And the Ruthless Angel Spread Her Wings: A Chat with Sarah Maria Dos Santos
  Conversations    April 26, 2017     Eric Larkin


This Sunday, starting at Noon, we get to play host to Sarah Maria Dos Santos and the (pop-up) Poem Store. It is exactly as it sounds; walk up, request a topic, suggest a price, and she will write you a poem. I’m not always that enthusiastic about poetry — but this just sound slike the coolest thing wever. Also – you may be noticing a few typos in this intro. AS you will see from my short conversation with Sarah Maria below, she does not believe in mistakes — typos area a gift. I’m following her lead, and not correcting any so-called mistakes. Infacct, I probably should have named this interviw “Typos Are a Gift”…. but I just thought the Angel thing wounded sounded good. Anyway- she’s the real deal, as you will see.  


Eric Larkin – What were the first books you remember reading as a kid?

Sarah Maria Dos Santos – I was born in a beach town in Brazil and grew up on the South East coast of Florida, always swimming in the ocean. I was addicted to National Geographic magazines and have always been intrigued with marine biology specifically. I was gifted a giant dictionary for my 8th birthday which had me hooked for words and definitions for decades. In middle school, I began theater and every year and through high school I would be a part of William Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet and A Midsummer Night’s Dream which broke the ice and helped me out of my turtle shell.


photo Preston Thalindroma


EL – How did you first start writing poetry?

SMDS – I remember winning a trophy for a haiku I wrote about the sea in 6th grade. I was surprised that I was chosen. This affirmation shed light on my writing, stimulating me to continue playing with the poem.



EL – Which poets (new or old) are most important to you?

SMDS – I have read mostly Rumi’s words growing up. Truth – I prefer to read science paperback novels such as The Grand Design by Stephen Hawkings. Rainer Maria Rilke is my favorite current poet, I have read both Letters to a Young Poet and Duino Elegies this month while being in Los Angeles for poetry month. I believe reading and listening to live and local poets is important so I may connect and be relevant with my fellow generation. I always carry the Tao Te Ching and Thesaurus with me. I am currently reading The World is Blue: How Our Fate and the Ocean’s Are One by Sylvia A. Earle. And in joy the research of Swiss Biologist, Farmer Ernst Götsch.


EL – When people request poems, do they sometimes tell you very personal stories? If so, what’s it like to have this glimpse into a stranger’s life and then write about it?  

SMDS – Yes, you learn real quick that it is not about you. Poem Store is all about listening and letting go, being present. I view it like a love song dance, it is a (co)operation. The topics I receive are a reflection of myself and my experience – we are all connected. It is humbling and an honor to write love poems for strangers, that is the main topic that I receive. I challenge myself to write about the “now”. I am always nervous writing a poem for a stranger strolling by. I see this as a good thing – it means I care.


EL – How did you get involved with Poem Store?

SMDS – I was gifted the Poem Store by street poet William Curius during his visit in Miami this year. William began typing poems on 14th Street in New York City in 2006. William invited me to alleviate one of his busy shifts in Wynwood. Immediately my heart raced and the ruthless angel spread her wings. I have been a painter most of my life, the poem found my breath and gave me sight. Also Artist Fawn Embrey gifted me Letters to a Young Poet by Rainer Maria Rilke which motivated me through-out the beginning of my Los Angeles journey. I have gifted the Poem Store to other poets, I believe we are all artists and poets. It is essential for humans to share and grow out of blissful love.


photo Preston Thalindroma

EL – How hard is it to switch back and forth between a manual typewriter and a laptop? And do you sometimes reach up for the delete button on the typewriter or pound the heck out of your laptop keyboard?

SMDS – I only write poetry on my Olivetti Lettra 32 or handwritten. I do not believe in mistakes, that is the blessing of the poem: no rules. Typos are gifts, herstory is love.


I’m staring starting to see why poets wer e the rock stars before there was rock. Wow, she’s cool. Thinking outloud here.  

Okay then – see you this Sunday 4/30 between noon and 2ish, I guess. Don’t dilly-dally – sheś just here for a bit. Unfortunately. 



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