Interview: Cendrine Marrouat
This week we sat down with author Cendrine Marrouat. Join us as we talk about how creating poetry has shaped her photography and how she created two types of poetry, Kindku and Sixku. Cendrine is also the author of 30 books and founder of several platforms including FPoint Collective, a photography collective; and Auroras & Blossoms, a platform dedicated to positivity and inspiration in art.
Cendrine: Hey! My name is Cendrine Marrouat, and I was born and raised in Toulouse, France. I moved to Winnipeg, Canada, in 2003. I have done many things in my 17-year career, but currently, I’m the co-founder of FPoint Collective, a photography collective; and Auroras & Blossoms, a platform dedicated to positivity and inspiration in art. We have three magazines. I also co-founded PoArtMo (Positive Art Month and Positive Art Moves) and the Kindku, a poetry form. Finally, I am the creator of the Sixku (poetry form) and the Reminigram (a form of digital photography). I am a photographer, poet, and multi-genre author of almost 30 books.
CJ: That is a lot of things you have your hands in. When do you ever find the time to write?
Cendrine: I have little time to write these days. Lol – But I usually find the night to be the best time for writing.
CJ: You have several genres you write in. Do you have a favorite?
Cendrine: Poetry all the way! That’s how I started my artistic career. I took a long break after releasing my 6th book in 2010. I thought I had nothing else to prove in that field. I then focused on photography, which became my biggest love story. But then, 2016 happened, and I wanted to write poetry again. The inspiration came back to me when I fully realized how photography and poetry could work together.
Cendrine: It’s the other around. Poetry has shaped the way I take photographs. With that said, I would have never realized that if I hadn’t studied and written haiku, my favorite form. Poetry has shaped my artistic career. But the older I get, the more I work with poetry forms that focus on the “say less, show more” concept. I base my two poetry forms on that concept.
CJ: I love that you’ve taken something visual and turned it into your writing. Do you have a specific scene that inspires you more than any other?
Cendrine: I am a photographer specializing in nature, black-and-white, and closeup images. So anything in nature will inspire me. The play between light and shadows is one of my favorite subjects to document.
CJ: Which came first for you, the writing or the photography?
Cendrine: As I mentioned previously, I started my career with poetry. I had no idea I was any good at photography until about a decade ago.,
CJ: How did you figure out you were good at photography?
Cendrine: By just listening to myself. That’s what most people refuse to do, at least until they are (much) older. Although I had no idea what I was doing, I could still take some nice shots. I spent four years educating myself, looking at photographers’ portfolios, and practicing non-stop. I asked for feedback, never taking comments personally. I built my self-confidence and launched my website in 2014.
CJ: Tell us some more about your platform, Auroras & Blossoms.
Cendrine: Auroras & Blossoms was born last year. I co-founded it with talented author and poet David Ellis, who hails from the UK. He and I had known each other for a few years and wanted to create a platform to promote positivity and inspiration in art and offer visibility to poets no matter who they or their credentials were. We were tired of the elitist attitude of many literary journals. Our goal was to give a chance to everyone, including teenage poets.
The first issue of Auroras & Blossoms Poetry Journal was released in October 2019. Our fifth issue will be out at the beginning of October. So far, we have featured over 40 poets, including a few teenage writers. It’s wonderful!
Our journal has been very successful. So later this year, we launched the Auroras & Blossoms Creative Arts Journal, which focuses on poetry-graphy, six-word stories, short stories, drawings, and paintings. The idea is the same as the poetry journal: Family-friendly content, positivity/inspiration.
We also recently added the FPoint Collective Magazine, a partnership with FPoint Collective. This magazine focuses exclusively on photography and photography-related content.
Auroras & Blossoms does not just publish literary digital magazines. We also created PoArtMo, a movement dedicated to positivity and inspiration in art. Finally, we have a monthly show called the PoArtMo Show.
PoArtMo is Positive Art Month in June. We invite artists of all levels to share their most positive and uplifting work with the world via social media, our PoArtMo Contest, and our PoArtMo Anthology. Positive Art Moves takes over the rest of the year. There is no reason we should just celebrate art for one month of the year.
The goal of PoArtMo is to bring artists together so they can create valuable partnerships and be taken more seriously by non-artists. Artists work alone way too much.
Last but not least, Auroras & Blossoms took part in NaPoWriMo this year. Our call for submissions for our special NaPoWriMo Anthology was VERY successful. I released the resulting book on June 23, 2020. I don’t think I have ever read an anthology with so many uplifting poems!
CJ: That all sounds so amazing! How would a poet connect with you to see about being featured in one of your journals?
Cendrine: They would need to visit our website: https://abpoetryjournal.com and read our guidelines carefully before submitting it. Our acceptance rate is higher than the average, but we receive many submissions that do not follow our guidelines. So, we often have to contact people to remind them of our rules, which adds to our workload and prevents us from focusing on other things.
Overall, David and I are very impressed with the number of talented artists there are. Unfortunately, because of what I mentioned above, we no longer have time to respond to everyone.
CJ: What is it to you that makes a good story?
Cendrine: A good story seeks to make you feel emotions, to inspire you to take action. The action need not be huge. But as long as it triggers your desire to do something, it’s what matters. A good story seeks to teach positive lessons despite the negativity that may surround them. We all go through issues and problems in our lives, but it is your ability to rise above them and inspire others to rise above theirs that will make your work unforgettable. If you just write to vent, you will chase readers away.
CJ: I have to completely agree with this. It’s important to find that balance of getting the reader to feel the emotions versus inundating them with yours.
Cendrine: Yes, and it is exactly why poetry has such a bad reputation these days. Even more than before. Most poets think they write pieces containing universal messages when they actually write diary entries about their daily struggles. Poetry has to be more than that. Real, deep poetry is about teaching people how to rise above the status quo.
CJ: What type of advice would you give to a young poet, writer, or photographer?
Cendrine: The same advice many other people would give. Practice, practice, practice. Educate yourself on your craft. Learn the value of constructive feedback, without taking negative comments personally. People are not there to get you, they react to the energy behind your work.
Also, stop setting yourself for failure by telling the world you are not good enough. I see tons of new artists constantly devaluing themselves on social media. Art may be subjective, but people will always treat you the way you treat yourself. If you portray yourself as amateurish, expect them to confirm that portrayal, no matter how hard you try proving them wrong later on.
Just do you and that’s it. Be self-confident and down to earth without being cocky. Understand your abilities and talent. You owe no explanation to anybody. However, you owe yourself self-worth and self-love.
Finally, never compare yourself to others. Instead, try to emulate your favorite artists’ styles so you can understand your own. It’s the only way to be good at what you do.
CJ: That is some amazing advice. Thank you so much for sitting with me today, Cendrine. I enjoyed our conversation.
Cendrine: Thank you so much for this opportunity, CJ!
You can connect with Cendrine via these avenues: