A Poet of Condition: Gabriela Marie Milton
Gabriela Marie Milton is a poet of condition rather than profession. I wrote as much in the foreword to her collection of poetry, Passions, referring to the great Robert Graves’ suggestion that the art of poetry isn’t so much learned as it is lived. This is the first thing readers of Milton’s work will realize; this is poetry with soul.
As Jo Niederhoff of Manhattan Book Review said, “Where Gabriela Marie Milton really shines is in her imagery…She doesn’t paint details so much as she paints a feeling, with just enough precision that it becomes real.”
When I decided to begin the Poet Spotlight, Milton was the first poet who came to mind. Her poetry has an authenticity and freshness that simply can’t be crafted. It’s the distillation of true experiences and an introspective dedication that all poets need to get their art from their mind to paper.
Milton has always been careful to let her poetry speak for itself. She seldom agrees to interviews, and when she does she seem hesitant to reveal too much about her life and creative process. What I do know is that Gabriela Marie Milton was raised in Europe. From an early age, the poet appreciated art and literature. She has said of this experience, in an Author of the Year interview with Spillwords:
“When I read my first book…I probably was six or seven years old. Reading taught me that the writer has power over the reader: the power of making the reader feel; the power of making the reader question the world, as in questioning certain events; the power of immersing the reader in magic.“
This passion followed her throughout her life, as she traveled extensively before and after settling in the United States. Perhaps in need of an outlet for her creative work, Milton created a website to collect and publish her poetry, at first under the anonymous username “shortprosepoetry.” The online poetry community quickly took notice, and her self-published work found an audience of thousands. Suddenly, her love for poetry came full circle:
“Later, I experienced the influence of my writings on my own readers; my power to touch the soul of a reader when she or he reads me in the silence and solitude of their bedrooms. This is an extraordinary experience. It’s miraculous.“
While Milton also had her work featured in traditional poetry publications (under the name Gabriela M.), some of her best work continued to appear on her website. Eventually, Milton debuted her first collection of poetry, Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings, under the name Gabriela Marie Milton.
An Interview with Gabriela Marie Milton
What’s the Purpose of Poetry?
Gabriela Marie Milton: “My first impulse is to answer the creation of meanings. That which is not directly expressed impacts us differently than a simple narration. A table of contents informs us. It speaks to our reason. A poem takes us to the plans of our inner and outer worlds that lie beyond reasoning, such as for instance the oneiric plan.
“Of course, great poetry was written during the Enlightenment period: a period characterized by the celebration of reason. I mentioned the Enlightenment because I do not want to oppose the creation of meanings to rationality. That will be too simplistic.
“We need poetry in the same way we need myths. That is, we need poetry to make sense of our inner and outer worlds.
“In an interview with New York Glamor Magazine, I stated: “Poetry is the magnificence which reflects upon the landscape of our souls.” My intent was neither to offer an exhaustive definition of poetry, nor to dive into the more complex realm of conceptualization, and try to explain of what poetry is composed. The intent was to highlight that poetry is waiting for us at every corner. It exists everywhere. It needs to be discovered. Once discovered our understanding of the world becomes enhanced.”
What’s Your Creative Process?
Gabriela Marie Milton: “The need to write is always with me. It is like a second nature. Am I fully aware of the actions I undertake to bring a poem, or a piece of short prose, to its completion? Yes and no at the same time.
“I write when I can. Unfortunately, my schedule is hectic. I cannot write every day. I write during evenings. I write in the library at the first floor of the house. Built-in bookshelves are everywhere. There is a beautiful piece of art above the chimney, and the walls are painted in cranberry red. The main window opens to the back terrace. Beyond I can see the trees, and in the middle of the lawn, the Spanish fountain.
“To make room for my writing, there are nights in which I sleep only a few hours. The completion of my most recent poetry collection, Woman: Splendor and Sorrow, drastically shortened my nights.
“However, to me, what I am not fully aware of is the most important part of the question, “What’s your creative process?” Are my writings the same as me? Is the subject (me) the same as that which is produced (my writings)? My tendency is to answer yes. I am not talking about a perfect identification, but the most important parts of me find their ways on paper, so to speak.
“What is the inner mechanism by which they get there? Is creating an act of liberation? Yes, it is, but that is not the entire story. Is it an act of absolution? Sometimes. Is it an act of giving to the world? Yes, it is, but this is not the entire story either.”
What parts of your life inform your poetry?
Gabriela Marie Milton: “That which I sense and that which I dream. That which I love and that which I cannot fulfill. What is going on in the kitchen does not inform my poetry. I have no idea why. I wish it would. I wish I could write about that which is banal. I wish I could write poems about the dishwasher. Yet, I cannot.”
What artists have had the largest impact on your work?
Gabriela Marie Milton: “My favorite poet is Arthur Rimbaud, and my favorite composer is Chopin. My favorite novelist will always be Lawrence Durrell, and my favorite painter Salvador Dalí. Yet, there are other writers that had a profound impact on me. Humanists like Erich Maria Remarque; writers like Umberto Eco and Jorge Luis Borges, poets like Seferis and Mallarmé.”
What’s the hardest part about being a poet; the best part?
Gabriela Marie Milton: “The hardest part? Not being able to write poetry all the time. The best part? Being able to write poetry all the time. “
Years from now, what do you hope your poetry has accomplished?
Gabriela Marie Milton: “I hope that in dark nights and in lonely days, my poems will still accompany someone in the silence of her/his room. There I hope my poems will still murmur: ‘You are not alone. Life is mystery. Live it. Life is beauty. Feel it. One day we may know that which is hidden from view.'”
Accolades & Publications: Gabriela Marie Milton
2021: Woman: Splendor and Sorrow published by Vita Brevis Press
2021: Featured in The Anthropocene Hymnal: Songs of a Self-Defining Era
2021: Featured in the Bestselling Anthology Brought to Site & Swept Away
2021: Interviewed in Free Verse Revolution Issue II
2021: Nominated Editor of MasticadoresUSA
2021: Interviewed in New York Glamour Magazine
2020: New York Times Bestseller Christina Schwarz on Gabriela Marie Milton’s poetry: “With lush language and lavish imagery, Gabriela M. evokes a fantastic world ripe with emotion.”
2020: “if I say I love you” nominated for Publication of the Year (Poetic) at Spillwords
2020: Passions: Love Poems and Other Writings published by Vita Brevis Press
2020: Featured in the Bestselling Anthology Pain and Renewal
2020: Featured in the Words of Power poetry anthology
2019: Author of the Month (April) at Spillwords Press NYC
2019: Author of the Year at Spillwords Press NYC
2019: Interviewed for Author of the Year 2019 Featured in Spillwords Press NYC
Other Publications Include: Gabriela Marie Milton’s other works have been published in Spillwords Press NYC, Vita Brevis Poetry Magazine, Indian Periodical, Gioielli Rubati Poetry, Indian Periodical, Tuck Magazine, KashmirPen, “Heretics, Lovers, and Madmen,” Literary Yard, Proletaria, Free Verse Revolution Literary Journal, and MasticadoresUSA.