Shameeca Funderburk: “Poetry can help heal because it can take you to a place that allows true confessions of the heart”

Poetry can help heal because it can take you to a place that allows true confessions of the heart. Words are powerful and can bring about healing to so many hurting people around the world. Poetry that speaks life and inspiration can help the hurting world we reside in today. Poetry is growing in popularity and […]

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Poetry can help heal because it can take you to a place that allows true confessions of the heart. Words are powerful and can bring about healing to so many hurting people around the world. Poetry that speaks life and inspiration can help the hurting world we reside in today.


Poetry is growing in popularity and millions of people spanning the globe have a renewed passion for embracing the creativity, beauty, and art of poetry. Poetry has the power to heal and we make sense of the world through the human expression of writing and reading. Are you wondering: What does it take to become a successful poet? What is the best medium and venue to release your poetry? What are some techniques to improve or sharpen your skills? In this interview series about how to write powerful and evocative poetry, we are interviewing people who have a love for poetry and want to share their insights, and we will speak with emerging poets who want to learn more about poetry either to improve their own skills or learn how to read and interpret better. Here, we will also meet rising and successful poets who want to share their work or broaden their audience, as well as poetry and literature instructors.

As a part of this series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Shameeca Funderburk.

Shameeca Funderburk was born in Philadelphia, PA, in March 1973. As a child, she became a ward of the state. Shameeca spent eight years in the foster care system. She was very advanced for her age. At age six, she read at a sixth-grade level, and this was when her love for books began. In order to deal with her pain growing up as an orphan, she used writing as a distraction. Throughout her life, she has maintained her passion for writing. Shameeca worked as a promotional model for ten years and also worked as cardiology technician. She enjoys writing poetry that’s inspired by life. She also enjoys having tea parties with her daughter and taking long walks with her son. She writes poetry, fiction, and nonfiction.


Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive into the main focus of our interview, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you share a story about what first drew you to poetry?

I was drawn to poetry at a young age. I remember in the third grade being introduced to poetry. I was fascinated by it because it had a rhythm to it. It was a new way for me to put what I was feeling down on paper. It opened a new world of using words to me. I was keeping journals at that time in my life.

Can you tell us a bit about the interesting or exciting projects you are working on or wish to create? What are your goals for these projects?

I completed a poetry chapbook on Amazon in 2014, titled Coco’s In the Wind: Short Love Poems. I’m currently trying to put together my first novel with the character Coco from the poetry chapbook. I’m working on designing poetry decals and art work with poetry that inspires and motivates.

Wonderful. Let’s now shift to the main focus of our interview. Let’s begin with a basic definition so that all of us are on the same page. What is your definition of poetry? Can you please share with us what poetry means to you?

I define poetry as the literature of the soul. Poetry to me is like a melody similar to a song. A good poem will a rhythm to capture the reader’s attention. Poetry to me is being vulnerable enough to share what’s on the inside of my soul to the world.

What can writing poetry teach us about ourselves?

I think we can learn a lot by writing poetry, sometimes it might be difficult to express what you’re feeling. Writing poetry might help release pain, or teach you how to live and love.

Who are your favorite poets? Is it their style, the content or something else that resonates with you?

Maya Angelo and Ralph Waldo Emerson are my favorite poets. I like their style and content. I read Maya Angelo’s bio

I Know the Caged Bird Sings, it helped me to appreciate her gift of poetry more.

If you could ask your favourite poet a question, what would it be?

I would ask what age they began to write poetry. When did they develop a passion for it?

Poetry can be transformational. Is there a particular poem that spoke to you and changed your life or altered a perspective you held in some way? Can you share the story?

I have heard and read the poem by Maya Angelo several times, but recently the poem has new meaning to me. This poem has helped me to build confidence back after going through a toxic marriage. This is what I speak softly within myself. It has helped me heal in a unique way. I was trying so hard to make a marriage work, with someone constantly who disrespected my values and beliefs. Walking away and reminded myself that I’m phenomenal; utilizing poetry to help remind me of that, was the best decision I ever made.

Today’s world needs so much healing. Can you help articulate how poetry can help us heal?

Poetry can help heal because it can take you to a place that allows true confessions of the heart. Words are powerful and can bring about healing to so many hurting people around the world. Poetry that speaks life and inspiration can help the hurting world we reside in today.

We’d like to learn more about your poetry and writing. How would you describe yourself as a poet? Can you please share a specific passage that you think exemplifies your style or main message?

If I had to describe myself as a poet, I would use the words vulnerable and passionate. I don’t feel I have one particular style when I write poetry. I think my style varies, from free verse to sonnets. I have been experimenting with cinquains which are five line poems.

I have a few of those in my poetry chapbook. I write epic poems sometimes that are long and tell a story. My poetry style is very diverse. Here’s a sample of one of my favorite poems from my book.

Poetic Swag

The smoothness of his lyrics floated on the waves of my heart

His tempo waltzed around my being

I became vulnerable in the pages of his notebook

Tattered, torn and old, the love story

Unfolds, the cascading sound of his voice

Unraveling me at the core, gasping for the encore

Mic check one two, this poet’s in a muse

In a haze, I’m suddenly confused….

What do you hope to achieve with your poetry?

I hope to touch people’s heart and help them heal.

In your opinion and from your experience, what are 3 things everyone can learn from poetry?

Poetry can teach people a different way of expressing emotions.

It can also help you to learn more about literature.

Poetry allows you to learn a new way of utilizing words to entertain.

can, please share a story or example for each.

When I was a little girl age 9, I had a journal. I was very shy and I didn’t talk much. I was in a loving foster home. They provided me with everything I needed to succeed. However I still found myself, feeling empty and lonely. Incomplete is the perfect word to describe it. I had all these emotions, at that age I had no clue what to do with them. I sat behind the store counter with my journal reading about poetry. I started writing poems. I began to help me express my emotions.

Poetry helped me learn about literature because I had to study the different styles and types of poetry writing. I also studied different poets.

I had an experience when writing poetry, sometimes you might find that you’re using the same word a lot. I started looking into using different types of thesauruses. I enjoyed playing around with the flow of words when creating a poem.

If you were to encourage others to write poetry, what would you tell them?

Write from you heart, and your life experiences. I think these are to ingredients for some of the best poetry.

How would you finish these three sentences:

Poetry teaches…how to use literature and words to create art.

Poetry heals by… touching the heart and soul of the reader, it heals by allowing the poet to feel vulnerable.

To be a poet, you need to…have a passion to write about life. It’s important to make the reader feel the poem while it’s being read.

We are very blessed that some of the biggest names in Entertainment , Business, VC funding, and Sports read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US, with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch, and why? He or she might just see this, especially if we both tag them 🙂

I would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with Tyler Perry. I’ve always loved his work, but I love the way he gives and helps so many people. I also like how he uses his movies and televison shows, to talk about real issues in the black community.

How can our readers further follow your work online?

Thank you for these excellent insights, and we greatly appreciate the time you spent. We wish you continued success.

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