I am delighted to welcome children’s author and poet, Victoria (Tori) Zigler to the blog today. I have read and reviewed a number of Tori’s lovely children’s books and have recently read her adult poetry book, Catching snowflakes and other poems, which is equally delightful.
Tell us a bit about yourself
My name is Victoria, but I prefer to be called Tori.
I’m an author of poetry and children’s stories, and have been writing since I was old enough to know how, having quickly learned the joy of doing so. Not well at first, admittedly, but nobody’s very good at it when they start out. I’m also a vegetarian, and a huge animal lover – except for creepy crawly things, like spiders and insects, which I just can’t bring myself to love.
Born and raised in the Black Mountains of South Wales, UK, I now live on the South-East coast of England, UK, along with my Canadian husband, Kelly, and my furkids. The latter currently consisting of a degu named Joshua, a chinchilla named Mollie, and a West Highland White Terrier named Lilie. Though how, or why, they all put up with me, I’m not entirely certain.
I’ve got several hobbies; I’m some kind of weird mix of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood, which means I enjoy giving both sides of my brain a good workout, and enjoy academic pursuits and creative ones equally, so you’re just as likely to find me knitting, playing role playing games, or baking, as you are to find me reading scientific papers, watching historical documentaries, or attempting to solve brainteaser puzzles. Although, being totally honest, you’re most likely to find me reading fiction in one genre or another, writing, or playing with the dog.
The other thing you should probably know about me is that I’m completely blind, having lost my sight to Congenital Glaucoma a little over a decade ago, after spending my childhood and teen years with low vision.
I know you are a great reader, Tori, as I see your numerous book reviews on Goodreads and on your blog. You cope extremely well with your blindness and have created a lovely life for yourself and your family.
Who is your favourite poet?
I always have trouble picking favourites of anything. It doesn’t help that my favourites will often change depending on my mood. I can, however, narrow it down to three: Robert Frost, William Wordsworth, and Dylan Thomas, which is more than I can do with most favourites lists.
I see some of my own favourites among these.
What is your favourite poem?
As with all other questions like this, my favourites can – and do – change. However, right now I’d have to answer with “Stopping By Woods On A Snowy Evening” by Robert Frost, for no reason other than I do really like it, and it was the first one that came to mind. For those not familiar with it, here it is:
“Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.
My little horse must think it queer
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.
He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound’s the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.
The woods are lovely, dark and deep,
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep,
And miles to go before I sleep.”
Thank you for sharing this beautiful poem, Tori.
What do you appreciate the most in a poem?
That depends on the poem. Even poems by the same poet bring something unique to the table, and have to be evaluated and appreciated individually. Sometimes it might be the actual words the poet has chosen that I most appreciate. Other times it might be the images the poem evokes, or the memories it brings to the forefront of my mind. It really depends on the poem. My mood can sometimes make a difference too; sometimes being in a particular frame of mind will make a poem speak to me in a different way to how it might otherwise.
I enjoyed this answer, Tori.
Why do I write poetry?
Why do I write poetry? You might as well ask why I breathe, because the answer would be the same: because I have to. Sorry if that’s not quite the answer you were looking for, but it’s the truth. The poems come to me, and I have to write them down. It’s the same with my stories. Sooner or later, I’ll have to write one. I write them because I have to. I share them because I believe art in all its forms should be shared. It’s that simple.
If you specifically mean you’d like to know why I write poetry rather than only sticking to stories, the answer is that I don’t know. Perhaps there’s some truth in the saying that, “To be born Welsh is to be born; not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but with a song in your heart, and poetry in your soul.” I can’t remember who said that, but it’s a quote that speaks to me enough that I used to have a pair of key rings with it on; one in English, the other in Welsh.
Regardless of the reason I do so, I do write poetry, and I love to share my poetry with the world. With that in mind, here’s a poem of mine called “Typo Fairies” for your reading pleasure:
Smiling a contented sigh
The author rubs her aching head,
Before stumbling sleepily to her
Long desired for bed.
A smile plays upon her lips
As she closes her tired eyes,
Imagining five star reviews
And her book winning a literary prize.
Then in the middle of the night,
While the author’s fast asleep,
From their secret hiding places
The typo fairies creep.
Listen to them giggling
(It makes a tinkling sound)
As they use their fairy magic
To move letters and words around.
By the time the author’s woken up
They’ve disappeared real quick.
She won’t see or hear them;
She’ll know nothing of their trick.
She’ll just shake her head in wonder
While exclaiming with dismay,
“It’s amazing how many typos you find
When you look again next day!”
Then she’ll sigh in resignation
And begin the tedious chore
Of making her precious manuscript
Typo free once more.
Another excellent answer, Tori. It is like that for me too. When a poem comes into my head, usually in a fairly complete form, I have to write it down. Thanks for sharing this poem from Catching Snowflakes and Other Poems.
Thank you, Tori, for visiting me and for sharing these entertaining answers to my questions.
About Catching Snowflakes and Other Poems
What Amazon says
A collection of poems of different lengths and styles – some with a hint of humour, others of a more serious nature – exploring a variety of themes, such as animals, nature, emotions, and the world around us.
I found Catching Snowflakes and Other Poems to be a wonderful poetic adventure. The poem has captured some lovely moments in nature and transformed them into beautiful and descriptive words. This book is not only about the wonder and beauty of nature, it peeks and prods into also sorts of interesting areas of life and experience including folk tales and the fairy folk, thought processes, relationships with people, small pleasures and includes some fun and entertaining takes on well know nursery rhymes.
The poems are presented in a number of varied poetic styles, including freestyle, rhyming verse, haiku and limerick. I am not a big fan of limericks but I did find these ones brought a smile to my face.
One of my favourite descriptive pieces in this book, extracted from a poem called “The Dance of Lady Autumn” is as follows:
“Here comes Lady Autumn
In gown of crimson and gold
With amber eyes and russet hair
She’s a beauty to behold.
See her dance among the trees;
Twirling around and around.
Each leaf she touches changes,
Before it tumbles to the ground.
Can’t you just visualise this gorgeous lady, in her array of striking colours, dancing among the trees. I can!
Purchase Catching Snowflakes and Other Poems
About Victoria Zigler
Victoria Zigler is a blind poet and children’s author who was born and raised in the Black Mountains of Wales, UK, and is now living on the South-East coast of England, UK, with her hubby and furkids. Victoria – or Tori, if you prefer – has been writing since she knew how, and describes herself as a combination of Hermione Granger and Luna Lovegood from the Harry Potter books: Hermione’s thirst for knowledge and love of books, combined with Luna’s wandering mind and alternative way of looking at the world. She has a wide variety of interests, designed to exercise both the creative and logical sides of her brain, and dabbles in them at random depending on what she feels like doing at any given time.
To date, Tori has published nine poetry books and more than 40 children’s books, with more planned for the future. She makes her books available in multiple eBook formats, as well as in both paperback and audio. She’s also contributed a story to the sci-fi and fantasy anthology Wyrd Worlds II, which is available in eBook only.
Follow Victoria Zigler
Facebook author page: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Victoria-Zigler/424999294215717
Purchase Victoria Zigler’s books here:
…Along with a variety of other online retailers.