Monday, August 5, 2013

Life of a Poet ~ Kelvin S.M.

Kids, we have a rising star in our community that I believe we will be hearing a lot about through the years. Kelvin S.M. writes at   Kelvin S.M. Poetry,     and you will also find him tending bar at dVerse every week. I was so happy to scoop him for an interview, so we can say We Knew Him When, after he becomes famous!

P.U.: Kelvin, so happy to be interviewing you!  Let’s set the scene. Where do you live and what do you love the most about it?  What does life look like at Kelvin’s on an ordinary day?

Me 2013

Kelvin:  A normal day for me is like any other day --- on weekdays: accountant by day and writer by night; and on weekends: either I hang out with friends, nature tripping outside, and/or hunting book sales. The rural setting is what I like most in Quezon --- the rice fields, the bird songs, the scent of fresh air. When I stepped into college, I was sent back to the city to study. I am currently a mainstay in Fairview, Quezon City for more than 7 years now, living with dad and an older brother.

P.U.: Would you like to tell us a little about your family?

Kelvin: Initially my parents lived in Pasig City where they rented a fair enough space for about 7 years, though mom gave birth to me in 1991 at my grands' residence in Quezon province (my dad's hometown province). I was 5 when my parents got to own a parcel of land in Quezon and we immediately transferred there for good.

Me at 5 - first graduation

We are six in the family: my daddy (48), my mommy (50), my older brother Elcid (24), me (22), and two younger sisters --- Eloisa May (20) and Karla (18). My grands live in separate places. 

Me and Dad

Dad works as a government employee, for more than 25 years now. Mom is busy with her gardening, retail store and a small eatery. Brother recently finished a course in Fine Arts, while my two sisters are soon to finish college, taking courses in Food Technology and Forestry, respectively.

Daddy and Mommy, then and now

Me &  my three siblings

P.U.: What a beautiful family, Kelvin! You are so young, and have already done so many things. I’m intrigued by your having been an actor, on stage and in films. Would you like to tell us a bit about that? Will you return to the stage or the screen?

Kelvin: It was in my early college years when I auditioned for a theatrical play. My classmate/friend was actually the one auditioning, and I just accompanied her to show moral support. Little did I know I would get an interest to audition as well, and the rest was history.

We both got through the audition but, luckily, I was offered to play more lead roles than her. In one workshop I attended, I was fortunate enough to meet a real TV/Film director. I got an offer from him to do an Indie Film, but for some reason the project didn't happen. I was active on stage for one and a half year until I got busy with my course and thesis.

I was a first year high school student when I started casting extra roles on films. Super extra roles that I seemed not there, though I was, actually, there... haha. My first was in 'CHAVIT (2003)' - a film about the life story of one prominent figure in Philippine politics. It so happened that some scenes on the film were taken in Quezon, and quite near to where I lived back then. I got spotted by a crew, and was asked to play an extra... haha... and I got paid... yay!

Chavit 2003

P.U.: Yay! I hope you dont mind my saying you are handsome enough to be a movie star! Any dreams in that direction?

Kelvin: No, I have never attempted auditioning for a movie yet. It's not easy getting into the business... the trend today in showbiz or the movie industry has tremendously changed from that of yesterday. Talent counts less these days but if you have like strong connections or you have a family / relative from the industry you'll for sure in a blink of an eye get the big break you want... ha, i think... i would rather settle as a broadcast journalist than be an actor anymore...

Me and Ms Elma, a friend and office-mate
I am the youngest (bunso) in the office 
and they treat me as totoy/utoy (l'i child)  

P.U: It sounds like a fun workplace, kiddo!  When did poetry come alive for you? What inspired you to begin writing?

Kelvin: The poetry thing was initially introduced to me when I was sent to a school that teaches strict English as a medium of day-to-day conversations. The school was originally established in Italy by St. Magdalene of Canossa, branching out in different parts of the world, including the Philippines as brought by the Canossian sisters.

As part of the English curriculum, we were introduced to art and literature of different countries and almost everyday we would read poems by Shakespeare, Wordsworth, Byron, Whitman, Poe, Browning, Neruda, etc. My very first English teacher in high school seemed to focus more on Shakespeare's works as she would often ask the class to interpret a poem by him and/or sometimes would even ask us to memorize a piece by him for the next meeting's graded recitation.

My blooming interest toward poetry was heightened late in my high school years when I got hooked up to Haiku poetry form; then I got into sonnets. There was none who knew that I was into creative writing back then, not even my family had an idea about it. The only thing they believed to be true to my nature was the fact that I'm an artist and a cartoonist. The whole poetry thing was kept secret to the world until I finally took the courage to reveal it to them (my family & friends) and the initial reaction was: 'really?'

P.U.: You received your introduction to the very finest of classical poets! Do you still have the first poem you ever wrote?

Kelvin: Yes, I do. It was a simple Haiku about an early morning visitor:

by Kelvin S.M.

That buzzing sound came
Early morning in the field ---
The flowers shiver.

P.U.: An awesome haiku! Who would you say has been the most significant influence on your becoming a creative artist?

Anne's Lily, 2012 

Kelvin:  I am a late bloomer in poetry, so the support I got as a kid was more on my artistic side.  I was very young  when I started participating in various art and painting competitions.  I'd say I got the learning more from my environment and personal initiative to gather facts about poetry. I often write based on personal observations and everyday I get to learn & discover new things in life that drives me to wanting to know more and get deeper.

P.U.: What makes a poem sing for you?

Kelvin: If a poem can change the world, the way I feel it from my heart (more than I see it from my eyes), then that makes a poem sing for me. It is easy to identify a poem; the hardest part is feeling it.

‘It is easy to identify a poem; the hardest part is feeling it.’

P.U.: Whoa, that statement  really has an impact! Do you write only when you are inspired, or do you write continuously, and find that some poems sing a little more sweetly than others?

Kelvin:  I write only when I am inspired. It's really hard to write when you can't feel any inspiration at all. Though, it's  hard not to feel inspired when you are surrounded by so many things worthy to be inspired about. Only a matter of right appreciation, I guess.

P.U.: Where do you find  inspiration?

Kelvin:  Everywhere. Aye!

P.U.: (smiles) What other creative outlets do you enjoy? I read you began as an artist at age seven.

Photography by Kelvin S.M. 2013

Kelvin:  Basically, every little kid started from making doodles, drawings, mixing colours/shapes/lines. In my case, I guess, it really improved as I kept going on and on, and pursuing it.

Three Urns 2012

Well, aside from painting, I did also once become a folk dancer, but it was only a short-lived interest. When I entered high school I became more active in various activities. I became a declamator, an orator, cartoonist, radio broadcaster, catechist, chess master, liturgical choir member, book & art lover, physics & logarithm geek, and a top notcher in class.

P.U.: I am way impressed!

Kelvin: I do still draw & paint these days, but not as often as I used to when I was younger. In fact, I have even organized a blog for my crayon artworks. While I do know how to use well water colours, pastels or paints I have decided to focus my creativity these days on using 'Ordinary Crayons' to create an artwork. It's sort of like going back to basics. I'd like to start a campaign toward the use of crayons in creating simple but equally fine art pieces.

Orange 2012

I have noticed nowadays how most aspiring artists tend to venture more on patronizing the use of acrylics, pastels, etc. not even realizing the potential of crayons to actually produce equally good results. As an artist myself, I firmly believe that my imagination is more powerful than the medium I use. Let's say you have all the highest quality of mediums in art. If you  are incapable of translating your imagination into solid form, then your art is useless. You are just the type of artist who impresses more through form, rather than of substance.

P.U.: Well said, my friend. You are also a cartoonist. What do you love about it? Have you ever submitted any of your cartoons?

My editorial cartoon
Canossian Newsette 2007

Kelvin: I do editorial cartoons, and what I like about it is I get to express my personal commentaries about  certain issues by way of cartoons. It's like writing a news or editorial article, but instead of words I use symbolism thru the character/s I portray.  Some of my works were published in our campus official newsletter back in high school, producing 3 volumes per school year.

Sabang Morong Bataan 2013
(Me, Ms Letlet, Sir Albert)

P.U.: You might think about self-publishing some of them, kiddo. I love your poem The Secret Poemwould you say this is the poem that best defines you?

       by Kelvin S.M. / 2011

    Listen, for I will tell thee about a secret
    I kept in the wind.

    I am a poet. Dost thou believe? -
    yes, I am.

    I am the killer of all hidden words,
    the digger of the deepest thoughts.

    I am the weaver of all broken souls,
    the stealer of the past,

    the healer of the present,
    the ghost of the coming years.

    I am a poet - yes, I, truly, am -
    ask the wind.

    I write when there is none that writes.
    I laugh when there is none that laughs.
    I weep when there is none that weeps.
    I sleep when there is none that sleeps.
    I live when there is none that lives -

    because I am a poet, dost thou believe?
    and this is my secret, perhaps,
    the wind will tell thee soon.

    My life is like that of a bird hidden
    in the deep forest -

    I will die but there is none that knows.

Kelvin: Not exactly the poem that best defines me as a poet, but rather my own interpretation of how the life of a poet  differs from the usual life,  as lived by many. It's more like a letter to those people who have not been  able, yet,  to get a chance to discover the poet in me. A sort of  revelation to a secret kept for quite too long. A poet must be freed from its human skin, and die not with his poems in him.

‘A poet must die not with his poems in him.’

P.U.: Brilliant, Kelvin! I so love your secret poem - and that quote! We share a love of Mary Oliver’s poetry. What resonates with you about her work?

Kelvin: It's the nature theme and the varied references to animals and/or little things. I like the simplicity of her language and the sincerity in her voice and intentions. Her poetry, for me, best describes the kind of poems that can really change the world. Her works are unpretentious yet manage to deliver fine awakenings and impact deeply. She celebrates beauty in everything, that I'm able to feel easily from her poems. There Is A Place Beyond Ambition, Black Snakes, Showing The Birds, and Percy Poems are a few of my top favorites from her.

Valor shrine at Mt. Samat

P.U.: Goody! Some I haven’t read yet! You studied in the area of arts and media, with a goal of a career in broadcasting. Then you made a sharp left turn into corporate accounting. Do you still have dreams of a life in the media? You are so young, everything is possible! DREAM BIG!

Kelvin: The initial plan was actually to take a course in Mass Communication majoring in Broadcasting. I just loved the notion back then of seeing myself anchoring a news segment on TV and/or reporting on field live doing life changing documentaries --- what fun, but, it all didn't happen.

The thing about accounting is that I do really make money from it though, at times, mind gets tired of dealing with thousands and thousands of numbers & taxes everyday so somehow I don't see myself doing this job for the rest of my life.

When my sisters get finished in their college courses I plan to pursue the dream I set aside for awhile. I have opened it up already to my parents and they're willing to support me this time. Finally, they're learning to embrace the fact that I belong to the world of arts & media more truly than to the corporate world where they pushed me through. Ha, I just couldn't rebel back then for they're my family --- what makes them happy, makes me happy too even if that, sometimes, could mean sacrificing something I truly wanted badly to achieve for myself.

P.U.: I am truly happy you will once again pursue your dream, Kelvin. One cannot live without a dream. How does the poet in you withstand the life of corporate accounting?

Kelvin: Believe it or not, I do have multiple personalities in me, and I am totally in control of each. I know exactly when and/or where to pull out a specific personality to take over another. Definitely, I can't write a poem when my whole self is in accountant mode, and vice versa, I can't fully concentrate on my accounting when my whole self is in poetic mode. Kind of weird, but that's how my world goes normal for me everyday.

Me and friends,
company outing 2013

P.U.: What are your goals for your poetry over the next few years?

Kelvin: To get published is what I aim for, with my poetry, and it will come at the right time. Right now, I am more than happy to showcase my poems publicly in my little space on the web. Take it any way you want , I don't give a damn.

P.U.: How has blogging impacted your work?

Kelvin: When I first started blogging, it was already clear to me that it shouldn't be the top most priority. When I'm at the office I work. When I'm at home I do chores, I read books, I write. Any excess time, whenever possible and practicable, I blog.

P.U.: Anything you are passionate about?

Kelvin: Yes, I have been writing articles lately for dVerse Poets Pub's weekly series of Poetics, and I have also been participating, whenever possible, here at Poets United's Verse First, in Poetry Jam and Magpie Tales weekly writing prompts. 

P.U.: Good things and places to be passionate about! Is there anything else you’d like to share with Poets United?

Kelvin: None, I'm all good. Thank you, Sherry, & Poets United for this wonderful series & opportunity. I look forward to more writing experience with the community.....smiles...

P.U.: Thank you, kiddo. I feel honored to be interviewing you. I believe you are a shining star and that you’ll go far!!!!!

Isn't he great, kids? I know we'll be hearing lots more about this rising poet. Do come back to see who we talk to next. I will give you a hint: it is another rising young poet, who is being awarded a top prize for poetry in Australia this very week.


  1. Wonderful interview, Sherry. And Kelvin, I think you already know I am a great fan of your work. You write so well and so deeply, and every word is important in your poetry. For you poetry is an art and not just a pastime, and I am glad you will pursue your dream of mass communications. I can sense that is where you would belong to make use of all of your artistic talents.

    I like "The Secret Poem" very much. The last line takes my breath away. Looking forward to reading more of your work.

    1. ...thank you Mary... i'm working hard today & saving more for my going back to school... i am excited already.... smiles...

  2. ...aww...thank you Sherry & Poets United for a rewarding experience to share my stories with you & everyone... i really appreciate your patience Sherry t'ward this entire process of putting all of these together... again, thank you for having me here... it, truly, is a great honour... smiles...

    1. You are most welcome, my friend. It was a privilege and a pleasure! Thank you, as well, for your work at dVerse, another wonderful place on the web:)

  3. Kelvin ... you are indeed a star! I can't recall a more fascinating interview. Photos, stories, your friends, family ... thank you so much .. both you and Ms. Sherry!!!

  4. You are great company, you two, with photos and poems and conversation. I'm trying to remember myself at age 22 when everything was possible, before specialization took over. And that's good, too, Kelvin. I hope you keep writing, whatever else you do.

  5. Kelvin and Sherry,

    Congratulations on this wonderful interview and this great opportunity to get to know you much better.
    I have been a follower of your poetry since 2009, when I think our paths crossed in this Blogosphere world. You have always offered me so much support and I am grateful for that.
    I wish you well with all your writing and future plans Kelvin:)
    Thank you Sherry for this great interview.

  6. kelvin, you know i love you brother...your connection to family is one fo the most impressive things to me....pretty cool on being a movie star as well...knew about your art which is great...and you have the world before you man...and obviously have the talent to do whatever you set your mind oft inspire me as i was not thinking poetry at age 22 at all ha...smiles.

  7. very cool to see kelvin featured here...kelvin...really like you's good to try different things and i think the things we learn in doing one thing flows back into something else as well... thanks as well for sharing a bit about your family...sounds like you're having really strong family bonds and all the best for digging even deeper into art in the future...way to go...wooohoooo

  8. Wonderful interview! kelvin is an extremely talented young man and I always look forward to reading his work. The Secret Poem is beautiful!

  9. How lovely to read and see the pictures of Kelvin and his family and friends ~ We all have our work to do but hopefully when all the obligations are done, you can move on to something you really like to do ~ You are young and the whole world is yours if you like ~

    Wishing you all the best kababayan ~

  10. Great guy, Kelvin! The tag seems to be that you're young! But in poetry writing age is not a factor. You're beyond your years. You write with such maturity and knowledge like that of a veteran. Nice to know you buddy! Very versatile and very talented. We'll want to hear more from you, certainly we do! Great interview! Knowing you that much closer!


    1. You are so right, Hank - when there is this much talent, age is irrelevant, other than to marvel at such a voice in one so young - an Old Soul, he must be - look at those eyes. Kelvin, I know a shining future awaits you! And you are doing really well with your Present, too!

  11. A shining star, indeed! Nice to meet you, Kelvin! I am also a poet in the accounting field! I wish you more success to come in your future endeavors!

  12. I enjoyed learning more about you, Kelvin. I am one of six also. I am the second born. Love your art and of course your writing.

  13. Kelvin, I love how you consider yourself a "late bloomer." I didn't write a poem until around age 51.... call me Grandma Moses!

    Thanks for sharing, with no bones about it, all your accomplishments. I love your humility in spite of all you have done so far. Your poetry is such that I know you will be published one day... and I honor your sense of duty to your family in getting your sisters through school first.

    Honor, mad creativity... and that "multiple personality" thing, I know what you mean. It's like having many radios in your head, each on a different channel, but with discipline, you can learn how to listen to only one when it's the right time.

    Keep 'em coming, Kelvin. And Sherry, thanks again for this. Your interviews are all unique as the subjects! Peace, Amy

  14. I really enjoy your poetry and your artwork Kelvin, thanks for sharing it with us! And thanks, Sherry, for another great interview!

  15. I'm another great fan of this poet, who is a master of beautiful language and loves craft and form.

  16. "I do have multiple personalities in me, and I am totally in control of each." That's the essence of you Kelvin. You are so attached and detached at the same time. What wonderful bond you share with your family, work and your creative world.
    And thanks to Ms Sherry for this wonderful interview.

  17. Aww! so nice to see you featured kelvin. you are a bundle of talent, no doubt. Lovely pics and keep pouring poetry. You sure are going to make it big one day soon! :)

    Thanks Sherry for a wonderful spotlight!

  18. Kelvin, your talent will take you far. I have so enjoyed watching you take your stride in the poetry blogosphere. And I so love bumping into your poetry at dVerse, Magpie Tales and here at PU!

    Sherry, great interview as usual. It is not often that we get to see such a young poet coming out as strong as Kelvin !

  19. Sherry does wonderful interviews. And Kelvin? One of my favs, not just as a poet but one of my favorite people to run across on the Internet. A young and beautiful man filled with kindness and wisdom and really wonderful words! I enjoyed learning more of you my friend! And, I have missed you! I suspect that it is because we often write in different places. (((Hugs))) Kelvin!

  20. What a great interview (thank you both!)! I always enjoy reading Kevin's work, it's always such a pleasure to read.

  21. Loved the interview! Look forward to reading more of Kelvin's writings.

  22. You won't be a hidden bird for long-your dream will give you wings!
    So wonderful to learn more about you Kelvin!

    I love this interview ;D

    You are so talented! Shoot for the stars~

  23. did I miss this Kevin!! Sorry about the delay. Enjoyed reading your answers and the pics are just awesome. We know, you are an accomplished poet. Way to go... Your relationship with your family is one of the most impressive things to me. It was great knowing you more..:)
    Thanks Sherry for this wonderful interview. I look forward to reading more interviews here. Shall check out this page every Monday hereon...:)

  24. I find this to be so interesting, these interviews. What a talent you are, Kevin - and what a wonderful person. It shines through in your words.


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