Interview with author Stefano Fonseca
" Learning to Fly" is a beautiful collection of poems written by Stefano Fonseca. I have had the privilege of getting to know Stefano through social media. In a day and age where it feels like you want to turn it off, there is always a light and a purpose to everything. Without social media I would of never known Stefano, who was generous enough to send his book to my small, budding dream! I have read through his book and it spoke to me dearly. Poetry is a lost art and those that have the talent to connect with their audience truly possess a rare magic, which poetry is. Poetry is magic. Poetry bares your soul. You are essentially a open book that touches on experiences, feelings and dreams etc. The amazing thing about "Learning to Fly" is that you feel connected to another persons perspective and emotions. You do feel that you are not alone in dark and light moments in your life. Which is also such a validation. We are not alone. We have each other. If you are looking for magic, if you are looking to connect, to grow or to be inspired, this beautiful collection of poems is for you.
Read Below to hear more from Stefano Fonseca!
When did you start writing poetry?
Around when I was 14 or 15 years old. Even though, I would not define it as poetry rather scribbling some words together. It was the way I found to cope with my sensitivity and deal with the strong emotions I started to face at that age. Somehow, I never had anybody to talk about my feelings, or someone to guide me; I am not sure if it was due to my inability to express myself or shame, or because nobody would truly listen to me but since I can remember, I struggled with deep loneliness and somehow, writing would ease my physical pain – and still does.
What motivated you to publish your first collection of poems?
Believe it or not, it was a higher calling. Don’t ask me how but since a very young age my intuition tells me writing is my life’s purpose, yet I never truly committed to it – there was always something more important or exciting happening in life. And, well, when in my early twenties I went through a severe depression, to a point where I was about to commit suicide… call it god, angels, spirits… all I can say is, something higher got through me, showed me my souls mission and in this moment I entirely committed to write. I would abandon all blocking me from my purpose; I renounced to everything distracting me.
Last year, a sort of inner voice started screaming in me, pushing me to go through old poems from my adolescence and young adulthood, rewrite them if needed, write some additional poems, and publish it as a book. The entire purpose behind it was to leave the past in the past and free myself from the burden of suffering; I needed to stop being the child who hides in his room and writes for himself, living in his own world; exposing myself, sharing my pain, and showing myself as I truly am without fearing to show my shadows, made me grow a lot.
Writing poetry is soul work & leaves the writer honest and open. What trials or emotions have you stumbled upon on your writing journey?
Dealing with my emotions is genuinely the hardest challenge I face in life – it’s very hard for me to digest what I feel because it’s goes very deep and there are many layers I need to peel off before coming to the true essence. For example, men often are thought crying is a sign of weakness, which leads to shutting down sadness and overcompensate it with anger; I struggle a lot with allowing sadness to surface, it requires a lot of time and patience until all the anger goes out the way and I can see clearly what is there.
Besides my emotions, the biggest hurdle I face while writing is obsession and control. As you say, it’s soul work and controlling the output is highly counterproductive. So, I wish I would focus more on having fun and enjoying the processes rather than being obsessed with getting it finished, and published, and selling, and recognised.
What poem from you current Learning to Fly was the hardest or easiest to pen down and why?
Hardest? The poem on page 39, definitely! One can only understand the type of madness I have been through if one has gone through it too. Being unable to leave the bed for 6 weeks, not eating, sleeping, showering… being isolated and helpless… to a point where I distortedly came to believe there was no way out… I am not ashamed because I know it changed my life profoundly, yet I haven’t forgiven myself. It thought me that life is such a blessing and each day a gift, and it hurts to have considered ending it all (permanently).
Easiest? The poem on page 61. “Easy,/ Lightly,/ But always evolving./ Change is slow,/ Take your time to grow”. It came to me so naturally and effortlessly.
What would you hope and want for your readers to take from Learning to Fly?
Above all, hope. I wish nobody would ever go through the extreme experience I went through. In the impossibility to avoid it, I hope the readers feel understood, seen, felt, and allow me to connect with them through my words so they don’t feel alone. I wish it eases their pain, that they know no matter how heavy, dark, and confusing life gets, there is always hope and a reason to go on; that they know it’s not permanent and will get better eventually; that I can spend them a little light in their darkest time. I would have given everything to have had somebody besides me to help me feel less lonely and help me ease my pain, help me trust that all was alright, help me to understand it’s okay.
And last but not least, what book has inspired you, or changed your perspective in this life?
"The Little Prince" by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. It amazes me how simple a book can be written and yet offer such complexity. I read it once a year and each time I do, I read a different book. It connects me with a joyful and playful yet very conscious perspective about life. It reminds me to not take life too seriously, let things be as they are and enjoy the process more rather than being obsessed with things I can’t control.
A million thanks to the author Stefano Fonseca for his time and patience through this whole process! You can find his book in our Spoken Word Collection, I hope you find what you may need in his words.
One of my favorite poems from his current book " Learning to Fly" is Chapter three, page 47. Words I am still actively applying to my life.
" The places where
Your heart breaks
Are the same places
Where you need
To cultivate love the most."
- Stefano Fonseca