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In Conversation: Isabella Fay Vedro


Hey there, welcome back to The Poetry Cove Magazine's 'In Conversation Series. In this issue, we sat down with TikToker and poet, Isabella Fay Vedro!



Isabella's love for poetry began in the third grade when her dad helped her write a poem about a bald eagle. She ended up winning a poetry competition with it, and that was the moment she realised she had a talent for writing. However, it wasn't until she was 17 and struggling with her mental health that she really began to use poetry as an outlet for her emotions.


For Isabella, poetry is a way to express the big questions we all have about life. Why are we here? What's our purpose? She believes that everyone can be a poet, but it takes a desire to want to know the answers to those questions and a willingness to share your experiences with others.


Isabella's poetry is deeply personal, but it resonates with people worldwide. She's created a safe space for people to share their stories and be heard. But it's not always easy. Isabella's poetry often deals with heavy topics like sexual assault, grief, and mental illness.


Despite the challenges, Isabella continues to write and share her poetry with the world. Isabella's journey to writing her first book, When the Cicadas Return, is a powerful example of how writing can be a tool for healing and growth. Her book is a deeply personal collection of poems and prose that explores her journey of healing from trauma and finding self-acceptance. Isabella is also about to publish her second book, which includes both poetry and narrative.


We sat down with Isabella to talk about all things poetry and life.


TRIGGER WARNINGS: Sexual Assault, Grief, Mental Illness


Adam Gary:

Hello, and welcome back to the Poetry Cove Magazine 'In Conversation' series. I'm here with poet, Isabella Fay Vedro, author of When the Cicadas Return, and we are talking all things poetry and TikTok and just to have a nice chat, really. How are you doing, Isabella?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

I'm good. How are you?


Adam Gary:

I'm good, thank you. Yeah, not too bad. So, Isabella, let's get started. Why poetry? Why did you decide to write poetry?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

I think that poetry in and of itself is an art, and I think that when it comes to the human experience, everybody gravitates towards some sort of art. And so writing and poetry have been kind of like my totem to reality and just something that is an outlet for me to express myself and my feelings. And doing that in art is something that I think is beautiful and powerful.



Adam Gary:

Is it just poetry that you write, or are there other art forms that you enjoy?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah, so I do poetry, but I also just I write in general, I would say poetry and then also just narrative. My second book is actually a narrative with a little bit of poetry in it. So I'm kind of trying to branch out from just poetry. But poetry is definitely kind of where the strong suit, you could say, is with me. But I do enjoy various forms of other writing.


Adam Gary:

Nice. I naturally kind of want to jump in straight away and ask about the second book, but that's not until later. So how did you come to write poetry? Where did it all start?



Isabella Fay Vedro:

So the story is a little funny, actually, but when I was in third grade, there was this poetry competition at our community college in this really small town in Wisconsin, and my dad and I actually sat down and wrote a poem. Like, we wrote a poem about a bald eagle, and actually, I won it. And so from then on,


Adam Gary:

Congratulations!


Isabella Fay Vedro:

I think it was out of, like, 500 kids.


Adam Gary:

Oh, wow!


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah, but it was really fun. And I just remember my dad is a huge literature guy. He actually taught literature at Polytechnic School in California. And so I kind of grew up always being surrounded by literature, poetry, Shakespeare-


Adam Gary:

-my guy.


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah. So it came pretty naturally, but I would say probably when I started to become my own writer, I would say I was about 17.


Adam Gary:

So for context, you've just turned 21, right?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yes, February 27.


Adam Gary:

Nice. Happy birthday. Belated birthday. So what inspires you, what motivates you to be like, oh, I'm going to pick up the pen and write about that? Does it just come naturally?



Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah. Obviously, it's heavily influenced by my emotions. I, in full transparency and honesty, kind of have a hard time writing things when I'm feeling really happy because I usually use poetry to kind of describe my mental illness. I was diagnosed with depression and generalised anxiety disorder and PTSD when I was 17, which that's kind of when I started to really go through the trenches of mental illness and mental health. So sometimes when I'm having those big emotions all over again, instead of kind of self-destructing, one would say, I pick up the pen and I write about it because I know hundreds of thousands of I mean, even millions of people deal with mental illness. So kind of my motto is if I'm helping one person when I'm writing myself and helping someone else, that's what matters. But I would say mental illness and my emotions and also I'm a very nostalgic person, so reminiscing on past conversations. That's a big motivation and inspiration for me.


Adam Gary:

Yeah. Without going into too much detail, I just managed to get over, a big hurdle. And you're saying about the nostalgia thing, literally, I messaged you because I came across one of your TikToks about sitting at a table with your younger self. It really hit me. Do you just let it come naturally or do you kind of ever think, okay, I need to get a bit of work down? Do you have, like, a working routine or is it just natural, in the moment - as and when you're feeling it?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

I think it's kind of both. There have been times when I haven't written in a few weeks and I'll have to force myself to sit down. Usually, I will put on some sort of musical playlist that makes me feel nostalgic. But also it is something that does come naturally because usually my mind is just running and I have so much going on in my mind 99% of the time that kind of just getting myself into the whole groove of things and into the flow is something that if I have to do manually, it doesn't take too long to do.



Adam Gary:

That segues nicely into the next question. We've spoken before about psychology and philosophy, which I know is also something you're interested in. Do you think as a poet, you need to be a bit of a philosopher? Maybe not so much psychology, but I certainly feel like philosophy plays a big role in poetry. What do you think?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

I think that anybody can be a poet. But what I think it really comes down to is we kind of all have this question coming into life of what's my purpose and where do you fit in in the world? And I think that everybody wants to do something important. I don't know what the word is, but we just have this root within us of 'what makes me important' and 'what makes this life that I'm living important'. And I think that poetry is kind of a way to express that question that we have, those multiple questions that we have about like why am I here? And so that's where I kind of think it ties into philosophy as well. It's because everyone wants an answer to that. Whether people find their answer from religion, sometimes it will come from a spiritual experience, sometimes it will come from purely just what you believe in, in and of yourself, from your own mind. But I do think it's all connected in some way. And that's kind of where I think that everybody can be a poet. But I do think that you have to have this specific desire to want to know, to really write poetry that makes other people question those same things, if that makes sense.


Adam Gary:

Is that ever like an active thing for you when you're writing poetry? Do you ever actively think, oh, I have to answer some of these questions - possibly for other people, or is it just a very personal thing for you? And then obviously it resonates with a lot of people. But do you ever consciously think about the fact you're helping others answer their own questions about life?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah, I always think about the other people who may come across my poetry as well and give them something that they can resonate to. I would say it's probably like 75 is my own personal experience, but I make sure to write about it in a way that -. It's personal for me, but it allows it to be personal for other people. It's not a singular experience. I think it can be very subjective to where if someone sees that, they're like, oh, I feel that way, so I don't feel alone. But when it came to the book, I would say most of that is my own experiences. Some of my poetry that I've shared on my socials or even just with my friends sometimes that's a bit more like I said, subjective. And I don't write it from my own experiences, but rather thinking about humanity as a whole and what society is going through. But by the end of the day that always ends up being a little personal but sometimes I try to kind of take myself out of the equation and give it more to the people who want to view it and feel those feelings.


Adam Gary:

Just going back to things being subjective and stuff, like all art I guess, have you ever had - because again you're doing really well on social media and stuff. Have you ever had someone comment on one of your this really resonated with me because - and then relating to it completely different to what you were experiencing, and if you have, how did that make you feel?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

I get lots of direct messages and comments really about I want to preface this by saying like a trigger warning because talking about subjects like this can be triggering but about sexual assault and rape and grief, I get a lot of messages about those and hearing everybody's different stories about those. That's probably the main ones that I get. The depression, anxiety and mental health ones. When I read those as well, I feel for them because I understand. But there are some things that some people go through that have opened up to me or just left in the comments for anybody to read because they need to get it off of their chest, that bad. Then my heart just breaks for them. It gets really hard sometimes knowing how horrible things are for some people and it just makes me want to hug them and put them in bubble wrap and keep them safe from the rest of the world because this world is beautiful but it's a very evil place at times. People can be very evil so sometimes it's hard, it can be a lot to carry because you want to help so much but sometimes the best that we can do is just listen and let people get it off of their chest. It can affect me, it gets very heavy but all I think about is I'm helping the other person or that my page or messaging me feels like a safe place for them to get it off of their chest and that makes me feel better.


Adam Gary:

But that must feel amazing as well. Your words having such an impact on other people that they reach out and stuff.


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah! Being a safe place is very important for me because going back to the book I wrote that book for anybody who went through something similar, because I didn't have a safe place to go to. I didn't have an outlet, I didn't have people to talk to about my mental illness because it was a very taboo thing. Mental illness just manifests itself in so many different ways and so sometimes you see the really, the physical effects. But in my case, I was a straight-A student and I didn't miss a day of school and stuff, but I was like dying on the inside.



Adam Gary:

I'm sorry that you went through all of that.


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Well, I look back at it now thinking that it's made me a better person and I wouldn't trade it.


Adam Gary:

I wanted to ask you who your influences are, but not necessarily just poets. Maybe you have musicians or philosophers and stuff. Who would you say your three biggest influences are and why? If you don't mind?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Oh, yeah, it might take me a second because there's so many gosh. I think when it comes down to it, my number one influence is going to be my dad. He had me later in life. He is 73 and I'm 21, so he had me in his 50s. So he lived an entire life before he had my little sister and I, and just the amount of wisdom that I've learned from him and him being a writer himself and a reader and just the stories that he's told and how he can tell them, he's also incredible. And when it comes to what influenced me, I always say I have his literature brain, just his need and want to express himself that can help other people. He used to do youth leadership workshops and had his own company, which was successful. And he had this sheet of paper that was like an optical illusion that they would do. And he'd give it to you, I'll have to send you a picture of it or something. And then the next page is like and then - it makes sense - kind of this sometimes you need a helping hand to see things from a bigger perspective. Or whenever I'm going through something that's really weighing on me, he'll be like, you're looking at it like this. You need to take a step back and really evaluate. That has really changed my life.


Another one up there is my mom. She's a breast cancer survivor. She has been in recovery. She has been through more trauma and suffering than I can imagine. And really just wanting to take my parents pain along with the pain that I have and create something beautiful out of it and tell them like, you guys are the reason that I do this. I love you. You deserve the world.


But when it comes to musicians, I really enjoy Bony Bear. Definitely give him a listen.

I wrote my book to his albums and he just has very the lyrics. When you go and you dissect the lyrics, he writes about things that are just beautiful. It's so painful, but it's so beautiful.


And then I think that this isn't necessarily philosophy inspiration, but my favourite author of all time is Paul Kalini. He wrote when breath became air. He was a neurosurgeon and a neuroscientist and found out he was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer at a young age. I think I think it was the 32. Don't quote me, I'm not entirely sure. But he is also a writer and he writes about mortality and coming to terms with that and spirituality and where science and medicine and philosophy and spirituality and this higher power all kind of come to a T. And that, just because you believe in science, doesn't mean you can't be spiritual or vice versa or have some sort of philosophical belief. And that's kind of what really inspired me to start really focusing on writing. That's why I'm going to school for neuroscience.



There are all the other amazing poetry TikTok or poetry writers, and authors that are incredible that I've followed for some time. I mean, there's Whitney Hansen. I have all two of her books and she's about to release another one. And it's beautiful. Isabella Dorta Reagan, who just released lover girl. I look up to them and I'm really glad that I can say that I have been able to talk to them before. They're amazing.


Adam Gary:

So you mentioning the TikTok is at the end and stuff brings me very nicely onto the next question. What we're trying to do with the poetry cove is sort of really run with this sort of massive influx in interesting poetry and stuff. I've been talking a lot about the future of poetry and kind of where does it belong in this century and stuff. And our last issue we had like, articles on AI poetry and all that sort of stuff. And as a big social media user and a very successful poet, I just kind of wanted to ask you about what your thoughts are when I ask you or when I mentioned poetry in the 21st century. Let's start with where do you think poetry is heading?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

I think that you see a lot more poetry now, or at least that I saw as a child. Social media has become a really big thing since the 21st century, and I think that there has been a community of people that has kind of expanded and exploded into something beautiful and amazing. There's so many poets and writers that support each other and lift each other up, and you're there for the wins and you're there for the losses. So I think that poetry is going to continue to grow. I don't think that there's any way that poetry is going to die out, at least on my social media have seen such a number of new people coming to the surface that write or they'll say, oh my gosh, this person inspired me to write. So I'm posting my poetry now. I think it's getting a lot more common. I think that everybody has some sort of unique feature to bring to the table when it comes to the poetry community. And I hope it continues to grow because poetry is something that's beautiful and it's something that brings people together. And I think that in the world today, that's what we need is we need community and we need people to be there for each other because we are. What I usually say is, at least heavily, since COVID is people are together, but we're all lonely, we're surrounded by people, but we're also isolated. So I think really reestablishing a community and helping that community grow where anybody can join it, anybody can write poetry and you'll be accepted and you'll be appreciated and you may be helping one person and by the end of the day, that's what matters is if you're helping people not feel alone. Because we are living in such an isolated world with so many people and we're all going through our own stories, so kind of finding that place where we all can connect is, I think, something that poetry has been bringing.


Adam Gary:

I think multimedia stuff is really big now. Obviously, TikTok, you've got the audio and you got the visual, and depending on how you kind of set up, you've also got the words in front of you as well. So there's so many opportunities now and I'm kind of just riffing. I'm just riffing now. Do you ever think because there's so many different ways of doing poetry now, do you think that and I personally hope it doesn't, but do you ever think that the interest in books will ever die out because we've got so much going on social media wise?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

I don't think so, because I think that everybody has their own preferences. So I think if anything, there's going to be more opportunity to find more interesting stuff because like I said, everybody has their own story. So someone else's story may resonate towards you more than it does towards the other person, and therefore you have more options to choose from. But I do understand that type of I forgot what it's called, like saturated or becoming oversaturated. But I don't really see that happening because everybody has a different writing style. I mean, there's similarities across the board, but everybody has their own story, they have their own inspirations that they write about. They have their own feelings. And I think people can be a bit more specific in what they want to find in a book, perhaps, or on a social media page or a poetry page, and find what resonates. Some people write about love more than some people may write about mental health, or some people may write about grief, or some people may write about spirituality. There's lots of poetry about spirituality and things like that. I think that there's going to be a lot more interesting and a lot more variety that we can find, because everybody, like I said, has their own wants while reading a book that I have so many friends who they have read books that I've found life changing, and they they say, this this didn't resonate with me.

Like that. You know what I'm saying? And it's nothing bad, of course.


Adam Gary:

We all have our different tastes. My chain of thought was everything so sort of stimulating now with everything in the phone. Would books become redundant? But I certainly hope not. I'm definitely one of those people. If people want to send me their book and they say, do you want an electronic version? I'll fight for the paper version. There's something about holding it.


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah, I enjoy paper versions as well.


Adam Gary:

Yeah, there's definitely - as embarrassing as this might be, there's definitely been times when I've had parcels delivered from Amazon and I've opened it up and you just get that smell of freshly printed book! Anyway, talking about books. Let's talk about your book. When the Cicadas Return, how did it come about?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

So the story is kind of funny. So my eldest sister, Zondria, she and I were on the phone and she said that she's like, if I would have done my life differently, I would have wrote a book about this family. And the Cicada follows them for 17 years because Cicadas hibernate don't quote me, but I'm pretty sure they hibernate for 17 years at a time. So, for example, it would be the Cicada watching this family and it hibernates. And then it comes up 17 years later and looks at all the changes. And I said, why don't I write a book? Why don't I make that the title? What do you think? And she said, do it, do it, do it. So I kind of created my own meaning to it, meaning that for me, I wrote about from the Cicada kind of hibernating for 17 years following me in the sense of I'm the cicada where I was on autopilot for most of my life. And when I moved to Now, Oregon, I kind of got to reflect on that. So in Myself, it was kind of this parallel between Hibernating being on autopilot and then coming up from underneath the ground and observing everything that has changed it and really feeling those feelings because I really did not let myself feel those feelings. I was so scared to feel. I was numb. So the book really is about kind of ages three to 20, about that 17 year span and what I looked back on and what I had really felt in those moments because I didn't I couldn't at that time.


Adam Gary:

That is a very good answer. How did you find the process of putting it together? Was there anything you found challenging or anything rewarding? Obviously the process was there. Was there anything that stood out for you that maybe you could advise our readers to do or avoid?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah, so if I could tell anybody who wants to write a book is do not rush it. It is not a process that you want to rush as much as you want to get that done and get that out there and just have that paper copy to hold to yourself. It's your baby. I wish that I would have slowed down the process a bit more. I wish that I would have given myself a bit more time. So that was probably the biggest challenge for me was this sense of urgency, which is kind of what I'm trying to fight for. The second book is just trying to just breathe through it because it's going to come to fruition. It's going to come up another challenge before I get to the reward is probably that given the fact that I was so numb, writing about these things brought up those feelings. So learning to manage those feelings alongside with writing the book and staying to the type of theme of the book and not making it a bunch of jumble that was hard for me was kind of separating it into chapters or sections of the book. I wouldn't really say my book has chapters, but for me, chapter one was called Disintegrating in Myself, and that was when I wrote just the darkest pieces of my life, really. And there's like sub chapters within each chapter, so I believe in that one. I know there's mental health in there. Gosh, I wish I had my copy with me right now, but I don't. So I'm sorry. A little unprepared.


Adam Gary:

It's fine.

Isabella Fay Vedro:

But I know that there's chapter one is buried within me. Chapter two is acknowledging. So that's just acknowledging I had all this pain and I was wallowing and I wasn't doing anything about it, and I'm like, what do I want to do. And then chapter three was change, and then chapter four was growth. So while I was writing, I didn't write it literally, I didn't write it in chronological order because there were some days where I started to feel lighter, and I was like, I felt like I was making progress. I don't know what the word is. I went back to therapy pretty much while writing the book. So that's kind of where a lot of chapter three, growth comes from. Growth and change. Chapter three and four, Growth and Change. That was the challenge, was kind of putting it into categories because it's really hard to categorise your feelings, you know what I'm saying? So that was a challenge for me, was kind of figuring out, is this growth or change? And during that day, I'm like, I feel like so depressed, you know what I'm saying? So just kind of rereading going over and over again, making sure that it makes sense. But the reward was just knowing that I was able to help that little girl that I was get over the feelings that I had. The inner child thing where I got to relive those feelings as an adult, truly, and sit within them and try to find peace within that because there's no going back. And changing it and then helping other people was the biggest reward for me. Then being able to kind of look back on that. I never thought I would do it. I always thought it was going to be something that I was like, oh, I'm going to write a book one day. I'm going to write a book one day. But then when it's really out there, you're like, oh my gosh, I really did write a book. It's a reward to see that.


Adam Gary:

Nice. And now you're working on book two. Are you allowed to tell us anything about it? You got some little inside information for us?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah. Book two is a sister book to when the Cicada's Return. You don't have to read them in order, and book two is more of a narrative. There are a few poems in there, but it's a bit more like I wouldn't really say a diary, but you're kind of getting the real, inside, unpolished version of me. So there's a poem, when the Cicadas Turn, and it's called 158, and it says something along the lines of, I've lived so many lives that I cannot help but see the girl that died to become the woman that I am. I miss her. And that was my while I was writing that I said, oh my gosh, I need to write a book about nostalgia and being sentimental because that is what I feel 99% of the time is I miss my past, and I know I can never go back and see that version of myself again. So I try to visit that version of myself in my book and writing about these feelings and. Just missing your childhood, missing that person you were. And I go through phases where I don't recognise myself. I see pictures of me from a year ago and I say, who is that? And we're just constantly changing and evolving. But that does not take away the fact that you miss those versions of yourself. So the book, too is called A Whisper in the Breeze. Sometimes I still hear the person I used to be, so it's kind of getting little glimpses of myself again and being like that reminds me of who I was years ago. And I miss that person, I miss the person that I was. And I know in another ten years, I'll miss this version of myself. And that's just the book is 250 pages and I'm 30 pages in, so we have a lot more to go.


Adam Gary:

Oh, wow. Okay, so you set yourself a page target, have you?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah, I think 250 roughly around there. When The Cicada's Return was originally 250, but a mistake that I made was cutting out almost 100 poems. So I'm thinking that we're going to republish When The Cicadas Return just a second edition with all of those extra poems, but it was because I was being so NIT picky and I felt like they weren't good enough. But by the end of the day, rereading it, it doesn't matter about being good enough. That was my own, I don't know, insecurity of thinking this poem is not good enough. But it was.


Adam Gary:

Still, we are our worst critics, aren't we?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah, 100%.


Adam Gary:

I remember, as I said at the top of the interview when I messaged you, the nostalgia thing and missing our young self is something that has really hit me, especially when I turn 31 in two and a half months. And it's just like, what? I was only 21 yesterday. Where did it all go?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah.


Adam Gary:

So do you have a planned release date for your second book? Or, as you said, your own advice is don't rush it?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Yeah, I think I released one. The Cicada's return. September 15 of 2022. So I'm thinking it's going to be a fall book. I love fall. It's the change. It's that season that represents change. So I think it's going to be somewhere around September or October. That's my goal for that.


Adam Gary:

Perfect. Brilliant. Well, that pretty much wraps it up with us. So if any of our readers kind of want to find you on the internet and kind of get to know you more and buy your book, where can they find you?


Isabella Fay Vedro:

So my TikTok is Isabella Fay Fayv. And same thing for my instagram. And then when it comes to direct messaging, my business email is isabellafewritings@gmail.com.


Adam Gary:

Perfect. So, Isabella, thank you so much. I wish you all the best with your second book.


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Thank you. I would love to send you a copy. I would love to send you a copy. Definitely.


Adam Gary:

Please do. Please do.


Isabella Fay Vedro:

Perfect.



Isabella is using her platform to raise awareness about mental health and to remind people that it's okay to not be okay. Isabella's journey to writing her first book, When the Cicadas Return, is a powerful example of how writing can be a tool for healing and growth.


Her book is a deeply personal collection of poems and prose that explores her journey of healing from trauma and finding self-acceptance. Isabella's advice to aspiring writers is to not rush the process and to give themselves ample time to create something that truly represents them.


Isabella's story is a testament to the power of healing through creativity. Her book is a beautiful representation of her journey to self-acceptance and a source of inspiration for anyone who may be going through a similar experience. If you're interested in getting to know Isabella more and purchasing her book, you can find her on TikTok and Instagram under the handle Isabella Fay Fayv. Remember, we all have a story to tell, and by being vulnerable and honest with ourselves, we can create something truly beautiful.


VIEW A FEW CLIPS FROM OUR INTERVIEW HERE:



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