Interview with Shelly Buttenhoff Miller

Q: When did you start writing?

A:   I really started writing when I was in the hospital several years ago. I was having an extra tough day and could barely get out of bed. One of the staff came and we talked for quite some time. He encouraged me to put my thoughts on paper. That motivated me to write my first poem. I wasn’t even sure it was a poem but when I showed it to the staff person they really liked it. They even put it up on the bulletin board for other patients to see. It was about hope and freedom. After that I did a little writing but in 2016 I was journaling and just started putting down what I was thinking and feeling. It took off from there.

Q: Who are your biggest inspirations/your favourite writers?

A:   My biggest inspirations and favorite writers are the poets who’s works I read on the poetry sites I belong to. I do also really enjoy Mary Oliver and Robert Frost.

If you don’t belong to any poetry websites or groups on Facebook I highly recommend you checking some out. We are each other’s biggest inspiration and supporters.

Q: What time of day do you do most of your writing?

A:   I don’t really have a specific time of day for writing. Mostly it’s when something strikes me and it sparks the beginning of a poem. Sometimes just as I’m drifting off to sleep I’ll get a line or two in my mind. I then know I need to get up and write down the phrase or what ever it is and it might start a poem right then or one later.

Q:  Why do you write?

A:    I guess I really write as a way to get things out of my head. It helps me manage my emotions and then feel better about myself. I also really enjoy it when someone will say something about how it made them feel.   I like to evoke emotion in other’s. By my writing.


Q: Do you have any favourite quotes from writers?

A:  Sure I have a couple. Mary Oliver writes in her “A Poetry Handbook”, “To make a poem, we must make sounds. Not random sounds, but chosen sounds”.

Another favorite is, “And feel a spirit kindred to my own; So henceforth I worked no more alone;” by Robert Frost.

Q: What is one piece of advice you would give new/aspiring writers?

A:   I don’t have any secret wisdom to impart but for myself I try to never give up. I also know my style of poetry won’t be for everyone and as much as I want it to be liked I don’t take it personal. Keep going even if you have long breaks in between writing. Come back to it, for yourself.

Q: Do you have any collections, chapbooks, or other books available for people to purchase?

A:   I haven’t gotten that far in my poetry to try putting together a chapbook. My next goal.


Shelly Buttenhoff Miller currently resides in Springfield, Oregon. She has three grown sons and two new daughter in laws whom she adores. Shelly enjoys hiking, photography, reading, bowling and doing Zentangles. Shelly started writing poetry to help her express her emotions in a way that reflect her feelings at the time. In 2016 and 2017 she has been published in several different venues such as, “Creative Talents Unleashed”, “Setting Forth”, “Anti Heroin Chic”, the anthology “In So Many Words: A Collection of Interviews and Poetry from Today’s Poets”,  the inaugural issue of “Madness Muse Magazine”, “Dandelions in a Vase of Roses” , “I Have a Name” and “Destigmatized” Anthologies.



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