"Failures are treasures. Hoard them." | Olwen Daisy on writing poetry, endings and more

. 5 min read

warm apple cider
and cinnamon solitude;
autumn wraps me in
philosophical mood

heavier clothes bear
some of the burden
from my heart, and
I’d like to think I don’t
blame the leaves for changing

I am drunk on warm apple cider
and that cinnamon solitude

I damned the leaves and dug my nails
into their veins

I blamed the leaves for changing

I blame myself for changing


I'd love to get to know the roots of the girl behind the poetry. Tell us about your childhood growing up.

I was lucky enough to have a happy and pleasant childhood, with a family that fostered my individuality and creativity. Home is such a beautiful place to me, and consists more of people than an actual place. Not everyone in my family knows I write poetry, but I think they’d be proud of my work. For now though, I like to use it as a bit of an escape; so, I don’t tell a lot of people in my everyday life about my poetry.

Do you remember the first poem you ever wrote?

Well, the first poems I ever wrote were for school...but they were never too personal and they were always forced. I remember it was something I wanted to be good at, and since I was afraid of failing, I purposely put little effort in. I thought if someone criticised me, it didn’t matter because I didn’t put myself into the work... I just went through the motions. There was one time, in history class, where I wrote a poem about war. When it was my turn to present, I froze. I refused. I ran. I wish I hadn’t though, because after my friend read it in my stead they all thought it was the best in the class. I don’t regret this because I wanted to bask in that glory, but rather because I could have proved to myself—through myself—that it was okay to put myself out there.

I didn’t actually start writing for myself until last year. I was on winter break—bored, restless—when a poem came to me. On a whim, I wrote it down. On a whim, I decided to post it. It was simply a whim that led me to write. I had had the desire for as long as I can remember, but it was almost as though fate pushed me to write the words down.

What makes a poem interesting to you?

I’m personally a huge fan of confessional poetry, exploring emotions and the mind... I try to write through intuition. I feel like overthinking always makes my writing forced. Poetry involving legends and lore are always favorites of mine as well. But in all honesty, any piece that makes me feel, makes me think, is considered ‘interesting’ in my books.

How do you know when a poem is "done"?

Endings are always the hardest for me, and not just when it comes to poetry! Finishing a piece... sometimes it just happens, other times it takes coming back to it a few hours later. I don’t necessarily think that all poems have to have a definite ending to be ‘done’, but I always want to make sure I've fully fleshed out my ideas. Another thing is, at least when I write, the ending helps define the meaning. As a poet, I work to develop clever uses of figurative language, but I also have to work to make sure they aren’t just pretty phrases that are empty. A poem is ‘done’ when I’ve inserted that meaning.

What inspires your poems?

I’m the type of person that draws inspiration from all factors, from every source: dreams, conversations, loss, nature, my readings... Life isn’t always perfect, but there’s always something artistic to draw from it.

Sometimes I write using experiences that aren’t my own, ones that come from my mind, ones I made up. Other times, I use my own experiences. My favorite way to write though is just by simply writing what comes to mind, and creating a story, a meaning from there.

What poets or other artists do you look up to?

As I stated before, I’m a huge fan of confessional poetry; so, the movers and shakers in that world (i.e. Plath) often inspire my work. There’s also a ton of more modern poets I admire. Though Instagram often gets a bad rap for being full of poets who are more interested in followers and money than their works, there are quite a few dedicated and skilled writers on there. Just a few of my favorites are @wetpetalspoetry, @l.t.pelle, and @rosiethescribbler (though there are so many more I could spend a whole page listing them!).

For those who feel disconnected from their creativity—maybe they think they're "not creative"—what do you recommend them to do in order to tap back into it?

Make works of your own. Appreciate the works of others.

Seriously though, not doing something creative because you’re afraid of failure is so much more stifling than doing it and not being satisfied with the results. When an idea strikes, just express. When the final result doesn’t meet your expectations, do it again, and again. Creativity is so fulfilling, but it also takes time to hone our skills to produce the masterpieces we see in our minds and dreams. Keep working towards it. ‘Failures’ are treasures—hoard them. You’ll eventually learn the value of them.

How do you unwind/play? How do you recommend others do?

Spending time is nature is so relaxing for me. My childhood was filled with flowers and gardens, which have such memories and nostalgia attached to them.

Also, my cat is the ultimate snuggler and nap-taking buddy. I love spending time with her and since she’s normally curled up sleeping, it gives me an excuse to take a moment and really relax.

Just take time to find, and do, something that adds meaning to your everyday routine.

What makes, for you, a fulfilling life?

The moments you can’t buy, the moments that discover you.

Poetry, prose, paintings, music. Human expression, of my own and others, fills something I can’t pinpoint. It fulfills this need to create, to discover, and to explore the realities of our lives.

Creating meaningful human connection is vital to me; I wouldn’t call myself social, I’m more of an introvert, but there’s so much to learn from others.

Tell us about your upcoming book.

I’m so excited to be currently working on my first book. I don’t anticipate it being out any earlier than Fall/Winter 2020 though. I’ve pretty much written all the poems, but I want the formatting to be as close to perfect as possible (and I’m playing around with the idea of adding illustrations). That being said, the tentative title of my book is ‘Constellation Dwellers,’ and all the pieces draw inspiration from the stories and legends prescribed to the wonders of the night sky. I love incorporating mythology and lore into my work, and practically all of our constellations and other celestial bodies are named after mythical figures. I’ve had to do a lot of research for this book, but it’s been such a joy to write... and I can’t wait until it’s ready to share with the world!

Finally, how can we read more of your poems and get in touch with you?

You can follow me on instagram at olwendaisy_poetry. Once there, feel free to send a DM or email, if you wish to get in touch!

roots and vining things
make their presence known

but you, you’re
subtle in the way
the spring breeze is gentle

*but you, you’re
quiet in the way
a storm is subdued *

roots and vining things
have a way of choking
out all the other pretty,
little lifeforms;

they’ve crawled up against
my red roses, shared an
earthen bed with my pastel
they’re simply insatiable

but you, you’re
content in the way
the tabby drinks milk
in the way the rain drizzles
and in the way
flower crowns eventually decay