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Dear Site Visitors,

In January, February and March of 2000, I featured interviews with poets who have work posted on my website. Each poet interview was followed by a month of questions directed to the poet from site visitors, answered by the featured poets themselves. I am happy to present the first poet interview since last year. The July, 2001 featured poet is Matthew David Ward.

Matthew is a 17 year old student from Auxier, Kentucky. He first contacted me in mid-June and I posted his first submission "Without a Mother" that same day. Subsequently, he has submitted more poetry, of which many were accepted for posting on my site.

Though it has only been a few weeks since he first contacted me, we have been in communication constantly as more and more of his work is posted and he has become familiar with the website.

I have also received a number of letters about his work, so the site is familiar with Matthew, as well. Matthew was searching in Yahoo for a site on which to put his poetry and get response to his work. He found poetheart.com and perused the site, read some of the poetry included on it and decided to submit some of his own poems. Soon he began receiving feedback and has continued to submit more of his work. Matthew has selected "Far From Home" as his featured poem and both the classic poem "The Raven" by Edgar Allan Poe and Emily Dickinson's "Letter to the World" as his favorite poems. He likes "The Raven" because "it all fits together and flows so well when read" and considers it one of the best poems that will ever be written. Of Emily Dickinson's "Letter to the World" he says that he can relate to it and much of her poetry.

Here is my interview with Matthew D. Ward, the July, 2001 featured poet Site visitors are encouraged to ask Matthew questions during the month of July and all questions and the poet's answers will be published here on the website. The interviews were quite successful but unfortunately there was never another interview published after March, 2000. Ironically, Matthew wrote me and asked why there has never been another interview since then. This was concurrent to my considering Matthew as a possible featured poet. So...I am happy to present the first poet interview since last year. The following interview was conducted online via e-mail from June 28, 2001 through July 2, 2001.

Thank you. Poetheart

July 2001, Matthew Ward Interview sections you may visit (click)
Other poetry by Matthew


The Interview:

Poetheart: Matthew, tell us about yourself. Who is Matthew D. Ward?

Matthew: Matthew David Ward is a not-so-average teenager. I don't like a lot of things that most people my age do and I've been through some things other people my age haven't. I'm suffering from Depression and Social Anxiety and I am hoping to major in psychology in college.

Poetheart: I have gathered that you are a not-so-average teenager and there is definitely a certain maturity in you. It's hard to believe that you are only 17 talking to you. Now, tell us about Matthew the poet.

Matthew: Matthew the poet... is a lonely and depressed person that can only see the dark side in most things. Not a lot of happiness. I'm always seeking people's opinion about my poetry and crave good "reviews" of my poetry. Wow, This is really a big question. Matthew Ward the poet is depressed and lonely (which comes across clearly in many of my poems). I've been through a lot that has left a mark on me... sad because I'm only 17! I guess I've always wanted a perfect life. I guess the poetry is just a release of the pain of unhappiness (that sounds so poetic! *hehe*)

Poetheart: What mostly inspires your poetry?

Matthew: I find a lot of inspiration in music and by the "strange" events of my life. I was recently hospitalized for a week (due to depression) and it really leaves an imprint on you..and is also very inspiring. The depression is also a big factor in my writing - very few of my poems don't have some message of sorrow, sin or regret. With depression everything seems horribly wrong and every little thing can be blown out of proportion and cause an all-out tragedy.. and after it builds up... it needs to be released (a.k.a. the poems). Music inspires me in many ways as well. I listen to singers like Mary Chapin Carpenter, Annie Lennox, Bonnie Raitt, Melissa Etheridge -- mostly people who write their own songs. Through them, they bring up their feelings which bring up our own...The fact that they write their own music means a lot in how their songs affect me.

Poetheart: But you are just 17, Matthew...Don't you think that the marks of all that you have been through will eventually go away?

Matthew: No, not all of them. My depression and anxiety may really never go away but can only be treated. And memories of the psychiatric hospital, having no mother, stressed relationship with my father... that kind of stuff never goes away.

Poetheart: Do you think that in the many years ahead of you, you can make the kind of life for yourself that you want to have?

Matthew: I hope so. With the way my life is right now it looks like it's going to be hard. I really want to be an actor... but, that is always uncertain.

Poetheart: What would you say to the people who might suggest that you are too young to have any "real" problems to lead you to loneliness and depression?

Matthew: I go through that everyday with my Dad. He denies that I have any problems at all... and it just makes things worse. People just need to understand that if you're alive, you have problems! And some people take them harder than others. And, to anyone who would say that, they may want to learn more about depression (always a good thing to do anyway).

Poetheart: Do you think it is easier to write out of the pain of loneliness and unhappiness rather than happiness and satisfaction with your life situations?

Matthew: Yes. For me, yes. I don't have a lot of happiness and no satisfaction, so it's hard to write about them. Pain and loneliness are very common for me, which makes it easier to write about them.

Poetheart: Since unhappiness, loneliness and depression are your poetic inspirations, if you were to resolve all your conflicts and find happiness, would your poetry go away? Do you think you would be able to find new inspirations for writing poetry?

Matthew: I have thought about that. I really don't know what my life would be like if I were to resolve all my conflicts... I guess I'd just have to go through it. But there's always new inspirations in life once you get past the old... so I'm sure I'd find something else to write about..

Poetheart: What does poetry mean to you, Matthew?

Matthew: Poetry means a lot to me. It is mostly my way of releasing things and not holding them in like I have for many years. It is a way to "move on" from some of the pain...

Poetheart: I think that writing as a release is very common among poets. You are absolutely correct that poetry can be a means of moving on from some of the pain...What is it that Matthew wants to move away from?

Matthew: Everything. My relationship with my Dad, not having a Mother, no friends, depression, social anxiety disorder, being alone, the memories of my being in a psychiatric hospital...... etc. etc. etc.

Poetheart: I asked you to select one of the poems you have posted on my website and you chose to feature "Far From Home". Why did you select this particular poem?

Matthew: It's my smallest poem, I know, but it says a lot about how I feel inside.

Poetheart: Let's talk about this poem. "Far From Home"... How do you mean this? Literally or figuratively?

Matthew: Figuratively. I see it as a person describing the way they feel inside and how their far away from the rest of the world... but it could also be used literally :)

Poetheart: Does this poem exemplify your work?

Matthew: No. I don't think it's one of my best poems. It is really hard for me to judge my own poetry and say what is my best and what is not...

Poetheart: Well then, of the poetry you have posted on poetheart.com, what poem DOES exemplify your poetry?

Matthew: I'd have to say "Without a Mother"... a lot of people have commented on how great the poem is or how it has touched them... I've received more comments on this poem than any of my others.

Poetheart: Do you remember sending me that first poem in e-mail? Do you remember which poem it was and why you chose to send that poem?

Matthew: I do believe I sent "Without a Mother"... I had forgotten about it for a long time and came across it about the same time I found poetheart.com, so I decided it'd be a good choice to send in. I'm not sure, but I think I sent maybe three in the same e-mail to you -- Don't ask me what they were though! :)

Poetheart: Did you think your poem would be accepted and posted on my website? (You do not realize this but I only accept about 40% of the poetry contributed to poetheart.com).

Matthew: I really didn't know how well-known the site was at the time of my submission. I knew there were a lot of great poems on the site and I really didn't think mine would be good enough to be put alongside those.

Poetheart: Were you surprised when I wrote you back and told you that I wanted to post your poem on my website?

Matthew: Yes, I was! I was very grateful and VERY surprised!

Poetheart: Why, Matthew?

Matthew: I think the most surprising thing was you said that it was the 7th, or 8th, anniversary of your mother's death -- and I had sent "Without a Mother"... it just really surprised me the way that happened...

Poetheart: I have received many letters about "Without a Mother". Can we talk a little bit about this poem?

Matthew: Sure.

Poetheart: The last two lines of that poem "For a mother teaches value, While the father teaches cost" are very memorable to me, as they were for many readers who wrote and mentioned these lines. What do you mean by this?

Matthew: In my life, I have always known my father teaching me the "cost" of life instead of truly how to "value" it... Ask me any other day and I can give you any other answer... there are many ways to take those last two lines... it's all up to the reader.

Poetheart: Let's talk about "What goes on in the mind of a dark poet?"

Matthew: Alright. I think it pretty much speaks for itself. It is the way I see a "dark poet" (someone who writes, and thinks, about dark things)... I think it is an honest poem. A lot of people have told me things like "I understand" and "Exactly!"... so I think it really expresses the way I felt at the time.

Poetheart: I received a few e-mails about "The Battle" with some readers finding it very despairing and depressing, as if the speaker of the poem were giving up. One reader suggested the title be changed to "Lost Battle". Do you want to comment on this poem or respond to the comments?

Matthew: The poem IS depressing. Most of mine are. I think we all have depressing thoughts at one time or another. I'm not sure how to respond to the comments... other than to agree.

Poetheart: You wrote a song last year called "You Can Hear It" which you submitted it to this site. Did you write the melody as well as the words to this? Are you also a musician?

Matthew: No, I am not a musician... but would like to learn how to write music. I have the melody in my head and it just hasn't gone away.

Poetheart: I received "Rainfall" right after you wrote it. I think it's a good poem. I like the pensive mood of it. Tell us about what was going on when you wrote this poem.

Matthew: I was looking out the window at the rain when I wrote it. I just thought about what emotions and feelings the rain beought out of me.

Poetheart: In "Rainfall" you say "The rain says so many things/That some people cannot see"...What kinds of things does the rain say and are you able to see these things?

Matthew: I think the rain shows us beauty, hope, joy, our past, future and stuff like that. I think right now, I can see it. But some people just think of the rain as more and more of a hassle as they get older.

Poetheart: One of the most recent additions to poetheart.com is "To Momma From Son". It is a short and very touching poem. I have received comments on this one, as well. You must be very satisfied with how this poem turned out. Are you happy with this poem?

Matthew: Yes. It turned out really well and didn't take long to write. It just flowed out of me and worked very well.

Poetheart: Tell me, Matthew...How did you find poetheart.com?

Matthew: I found it through a search at Yahoo. I was searching for a site where I could submit my poetry and receive some comments on them from the readers.

Poetheart: What did you think when you first visited my website?

Matthew: When I first came across the site I was honestly thinking that this is some guy's "personal" page. The pictures and massage info took me off guard. But as I entered the poetry area I was really surprised! There were just so many poems and they were just GREAT poems, too!

Poetheart: Well, it IS my personal website...What was the first thing you noticed about the site?

Matthew: I guess I noticed the pictures and the personal touches of the site. They made it look different than most of the 'formal' sites out there.

Poetheart: Where did you go on poetheart.com on that first visit?

Matthew: I mostly stayed around your poetry and the user submissions... but since then I have tried to view as much of it as I can.

Poetheart: What made you decide to submit a poem to my site?

Matthew: I saw how great the other poems on your site were, and thought maybe if a poem of mine wasn't posted on the site, you'd at least give me some tips on how to make it better.

Poetheart: Who is your favorite poet and why?

Matthew: YOU! :) No... ummm... my favorite poet would have to be Emily Dickinson. I can relate to most of her poetry and you know she put a lot of her heart and soul into them, and I think that makes a difference. She also had a different kind of life... the seclusion and things like that... really made her an interesting person.

Poetheart: Which is your favorite Emily Dickinson poem?

Matthew: She didn't title much of her work, but my favorite is the one that starts with, "This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me"... I can really relate to that one statement and to much of her poetry.

Poetheart: You selected that poem as well as Poe's "The Raven". What do you like about "The Raven"?

Matthew: Just the way it all fits together and flows so well when read. It really is probably one of the best poems that will ever be written.

Poetheart: If you had to describe Matthew the poet with just one adjective, what would that word be?

Matthew: That's an easy one: complicated.

Poetheart: Matthew, I want to thank you for this interview. How do you think it went?

Matthew: I think it went very well.

Poetheart: Now, are you ready to answer questions from the readers?

Matthew: I think so...

Poetheart: Then let's begin...

To ask a question, email : interview@poetheart.com

*Poetheart comment: During the Q&A process of his interview, Matthew decided to publish an online poetry magazine called The PoetryZine. It is a free weekly e-zine which contains poems by famous poets as well as poems by the readers. Each issue will include 4 poems, a poet "Did You Know...?", featured poetry link, featured poetry book and more. If you would like to subscribe to The PoetryZine, all you have to do is send an e-mail requesting your copy to: PoetryZine@hotmail.com

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