Emily Keefer Published

Author Publishes 7th Poetry Book In Time For Valentine’s Day

What is love? Rachel Martin talks to poet Kwame Alexander, whose latest community poem on this Valentine's Day is inspired by kids' definitions of love.

Just in time for the Valentine’s Day season to kick in, local author Khary Tolliver has love on the brain, recently publishing his seventh book, “Effortless Love,” a book of love poems and relationship affirmations.

Originally from the Bronx, New York, Tolliver moved to Hagerstown, Maryland, at 12 years old.

He credits a single poetry journal assignment to changing his life and making him into the author he is today.

“I just took that assignment and kept running with it. We had to keep a poem journal. I kept my journal going up until today,” Tolliver said. “I had six previous books before this, and the first two were about everything — life, my son, love, everything. Around the time my third book came, the feedback I was getting from the first two books — and definitely the second book — they liked the few love poems I had in there.”

After receiving feedback, Tolliver thought, “I can do a whole book on love poems,” because he had a lot of poems written since high school.

“For my third book, I just did a whole book of love poems, and that was good, so I did another one. And I just kept going,” Tolliver said. “I love being able to express feelings and hopefully, inspire others, too. I hope to inspire others to write poetry, and I have done that to a few anyway.”

Tolliver said that this seventh book is a book of love poems but also relationship affirmations, reminding readers of some of the simple things in relationships that can be easily forgotten.

As a writer, Tolliver took the self-publishing route.

“Self-publishing is the way to go, for me,” he said. “I am not trying to be a millionaire off of these books. I just hope to touch people. I hope to inspire people, maybe change someone’s ways with my writing.”

Tolliver explained that while he writes to inspire, he writes for himself, not for an audience.

“It is just my feelings, feelings that I see in other people’s relationships, my imaginations, some of my own experiences,” he said. “That is how I write: I put that all into one, and I get what I get out.”

Those interested in hearing some of Tolliver’s poems can also view some readings on his YouTube channel, where Tolliver reads his poems from the pages of his publications.

“One thing I learned so far on this journey is to be able to take criticism,” Tolliver said. “When I write, these are my thoughts, my opinions and my feelings, and I don’t think anyone should really judge you on your feelings and your thoughts. Everyone thinks of love differently and life differently. I don’t think anyone should be judged for that.”

With an ultimate goal to touch lives with his poetry, Tolliver hopes his poetry in “Effortless Love” and his other books will encourage readers to take a step back and live and love intentionally.

“Love is a beautiful thing,” Tolliver said. “Instead of getting the usual — the flowers, candy, teddy bear — get them something different this year, a book of love poems.”

“Effortless Love” and Tolliver’s other poetry books can be purchased online at www.amazon.com under his name.