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Why poems?

In January 2011, I was inspired by my friend Grace to skip New Year’s resolutions and decide on one theme instead. After much deliberation, I decided my theme would be “to be present.”  As a new mother, I figured this was a tricky way to get me to make sure the subtleties of my son’s first year didn’t go unnoticed.

But how does one just “be present?” I’m a lousy meditator and a compulsive list-maker, both of which launch me into daydreaming about the future much of the time. What does — and always has — ground me to the very pinpoint of the present is writing. And so it was that I decided to make it my Year of Being a Poet.

I pledged to write one poem a day. Not to rack up reams of poetry — that was just a lovely side effect. No, the real goal was to train me to see the world constantly with the eyes of a poet, which means to slow down, savour, take delight in, and note the very essence of the world around me.

To be present.

It wasn’t long before I realized I had become addicted. What was meant to be a one-year experiment threaded its way into my being. I wrote and posted a poem every day for almost three years. When I got pregnant again, I took a “digital holiday” for a few months, writing my daily poems in my journal instead, relishing the inky smallness of it.

Since then, I have gone back and forth, sometimes posting a poem on this blog every day, sometimes retreating back into my private journal for days or weeks. To be honest, there’s a quiet rebelliousness in going offline that I urge you to try. For me, my muse needs an occasional rest where no one is watching.

If you have stumbled upon this site, I hope you enjoy the poems. But more than that, I hope you try it yourself. Be a poet for a day. I dare you. Let the world in and watch as it tumbles out from your fingertips onto the page, revealing shades of the day you would otherwise surely have missed.

10 things you probably don’t know about me:

  1. I skipped grade three.
  2. I’ve been vegan for over 20 years.
  3. I’ve never met my father. (I was the accidental denouement to a lovely summer fling.)
  4. I harbour a deep desire to compete in an adult spelling bee.
  5. I am a little bit psychic, but only when it comes to guessing which random person a friend bumped into that day.
  6. I am proof that you can run a multi-million dollar company and still hug your clients.
  7. I cry at most films.
  8. I wish the suffering in this world made me cry more often.
  9. I backpacked alone through Europe, India and Central America before I turned 20.
  10. I wish I was more courageous to be authentic in anyone’s company.

Writing stories at work and play

I missed the chance to get my grandmother’s life story on record before she slipped into dementia. As I grieved my lost opportunity to know more about her, it got me thinking about what it means to connect to our roots. It ultimately led me to founding Echo Memoirs, an award-winning storytelling and book design firm specializing in personal memoirs and company histories, in 1999. We’ve since published over 250 private books for clients around the world, from 104-year-old great-grandmothers to billion-dollar retail giants.

At the heart of all of these projects is a devotion to story.

It’s here where my “real” job intersects with my commitment to write a poem a day. I’ve learned over the years that the full dimension of a life can only be told by immersing in the details. It is as tempting to summarize a life in tidy themes and bullet-point accomplishments as it is to give a lackluster account when your husband asks you: how was your day? In both cases, the true story remains buried.

The challenge in writing these daily poems isn’t the 15 minutes at the end of the day when I actually write them; it’s the practice of wrenching my senses wide open as often as possible to notice the details of my day.

I like to think of this practice as “story poetry.”  It’s not about sonnets or arcane symbolism; it’s simply about noticing your life.

So make a nest where your fleeting moments can hatch.  You will experience a sweetness you will wonder how you did without.

Contact: Where to find me online

  • Email me at samantha{at}bentlily{dot}com. I do read all my emails though my two young children, my lovely husband, running my company and grocery shopping tend to fill up my time so please be patient if it takes me a few days to respond.
  • If you need an answer quickly to anything about the site, email the lovely, smart and reliable Grace, our community coordinator, at grace{at}bentlily{dot}com.
  • Facebook. Feel the love.
  • Twitter. @bentlily. Tweets with soul.
  • Pinterest. Visual poetry.


Bentlily and Samantha Reynolds have been profiled by national and international media outlets. See Bentlily in the Media for more information.

All media inquiries can be directed to media{at}bentlily{dot}com.

Photos for Press (click image to download)

Samantha Reynolds


Print (CMYK jpeg, 2880 × 1920) and Web (RGB jpeg, 645 × 359)

Bentlily books


Print (CMYK jpeg, 3000 × 2000) 

Can you reprint my poems?

Goodness, yes.

Post them on your blog, put them in your book, tape them to your fridge. The very idea makes me do a happy dance. You can credit bentlily.com or Samantha Reynolds, and a link to this site would be lovely.


I love getting comments on my poems, but I made myself promise to resist responding to them simply because my days are so full with work and family and exotic ambitions like finishing that novel I started last year. But if you’re moved to comment, please do. I read every single one and they really do make my day.