Donna Sanders was born in the Caribbean island of Trinidad and relocated to the United States in her teenage years. She has a MA in English Literature from Mercy College, and a BA in the same field from NYIT.
She has poems published in Twist of Fate, an anthology created for the victims of the Oklahoma tornadoes of 2013. She also has two self-published books: her first poetry collection titled This is my Therapy and a journal, Emotions in Barbed Wire, about coping with the death of her father.
In her spare time, Donna loves to read Science Fiction novels and enjoys scrapbooking and photography. She currently resides in West Palm Beach, Florida with her husband. She is the published author of the poetry book Ataraxia. It is with great pleasure that we introduce Author Donna J. Sanders to you.
Hi Donna, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Let’s get started.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Donna: I am originally from Trinidad and moved to the United States in in my late teens. My father was a preacher, and I found out not too recently he played a very historic role in the Christian community that was still growing on the island. Unfortunately he had a dark side a lot of people didn’t know about and I watched him abuse my mom on a daily basis, which was very hard to deal with. The way he behaved really tainted my faith so my poetry stems from this experience, using it as therapy for many years. Fortunately my mother was able to leave him and her faith remained strong, and I was able to believe again. Seeing how much she sacrificed has very much affect the person I am today and I continue to learn and grow with every obstacle I face.
Creative Talents Unleashed: So when did you fall in love with poetry or writing in general, when did you decide this life was for you? Tell us a bit about that discovery process
Donna: My head was always buried in books – Nancy Drew in particular – and I loved all the teen magazines, so one day I decided to create a sort of newsletter of my own about my rather large family. It was a hit and they wanted more. And back then there were no computers – I used my mom’s old fashion typewriter to create it. Poetry really came into play in high school after reading Edgar Allan Poe. I was obsessed with his macabre style and it showed me how to channel my own demons into my writing. It took me a while to share them with the world because I was never good at revealing my thoughts and feelings with others. I never really thought of using my poetry as a career until I started studying Literature in college. It made me realize a story could be told with only a few words and all the techniques I learned inspired me to write whenever I found the time. I also realized that I could help others with my poetry by sharing my experiences.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Why do you write, what is it that you’re trying to communicate through your work?
Donna: Today I write to be a positive influence and hope to change one life at a time. Most of my poetry used to contain a lot of the negative emotions I often bottled up inside, but I’d rather someone tell me “your words saved my life” and encourage them to do the same for others.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Where does your inspiration come from, what might inspire you at any moment to write a story or poem?
Donna: My inspiration could come from anything really. I have been living life one day at a time which has allowed me to slow down and enjoy the little things. I could be inspired by a beautiful tree I see, an unusual word I come across or a story on the news.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What was the hardest thing about writing your book?
Donna: Choosing the right poems is always the hardest. I often have to read them over and over again to make sure the content is conveying the message I want to share.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What was the easiest thing about writing your book?
Donna: Having enough poems to use in the book as I have quite a lot from writing so many years.
Creative Talents Unleashed: There are many authors who say that in the process of writing a book you learn things about yourself. Did you learn anything in your book writing process about yourself, if so what?
Donna: Absolutely. It made me aware of the transitions in my life, the amount of strength I really do have after all I have endured and how I have changed for the better. I was never able to write romantic or very positive poetry because my negative emotions would prompt the only time I would write. Now it comes easy because I am more content with the life I have.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What in your view is the role or responsibility of a writer or poet, if there is any?
Donna: I feel that a writer should inspire. We have the gift to influence the world and with so many atrocities occurring every day, it should be our number one priority to make it a better place and give people hope. A writer should also get involved with their community and show how important it is to support the arts. Some people think it is a dying breed but it soothes the soul more than any other kind of therapy could.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What are your ambitions as a writer, where do you hope to see yourself in say 5 years?
Donna: I would love to give back to the art community and locally as well. There are so many groups that need help and I would love to support them the way they have supported me in my endeavors. I also wouldn’t mind a book tour to spread the importance of writing and the arts. I am also working on another poetry collection delving deep into my childhood and Caribbean roots. I never want to forget where I came from and I would love to share my culture and experience living on the island with the rest of the world.
Creative Talents Unleashed: Who is your favorite writer or poet? Perhaps you have a favorite quote from them that you would like to share.
Donna: There are so many to choose from but I would have to go with Maya Angelou. One of my favorite quotes from her is “My mission in life is not merely to survive, but to thrive; and to do so with some passion, some compassion, some humor, and some style.” My mission as well.
Creative Talents Unleashed: What advice would you give to aspiring writers who have dreams of publishing or making writing a career choice?
Donna: Don’t give up and keep writing. Get involved in writing prompts that encourage you to write, share your work and be inspired every day. A writer’s mind never sleeps so let it rest once in a while and take some time to enjoy the little things in life.
A poem from her book Ataraxia
My sight may continue
to become distorted
and shriveled as I age
but I am learning to see
how easy people give in
to the demands of the world
following the herds of false shepherds
who stand higher on pedestals
that are filled with foundations
of unfortunate souls
I shall not be cloned like these sheep
for I have always been the one
coated with an ebony wool
I have escaped that pasture
to roam free
© Donna J. Sanders
Preface . . .
In the last few years writing the poems which make up this collection, I have been educated on life more than any college degree could. I feel that the struggles I endured have created the person I have always strived to be. My eyes were opened to the real world and its atrocities. To see people for who they truly are. To find out what matters the most in order to live with true joy.
There are facades we all have to be aware of – the constant deceptions being forced down our throats to be like everyone else and with the mindset that more is better. I have finally learned to be comfortable in my own skin and embrace the unique in me, regardless of what is left in my pockets. I write because it is my gift and I love to, not for profit or to be recognized. I write with the hope that my words could change one life or even inspire. If this is where my destiny lies, then the sacrifices were worth it.
Please Visit Donna’s Author Page for more details:
Also Available on Amazon:
Categories: Creative Talents Unleashed