Interview with Nadia Gerassimenko

National Poetry Month is in full swing, and I have a great interview with Nadia Gerassimenko for you today, and she’s sharing a poem with us as well.

She also was kind enough to post some of my own poems on her website. Feel free to check them out.

I hope you give her a warm welcome; she’s a stunning poet.

When did you know you were a poet and what has kept you writing?

I began writing since I was 14. I didn’t think of myself as a poet at that time, more like writing poetry was a form of creative expression that was easiest for me to deliver and let out. I was writing poems quite frequently until my early twenties. I was in a rut after that. I remember that period in my life had been the most overwhelming for me psychologically—trying to finish my Bachelor’s degree, working at the same time, figuring out my health issues, healing emotional hurts, and finding myself and my inner peace. It was very shaky. I just couldn’t express myself as freely as I had as a teenager. But fortunately, it was temporary. Life calmed down a bit in some aspects and at the same time I became better at managing pain and stress.

Though I do not write as often as I would like to nowadays, I feel that my creative stream is limitless and ever flowing. I’m not afraid that it will ever run out or that I may experience another writer’s block. I feel like it may happen, but I don’t let it get to me. Only when I turned 26 did I truly start considering myself a poet. It happened when I began working on my second chapbook a chair, a monologue that I started to feel truly proud of what I’m creating and slowly accomplishing. It’s not just spur of the moment kind of writing. There’s deliberate intention and planning involved. I want to let my pain out in such a way that not only does it mean something to me, but that it also touches someone else.

Some of the poems I’ve written for the book are okay, but they won’t end up in the final pages because they’re missing that raw, visceral and blunt but candid feeling I’m trying to pour out. Whilst there are those that will be in the book because I’ve written them with utmost care and preparation, edited them to perfection or to something that I’m fully satisfied with. I’ve asked other fellow poets and friends such as yourself to look over them and provide me with constructive feedback which has helped me tremendously to see it from an objective point of view, not just through my sometimes biased lens.

What are your favorite elements of poetry?

I love poems that experiment with structure where there are gaps between words or lines or verses. Not only are they lovely aesthetically, they also shape the poem into the main theme or create a feeling of tumbling down or a pause or silence. I also enjoy poems that don’t necessarily rhyme but that have flowing rhythm to them like in classical poetry. I think it’s quite an achievement when someone can write a piece that doesn’t use a patterned rhyming scheme but is still musical nonetheless. Also words that create euphony or even cacophony can enhance poetry to a different level, more experiential if you will.

List a few of your favorite poetry magazines?

I recently discovered Sea Foam Magazine, which I simply adore. Aside from poetry, they publish interesting interviews with artists, showcase gorgeous artwork. It’s a very dreamy, whimsical kind of literary magazine but also quite frank and unabashed. I also love The Writing Garden founded and run by a dear friend Suzy Hazelwood. She publishes poems and prose and mixed media by artists at all levels of their craftsmanship. Each issue is visually divine and is sometimes themed on purpose or coincidentally gathers beautiful works reflecting the same subject matter. I think it’s rather endearing and serendipitous when that happens. I love poetry curated by Luna Luna Magazine. It’s quite inventive, edgy, primeval.

What advice would you give to poets crafting their first collections?

I would say if you have an idea in mind, plan it all out, do some research if needed. Whether it be a poetry collection or a themed chapbook; whether you want to self-publish it or publish it with a small press; whether you want to edit it yourself or hand it over to a professional—those things are unavoidable and must be planned out and executed. Still don’t let that discourage you from writing but don’t just wander off when doing so.

Who are some of your favorite poets?

I don’t really have favorite poets amongst the greats while I do appreciate what they’ve contributed to our society. I do feel that my poet friends really inspire and empower me to work harder at my writing. And being able to turn to them for writing criticism is an honor and a blessing. Kate Bush influences my writing quite a bit. While not necessarily considered a poet in the conventional sense of the word, Kate Bush’s music and lyrics are rather poetic. Her work is so multifarious and enigmatic. It’s simply spellbinding.


Nadia Gerassimenko is a Media Relations Manager for Yeti Culture and Assistant Editor at Luna Luna Magazine by day, a moonchild and poet by night. Nadia self-published her first poetry collection Moonchild Dreams (2015) and hopes to republish it traditionally. She’s currently working on her second chapbook a chair, a monologue. Visit her at tepidautumn.net or tweet her at @tepidautumn.

Safe cocoon

Mama, I heard you and papa fighting today.
I couldn’t pick up on the words again,
But you were screaming, he was yelling.

Something shattered.
Something banged.
And you cried.

Mama, I haven’t heard papa’s voice in a while.
He used to read to me and his voice soothed me to sleep.
Now all I hear is your sad lullaby.

Whatever day.
Whatever hour.
You cry.

Mama, what is that reeking? What are you drinking, too?
What an unusual smell engulfing.
And it feels so hot all of a sudden.

I’m gasping for air.
I'm dazed and confused.
You laugh and cry.

Mama, what are you swallowing so fast?
It tastes so powdery and bitter.
My fragile tummy doesn’t agree.

I feel so sick.
So sleepy.
You stop crying.

Mama, it’s safe and warm in your cocoon.
As I fall deeply asleep,
I thank you for keeping me nestled.

Breathing in and out.
First heartbeats and last.
We sleep together.

Guest Post: Inspiration for Moonchild Dreams by Nadia Gerassimenko

Today, we have a guest post from Nadia Gerassimenko about what inspired her to write the poems in Moonchild Dreams.

About the collection:

“Let us immerse into five imaginary and yet quite believable and relatable mythologies narrated by very mesmerizing Muses. The first to get you plunging are vocal melodies about strength, wonderment, and hope. The second is a struggle between love and its mirrored-self – an inevitable discovery of what true love is and how imitation fails to grasp its pure essence. The third are tales chanted forlornly by Sirens about love and loss and the unattainable, all lost in the abysmal sea. The fourth, less melancholy but profound nonetheless, are words of wisdom to live by from our Mother Nature. And lastly, you come to meet the Moonchild…a part of her inner world and dreams she dared to share.”

Please give her a warm welcome.

Moonchild Dreams compiles some of my best poems from the period when I was an inexperienced fourteen year old girl either seeing everything as la vie en rose or as monochrome melancholy to the period when I matured into a young woman of twenty-five who hopefully, gained some invaluable insight and wisdom. But I still managed to hold onto my symbolic shades of pink. So naturally, there was not one particular muse that inspired me, but several distinct ones that managed to amalgamate together creating one harmonious fusion of poesy.

At fourteen, when I first started writing poetry, Spring was my initial muse. There is no other season that I love so much than spring when I see trees blooming in sweet-scented flowers; when grass is tall and green adorned with golden dandelions; when critters come out and play from dusk until dawn. The feeling of spring is rejuvenating, and you feel like you are in love with and see love in everything and everyone.  I always feel peak experiences of hope, joy, passion, and love during springtime. And so a few of my poems made it in Moonchild Dreams that speak of being hopeful and spreading hope; idealizing love and putting the adored ones on a pedestal; and being strong and unbreakable no matter what.

When I was in my late teens and started dating seriously, Love was an imperative inspiration for me to let out my fiery feelings of passion, love, sensuality, as well as anger, sorrow, and frustration. Love was only easy during the honeymoon phase and when it got tough and complicated is when I needed to let my feelings out the most. So that I wouldn’t internalize my feelings and let them burn me wholly. No matter how painful my experiences with love were sometimes, they taught me great lessons that I eventually learned and were a catalyst for my self-growth. One of the chapters in my chapbook is dedicated to love and its false reflection. That chapter begins with seeing love as pristine and perfect, continues with the realization that it can really jerk you around, and ends with a real understanding of what true love is; it is a committed and compassionate walk of forever togetherness as cheesy as it may sound. When I was able to finally acknowledge that is when I was finally blessed with my partner in life.

Nowadays, it’s Words that inspire me to write poems. My body is completely relaxed at moments of inspiration. I go into a state of complete openness in my heart, mind, and soul. I start pondering on my life from past to present to future from an objective point of view. Or I could be thinking on a grander scale or on a small yet meaningful subject. I let words come into me. Those words start shaping an idea, then a concept. And then I write. Either on impulse or I think things through a bit more without ever closing myself, so that inspiration keeps flowing in my veins. Spiritual teachers is a good example of such a poem that was born from just words floating in my head. And some life experience as well.

Sometimes, Prayers help me. Not only to bring me some kind of spiritual quietude, but also a revelation that could assist me in accomplishing something. As I was about to finalize Moonchild Dreams, all I needed was one last poem as the perfect climax of the book that would summarize me as a person and as a poetess, because the last chapter is about the author. I was mulling over an idea that failed to be born. And so the night before, I asked for God to grant me a muse to help me write my last poem. He was compassionate in my request. Moonchild Dreams was born. The same title as the poetry collection.

Inspiration comes in different manners and embodiments. Through meditation or thoughtful thinking.  Through life events or dreams. Through movies or music. Through a mythological muse or a real-life person. The key is to always keep an open heart for the flow to pour in.

Thank you so much for sharing this with my readers, Nadia.