Spotlight on Her: Ruth Isabella Peters

Ruth Isabella Peters, a German-born first-generation Nigerian, is a poet and writer who has become a driving force for positive social change. Her poems and projects often tackle important societal issues, sparking meaningful conversations and inspiring action. Topics such as mental health, relationships, and identity are at the forefront of her writings.

Influenced by literary luminaries such as Friedrich Schiller, Franz Kafka, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, and Maya Angelou, Ruth aspires to craft relatable and insightful pieces that resonate intimately with her readers. In 2022, she unveiled her debut poetry book, “A Heart of Glass.” an intriguing collection of verses exploring themes ranging from mental health struggles to the complexities of love and well-being.

The creative has been invited to speak on stages and showcase her work to audiences across Nigeria and Europe. She has since collaborated with Dolce & Gabbana, Gucci, and Fartech, creating an immersive experience “poetry in motion.” In 2022, Ruth was nominated for the Diversity Champion BTA Awards for her outstanding achievements in advocating for inclusive language across the fashion-tech industry.

Her ability to use art as a catalyst for change showcases not only her artistic prowess but also her commitment to making a lasting impact on the communities she engages with.

Tell us a little about your background. Even though I published my first poem in 2019, I was drawn to the power of words and storytelling from a young age. Traveling since childhood and being exposed to so many different cultural environments has also shaped my poetic journey.

I went on to get both Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in London. But, it was my time living in Lagos during the lockdown that shaped my identity and artistic vision. Living in Nigeria allowed me to reconnect with my African heritage in a profound way. It instilled in me a sense of pride and confidence in my cultural roots, while also heightening my creative sensibilities. 

Lagos, in particular, is such a vibrant hub of creativity and life. It truly fueled my inspiration as a poet. The energy of the city allowed me to explore different forms of artistic expression and shape my poetic voice. Each chapter of my life has contributed to my journey as a poet, and I’m grateful for the experiences that have led me to where I am today. 

Your oldest poem was written in 2019. When did you decide this was the direction you wanted to go in your career? I decided to focus on poetry during the lockdown. I and everyone else were forced to reflect on one’s life’s choices. I found comfort in writing and sharing my poems, realizing it was the path I wanted to take. It was a way for me to connect with others who are also seeking comfort and connection during tough times. 

As a creative, working with brands is an important aspect of achieving growth. Share any notable brand relationships that have elevated and amplified your work.  Brand collaborations are most important and have been much neglected when it comes to writers, poets, and spoken word artists. 

It has always been my aim to make poetry more accessible and break into new spaces, such as storytelling for brand campaigns, writing inspirational pieces for commercials and creative ideation in marketing. I believe that every leap of faith I took from starting a poetry social media in 2019, to larger-scaled campaigns, have brought me to this point. 

You published your first book of poetry in 2023, “A Heart of Glass”, a heart made of glass. Tell us about the inspiration for your book’s name and what readers may expect to learn from it. My book is a collection of poems I’ve written between 2019 and 2021. The pieces are short and relatable. At the same time, the open end of each poem allows the reader to think deeper about the parallel issues addressed. 

It’s all about being transparent about what is happening on the inside – especially about things I dealt with during my time as a young adult. Glass also represents fragility. Because of its vulnerable, transparent way of writing about rather private issues, I came up with the title ‘A Heart of Glass’.  Through my pieces, I hope to remind readers that it’s okay to be fragile and honest in our exploration of self and life’s complexities. 

Looking ahead, what are your goals for your industry in 2024 and beyond?  My goal for the poetry industry is to continue fostering connections and providing solace and inspiration to people, especially during challenging times. My focus in 2024 is engaging poetry through non-traditional platforms. Expect interesting community projects and collaborations with other Nigerian artists.

I wouldn’t exclude a new collection for the future. I’m open to new ventures where I can share messages of empathy, understanding, and hope. 

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