wordsworth definitely sparked my interest.

MARIE ELENA:  Who would you say is your favorite?

ERIN: That’s a difficult question to answer, as I have at least ten favorite poets and a lot more that I really like. 😉 But I think my all-time favorite would have to be Alfred, Lord Tennyson. There’s something about his style of writing that I love.

MARIE ELENA:  What do you look for in a poem?  Or what do you think makes a great poem?

ERIN:  Hmm … I think for a poem to really get to me, it has to make me feel what the poet felt as he or she wrote it – whether it be joy, sorrow, pain, longing, etc.

MARIE ELENA:  What is your goal as a poet?  For instance, do you write simply because it gives you pleasure? Is your goal to earn income?  Perhaps make your name known?  Leave a piece of yourself for future generations?

ERIN:  I won’t lie, making my name known and leaving a piece of myself in the future would be great! However, I really don’t have much hope in that. I think I just write for the pleasure I get out of it. There’s nothing like the feeling you get as you complete a poem, put down your pen, and survey your completed product.

MARIE ELENA:  It seems we all have certain topics, events, or people in our lives that spark our best poetry.  You often write about the loss of your brother.  Your pieces are tender and poignant, while being beautiful and respectful.  If it isn’t too painful for you, can you share what happened?

ERIN:  Cameron was diagnosed with lung cancer in 2006. He went through very severe treatments for two years, including chemo therapy and radiation. I went with my mom to almost every appointment in the course of those two years.

He died on April 20, 2008 at the age of 12.  That night is very hazy. I have a vague recollection of waking up at one point and hearing sirens outside, and someone knocking at our door. But the next morning is still vividly clear to me. As I walked downstairs, I peeked in his room.  He wasn’t lying in bed, and his oxygen tank wasn’t being used. I guess I knew right then that something was wrong.

When my dad told us that he had died, it was like the ground had been pulled out from under me. I burst into tears – we all did. I can’t remember another time that I’ve seen my dad cry. The days that followed and the funeral are all a blur of crying, comforting, and preparing. I really don’t know how we would have made it through if it hadn’t been for the love and support from everyone in our church.

MARIE ELENA:  Having never lost a member of my immediate family yet, I truly cannot even imagine the pain you and your family felt, and I’m sure continue to feel. Does it help you to write about it?

ERIN:  I find it very difficult to talk about, so I don’t very often. I do think, though, that writing helps. I’m not really sure how, but it does.

MARIE ELENA:  Erin, thank you so much for handling this difficult topic with such sensitivity and grace.  You really do impress me.

Now, in contrast, what would you say is the very best thing that has ever happened in your life?

ERIN:  I’ve been blessed with everything. I have a wonderful family, friends, and lots of other things: my whole existence is a blessing. How can a person that has been so blessed bring all of that down to only one best thing?  I think, though, that if I had to choose it would be this: about six or seven months after my brother died, my mom told me that she was expecting. On June 26, 2009, my little sister Joan was born. I can’t even explain how thankful we were. She was like an answer to a prayer. She’s been a continual source of wonder and delight ever since. I wrote down all these feelings in what is one of my favorite poems that I have written so far: “The New Dawn.”

The New Dawn

My heart lay
On the shores of desolation,
Beached and breathless;
My mind, numbed,
Unable to comprehend it,
Aching, longing,
Praying for
Comfort, for strength to endure, as
Bitter tears fall.
And God, in
His everlasting mercy sent
The comfort I
Had asked for:
A baby
Girl, brand new sister, filling the
Gap in my heart;
Not replacing,
But relieving the sense of
And I looked out my window at
The golden sun:
Freedom and life reborn,
The new dawn,
Fresh opportunities beckon,
A time to start again.

Not in a strict form, but it’s the outpourings of a very thankful heart.

MARIE ELENA:  Oh, Erin … I had to wipe away tears.  She is adorable, and I know you love her dearly.  You’ve even suffered a special diet with her, just out of love for her.  What a super big sister you are.

Erin and little angel, Joan

Erin and little angel, Joan

MARIE ELENA:  Okay kiddo – one last question, and I’ll let you off the hook:   If you could tell us only one thing about you, what would it be?

ERIN:  I am a very blessed daughter of God. I don’t deserve anything that I have, but God has given me everything. I am definitely blessed.

MARIE ELENA:  And you have definitely blessed us.  Thank you, Erin.

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  1. William Preston on said:

    I’m still impressed with the scope and power of Erin’s poems, but a bit less surprised now, given some of the experiences covered herein. Wonderful interview; wonderful poet.

  2. Marjory MT on said:

    What a delight to “Meet” you Erin and learn more about you, your family, goals and testimony. Thank You for sharing with us, our friend. 🙂


  4. Henrietta Choplin on said:

    Lovely, Erin… just lovely… It is an Honor to know you!!

  5. From the muse of “babes”. I’ve wondered what of rouse was being played with the wonder of such written words coming from a supposed 15-16 year old girl. And then we received glimpses of the person behind these poems. Wow! Erin Kay Hope, you have captured our imaginations and gained our respect. You are not a fine young poet. You are an exceptional poet. And your age does not play a part in that fact. Continue your journey and your “dream” of publication will be a foregone conclusion.

    Your name says it all. Hope. If more sixteen year old offered half of the hope you do, we would surely live in a better world. Thank you for your acceptance of our family to be able to include you wholly into it.

    • Wow! Thank you, Walt! I’m so grateful to you and Marie both for starting this wonderful blog. Marie basically “discovered” me somewhere else, and brought me over here. I’ve loved it ever since! I will definitely continue writing, hoping to one day be published. 🙂

  6. janeshlensky on said:

    Oh, Erin. I’m with Walt. If your name didn’t include Hope, I’d have felt it, hope that the future of the written word is safe. You’ve used writing as therapy wondrous well, your poems well beyond your years but not beyond your experiences. Thanks to Marie for the formal introduction of our sweet sixteen rose bud. Keep blooming, girl.

    • Thank you so much, Jane! You’re another poet I’m very grateful to. Your writing has been a continual inspiration and delight. The name Hope is really a remarkable thing. Hope is such a good word. Thank you again. 🙂

  7. A terrific insight into terrific poet – as I have said elsewhere, and it will become a matter of record (literally, on a podcast). Erin, you are an inspiration to poets old and young and to all young people poetic or not. Thank you for your openness and the peek into your life. Well done and carry on just as you are!! 🙂

  8. Oh Erin, what a gift you have given me to be able to get to know a little more about you. You are one of the poets I always look forward to reading, and I like many others cannot believe that you are able to be so eloquent at such a young age. It gives me hope for the future to know that you are in it. I am certain that your enthusiasm, dedication and talent carry you on to great things.

  9. Erin what thoughtful answers you gave. I’m so very proud of you. Love, grandma

  10. sheryl kay oder on said:

    Hooray! Now we get to see the adorable face which goes along with your well-written, joy-filled poetry. God has given you joy even in your sorrows. I’m sure He will use that sorrow to continue to give you sensitivity to others. Write on and keep on snapping that shutter. Inklets. I love it!

  11. Interviewing the eldest and then youngest…pure brilliance, Marie Elena. And what a great opportunity for all of us to learn a bit more about Erin.

    I think Walt said it best, so I’ll just say thanks for sharing a bit of yourself with us, Erin. You are a gift yourself. Keep writing.

    Oh, and I’ll be sure to check out your blog.

  12. Anna s on said:

    Excellent piece! I happen to remember when miss Erin was born and she is talented and bright. I get the pleasure of being her friend and watching her grow on a daily basis. Thank you for posting this meet and greet! An Inklett!

  13. DebiSwim on said:

    So glad to hear your story. I love that you and your friends write (and blog) together. They are talented as well and I’m sure your friendship is helping you all grow as young women and as writers.
    I expect in a very few years we’ll be seeing your books of poetry with your very own photography as illustrations. I’m please to have made your acquaintance, Erin!

  14. A sweet interview with a sweet young woman… well done, both of you!

  15. Erin, Your poetry and kind words always touch my heart. You have a wonderful gift that you have been blessed with and it encourages many to see it put to use in such an amazing way. Carry on, Spread your Hope! – I believe too, we will see your name in the book shelf bindings. We will all celebrate then.

  16. Oh Erin, how wonderful this slice of your life is…I may have said this before but I think it bears repeating; you are a very old soul. You write with a wisdom and grace beyond your years and we are so lucky to have you amongst us, to witness your talent unfolding. I agree with those who have gone before me — just keep on keeping on: you will be known, you will be remembered. I will love being able to say, “I knew her when…”

    • And I will love being able to hear you say that! Thank you, Sharon! I am lucky to be here where so much help is offered. And I’ll repeat, anything I’ve ever said or done that was wise in any way is a reflection on my parents. 🙂

  17. Erin–lovely to meet you! So glad you decided to share your poetry and yourself, thank you–Marie, a wonderful interview as always 🙂

  18. Erin – what a terrific interview. And what a surprise – I didn’t know you were so young. Guess you are an old soul, huh? You sure are wise for a 16 year old. Keep writing…we’re expecting great things from you!

    And also…

    Brilliant! Marie – superb interview (and thank you!)

  19. Erin, we have all enjoyed your poetry. Your parents must be very proud of you! Another great interview, Marie!

  20. Wow! I was so blessed today to look on here and see so many wonderful, encouraging comments! Marie, thank you once again for choosing to interview me. It has been a pleasure and an honor. Your questions were so thought provoking and gracious. Thank you! ❤


  22. I ♥ you BIG Erin!!

    Thank you for being who you are and being such a light…your faith and creativity are such an inspiration.

    Keep writing your beautiful words, Erin…they and you are a gift.

    ♥ Hannah

  23. Erin, you come across in your interview the same way you do in your writing. It is a pleasure to have you in our group.

  24. connielpeters on said:

    Great interview and great poetry, Erin. Always look forward to your poems and comments. Keep up the good work!

  25. Hannah A. on said:

    Wow, Erin, what a great opportunity to preach the Gospel and share your passion for poetry! You’re definitely my favorite poet who is still alive ;)!

  26. Erin, I am so bummed at myself for almost missing this interview!
    You shared yourself so honestly and transparently. That is the pleasure in your poetry, whether you are relating the beauty of your Creator or wondering at the beauty of His creation. You portray every thought in such tender and graceful form. You are a poetic form yourself and I’m not alone in the delight to have this chance to know you better.

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