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Interview of Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo

Updated: Jan 22

Conducted by ILA Contributing Guest Editor/Interviewer, Irma Kurti















Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo is a multi-awarded International Author/Poet/Visual Artist from the Philippines. She is the author of "Seasons of Emotions" (UK) and "Inner Reflections of the Muse" (USA) and a co-author to more than 200 international anthologies in the USA, Canada, UK, India, Africa, Poland, China, Taiwan, Japan, the Philippines, Argentina, Ecuador, France, and Belgium among others. Elizabeth's works were already translated into 13 languages. She is a Global Peace Poet, Ambassador of Peace and Goodwill to the Philippines of Naciones delas Letras Uniletras & Semillas de Juventud Siglo XXI based in Argentina, Cultural Ambassador to the Philippines of Inner Child Press International, President of CIESART (Camera Internacional de Escritores y Artistas) Filipinas among others as well as affiliated with different international magazines and newspapers. She holds a Doctor Honoris Causa from the International Academy of Literature and the Arts based in Ukraine and also a Doctor of Literature. Elizabeth's artworks have already graced many local and international art exhibitions. She is the Owner and CEO of Art Heals by Elizabeth Esguerra Castillo which has already collaborated with different art galleries worldwide.


 

IRMA KURTI: You are a poet and a visual artist. Which of these passions was born first? ** ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: Since I was a kid, about the tender age of 7 years old, I already knew that I would become a wordsmith. After I discovered that I could draw and was also inclined to the arts at a young age, I also dreamed of becoming a painter. For me, one's Higher Calling will be there for you to discover at the designated right time, no matter what is your age.


 

IRMA KURTI: Is there anything that connects literature and art? ** ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: I strongly believe that Literature and Art are interconnected. As I stated before in a previous Author interview in a magazine, Literature itself is a form of Art for the writer or poet communicating and expressing his/her ideas as well as his/her experiences to readers or audiences. With this being said, the story told in a literary piece or composition also connects to each reader, affecting them in one way or the other in the same way that paintings or any art piece does.

 

IRMA KURTI: Which is for you, the best natural way of expressing yourself?

**

ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: For me, the best way of expressing myself is through writing. It is through weaving words that one's suppressed emotions can resurface. With Art, would be complicated enough, leaving your audience confused as to what is the real interpretation of your work. Using written words, writers can easily capture and get their message across with their readers.


 

IRMA KURTI: You collaborate with a lot of magazines and journals online. Can you tell us something more about your experience?

**

ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: My first break in writing was as a News Correspondent for our community newspaper here in the Philippines "Antipolo STAR" in 2006 after which, I became a Feature Writer for a corporate magazine "Highlights" in 2007. In 2009, I started joining international anthologies after I became active in various Facebook Poetry Groups. And it is through my connections online and with publishers that I got to be affiliated with several international magazines and newspapers and literary platforms. I am the appointed President, Editor, Ambassador for the Philippines for PLOTS-Creatives Magazine based in New York, USA. P.L.O.T.S is the acronym for Poetry Language of the Soul. We mainly help promote Creatives and provide a platform for them to showcase their talents and skills. You can visit our website at Plots Creatives Magazine.


Glitterati Quill with a Spark is based in India also appointed me as an Executive Editor. We publish poetry, articles, artworks, etc. You can visit their link at:



I am also an Art Direction Editor for the Oceania Section of Humanity Magazine based in Russia. I write art articles and do Artist Interview Features of International Artists.


The Daily Global Newspaper, Independent Newspaper based in Dhaka, Bangladesh appointed me as their Ambassador/Representative for the Philippines. There are other magazines I am also connected with.


Having associated with these international magazines and newspapers, I was able to get more international connections and build my global presence not just through Social Media visibility. I got to learn a lot and that gave me immense opportunities to explore more things and to try getting out of my comfort zone.


 

IRMA KURTI: Your first book, "Seasons of Emotions" was published in the UK by Destiny To Write Publishing. What inspired you to write it?

**

ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: My first book, "Seasons of Emotions" was published in 2013 in the UK and was actually my prize for winning an International Poetry Competition in the UK - free book publication. It is a very special book as it is a dream come true to me to be able to publish my book internationally and to find a home to my compositions as well as the old love poems of my late Dad for our Mom. I dedicated my first international poetry book to my late Dad and the contents depict the varied emotions of the muse through the different phases of seasons. My second book "Inner Reflections of the Muse" was published in 2014 by Inner Child Press International based in the USA. My publisher approached me and asked if I would agree to get published by them as compensation for the articles, I was writing for Inner Child Magazine USA before. My book contains my old blog posts about love, life, and relationships, some poetry collaborations with fellow international poets, my own quote compositions, etc.


 

IRMA KURTI: Since your first publication "Seasons of Emotions" until the last one, "Inner Reflections of the Muse", has everything changed in your style of writing?

**

ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: I believe that my writing has evolved through the years. It has more depth and meaning and the themes also center not just on Universal Love but on Social Issues and other things plaguing the world. A poet and writer becomes more globally-conscious as times go by and he/she becomes more aware about the surroundings and the world he lives in.



 

IRMA KURTI: What is the thematic of your poetries?

**

ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: When I first started composing poetry, the themes centered mostly on love and relationships. As years passed by, my pieces became more in depth and evocative which now centers on mysticism and social issues. I would like to believe that my writing style is likened to that of the "Stream of Consciousness" of James Joyce wherein the readers can "see" themselves or can remarkably relate to the character depicted in my poem.


 

IRMA KURTI: What are some challenges that you have faced in your literary path?

**

ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: Like any other authors or artists there, the path of both my writing and art journey is not always paved with roses. There were some hindrances and barriers along the way, but I do believe that these have molded me into what I have become now. I experienced racial discrimination because I was an Asian and new when I was just starting as an International Poet in one Poetry Contest in the UK when some negative things were thrown at me because they were threatened, I would win. But I did win eventually in the end. I was also cheated in an online voting again in the UK where I was supposed to be the Author of the Year but lost it to another contestant. There were other challenges that came my way but I believe that I had to experience these things so I will become stronger and successful in my literary career. I just remind myself that I do not compete with others. I compete with myself. I remain steadfast in fulfilling my Higher Calling with utmost passion and dedication.


 

IRMA KURTI: Do you think that writing has the power to change our lives?

**

ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: Yes, I strongly believe that writing has the power to change our lives. Words can either make or break a person. They can turn one's life around for the better or for the worst. Writers have this sacred mission of being stalwarts of change in the world. We have this obligation to tell the truth no matter how it hurts, to be transparent, and to bring in positive impact to the world.


 

IRMA KURTI: Do you think that Poetry and Art may also contribute to promote peace in the world?

**

ELIZABETH ESGUERRA CASTILLO: Yes, I do also believe that both Poetry and Art can promote peace in the world. Poetry is connected to aesthetics, to anything beautiful in the world. It helps us depict the world and all its glory amid the madness and chaos around. In poetry, we can express our innermost emotions thus we can help promote World Peace through our verses. Verses that can help transform a society or to be the catalyst of change in the world. Art on the other hand, allows individuals to find a space or outlet to entertain their negative emotions and escape from destructive conflict thus providing a "canvas" where they can express their suppressed feelings, emotions, and hope for the future. Art for peace can affect how people perceive unity and harmony through the different hues and brushstrokes.


 















IRMA KURTI is an Albanian poet, writer, lyricist, journalist and translator and has been writing since she was a child. She is a naturalized Italian and lives in Bergamo, Italy. All her books are dedicated to the memory of her beloved parents, Hasan Kurti and Sherife Mezini, who have supported and encouraged every step of her literary path.


Kurti has also won numerous literary prizes and awards in Italy and Italian Switzerland. She was awarded the Universum Donna International Prize IX Edition 2013 for Literature and received a lifetime nomination as an Ambassador of Peace by the University of Peace, Italian Switzerland.


In 2020, she became the honorary president of WikiPoesia, the encyclopedia of poetry. In 2021, she was awarded the title of Liria (Freedom) by the Italian-Albanian community in Italy. In 2022, she was also nominated as the Albanian ambassador to the International Academic Award of Contemporary Literature Seneca of the Academy of Philosophical Arts and Sciences, Bari. She also won the prestigious 2023 Naji Naaman's Literary Prize for complete work.


Irma Kurti has published 28 books in Albanian, 24 in Italian, 15 in English, and two in French. She has written approximately 150 lyrics for adults and children. She has also translated 17 books by different authors, and all of her own books into Italian and English. Her books have been translated and published in 14 countries. Irma has recently joined ILA Magazine as a Contributing Guest Editor and will exclusively publish world interviews.

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