WHEN Lasana Philbert was ten years old, he started tinkering around with poems. The more poetry began to burst out of him the more he began to flex his writing muscles.
Rhyming poems turned into thoughtful prose and there was no stopping him as his imaginations soared. The self-published author, poet and writer wrote his first book in 2018 titled Thoughts from an Isolated Soul. Earlier this year he followed up with another collection of poems in a publication titled Reflections: Life in Hindsight, about his life while living in upstate New York, in small rural towns.
Philbert grew up in a family who focused on politics and advocating for higher education. A graduate of Bard College, in Hudson, New York, USA, Philbert, as a young college student, turned to poetry for comfort and reflection.
The poet belongs to a newly formed group of local writers and poets called Pens of Trinbago, and it’s mainly a social media platform where local writers and poets converge to share and discuss their work
“I began my writing journey at the age of ten, while attending Barataria Anglican Primary School. It was there where I first got attached to essay writing, which I really enjoyed. While in high school abroad, I transitioned into poetry and songwriting; and as a young college student. There’s one other writer in my huge family. But I wouldn’t consider myself coming from a literary background. My family were more focused on politics and advocating for higher education.
“I consider myself a writer, poet and author regardless of recognition because it is a part of who I am. Nevertheless, I’m more recognised abroad among my peers than at home here in Trinidad. Due to the simple fact that I spent a lot more time with these individuals than with people here.
“I enjoy writing about my life experiences and the life experiences of others. By doing so, I intend to add more meaning to life in a different way, for those who enjoy reading poetry literature. I chose poetry because it’s inherent to my being. It’s very easy for me to write, especially when I’m isolated away from the city life. So, it was only right that I use it to convey my emotions and perspectives on life in general,” he said.
“Other genres take longer to publish. With poetry, as soon as you write it, you can publish it; and there’s less scrutiny because poetry is spontaneous. In other words, you’re not restricted by writing conventions when writing poetry, as opposed to other genres.
The writing process is amazing for me because, again, I do it out of a love for it. It’s a part of who I am. I don’t rely on publicity as a catalyst for my writing,” Philbert said.
Motivated by an icon
Toni Morrison’s books were a big motivating factor for Philbert’s first book.
“My favourite poem from her is Song of Solomon. Her style and clarity in this book had a profound impact on me. The way she conveyed her stories so vividly, I wanted to emulate that in my poems.
“I began my first book called Thoughts from an Isolated Soul in April 2018. This is a collection of poems about my life while residing in upstate New York, in small rural towns. I moved around a lot in that rural/ isolated setting. So, the majority of poems in this book reflect my daily observations of rural life in general. But more specifically my life as an introvert. Hence, the “isolated soul” concept,” Philbert said.
The writer’s latest publication, Reflections: Life in Hindsight is more focused on his interactions with different cultures, during his travels to different countries. “On the other hand, the poetry in my second published book, entitled Reflections: Life in Hindsight, is more focused on my interactions with different cultures, during my travels to different countries.
Also, the poems in this book have a more political, philosophical, and sermon-like undertone attached to them, as opposed to my first book.
Observations on rural life
“The poetry here speaks about my life and the lives of others from the above perspectives. I moved around a lot in that rural/ isolated setting.
So, the majority of poems in this book reflect my daily observations of rural life in general. But more specifically my life as an introvert. Hence, the “isolated soul” concept,” Philbert said.
The independent author is focused on finding success as a poet. Although he’s not chasing honours, he uses his travels to promote his work.
“It is difficult to get recognised locally and internationally.
But I don’t get despondent. I use my travels to promote my work and enjoy that. It has allowed me to physically interact with my global audience, in ways my social media couldn’t.
In addition, it’s rewarding to see my work being sold globally despite limited recognition. But it’s hard work being an indie author. Everything rests upon you, the author.”
The author hopes to be able to mentor young minds.
“I want to mentor young writers but never had the opportunity and time to do so yet. Whenever the opportunity arises, I will gladly assist because Trinidad and Tobago is a hotbed of talent.
For now, I’m working on my third book alongside a self-publishing guide for indie authors who want to learn the ins and outs of being an independent author,” Philbert said.
Philbert’s books are available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Good Reads and via eBay.