Ruth Isabella Peters In ‘A Heart Of Glass’
In this fast-paced world, it is easy to get caught in the noise and disconnect from the calm and tranquility of reflection, especially, through the consumption of art forms like poetry. Whether you want to stimulate your intellect or foster emotional health and well-being, writing and consuming poetry has many benefits to offer and German-Nigerian poet Ruth Isabella Peters is very much aware of this.
Utilising the solace of the pandemic, Peters began exploring her artistic side even more intentionally and has now churned out her debut book of poems, ‘A Heart of Glass.’
In this chat, she spoke on her childhood, creative inspirations and body of work.
Kindly tell us about yourself
My name is Ruth Isabella Peters, and I’m a 28-year-old German poet of Nigerian descent.
What was your childhood like and where did you grow up?
I grew up in the North of Germany, in a small town called Pinneberg.
Were you a creative child?
Definitely, I did a lot of creative things, but mostly, I was designing my own clothes, writing a lot of stories and singing songs.
You’ve gone on to do so much ranging from building a career in fashion to authoring your first book of poems. At what point did you decide on the trajectory you wanted your life to take?
During the lockdown, I understood that. At the time, where I wanted to put my poetry out, a lot of people had this mindfulness phase where they understood that things needed to change and I wasn’t exempted from that reasoning. That foundational reset gave me a lot of inspiration to write these thoughts down, so, there’s a lot about identity, race, relationship dynamics and even faith and romance. The poetry collection is actually a collection of poems that I wrote over the years with the oldest written in 2019.
What/who were your early influences?
Nina Simone is certainly one of my earliest influences, because she was a visionary and a catalyst. Through her music, you can understand the climate of her generation.
I always found it fascinating how she was able to tell stories using classical music.
Etta James is also a very big influence of mine then of course Chimamanda Adichie because she also has a very unique way of reflecting the reality of an entire generation.
Wole Soyinka is a big influence as well because his writings have a very intellectual undertone and the novels are based on researched information and actual understanding of the society. When I think of these people and their influences on me, it’s clear to see how they’ve all individually influenced my writing.
Tell us about the inspiration behind your debut book ‘A Heart Of Glass’
It’s really not just one inspiration because it’s a collection of work. I addressed so many different topics, so, I think the focus should be on the inspiration behind the way I write, which is guided by experience, emotions and sometimes putting myself in someone else’s shoes.
Experiencing racism honestly broadens your worldview on things. Unfortunately, it’s a negative experience but just because it’s a negative experience doesn’t mean that you can only have a negative outcome, there can be positive outcomes because it broadened my worldview and made me understand that people think differently about things.
You wear so many hats, how do you manage to balance everything you have going on?
This is where poetry comes in, it gives me a chance to be mindful and grounded back to what the essence of everything is, and that helps me to keep up with everything else I have going on.
How do you de-stress when you’re feeling overwhelmed?
In an interview you had with ‘The London Daily Post’, you said your platform would be used to elevate African creatives internationally. How has that endeavor been going so far?
I’m still very committed to the idea of applying the African perspective to global problems and this is something we don’t see very often. There’s definitely a need for an Afrocentric perspective on certain things. When we look at traditional poetry it’s very unrelatable to the young urban person so it’s important to push for the inclusion of African creatives in the global conversation.
What do your close friends and family think of your writing?
They love my writing and think it’s very real and relatable.
What would you want readers to take away from your latest offering?
The title, ‘A Heart of Glass,’ is very intentional, because glass is fragile, but also transparent so imagine having a heart of glass, which means that you are getting a glimpse into the matters of the heart. Things that aren’t always spoken about but are important. I want every reader to understand that to some extent everyone has a heart of glass and they want it to be handled with care because on some level we’re all fragile. This book should start a conversation to process the matters of the heart.
Subsequently, I intend to publish this book alongside a diary so that as you read the poems, you have a guided journal to heal and process your own emotions.