The Art of Love with Arielle Estoria
with Arielle Estoria
Spoken word poet, author, and speaker Arielle Estoria says, “Love is silly and whimsy, it is deep and expansive, and it is something that holds all of you.” For a modern perspective on an age-old tradition, we invited her to craft a “vow poem” for our Art of Love collaboration.
The Vow Poem
When asked what does love look like?
I will find the nearest shore, point to the infinite horizon and say, like that
I will climb mountains to get closer to the stars and I will point to them almost as if they were kissing each fingertip and I will say, like that
When asked what does love feel like? I will roll down the window while driving furiously and let the wind and my hands press against one another, dancing their own wild and beautiful movement, and I will say, like this
I will run until I am out of breath and full of adrenaline with my heart beating its own drum inside my chest and press your hand to feel the pulse of my existence and I will say, and like this
When asked where does love exist?
I will point in front of me,
Arms wide and expansive
And say, everywhere
In a year of challenges and changes for countless couples, personal expressions of love have become more important than ever. And what part of a wedding feels more personal than the exchange of vows? As a newlywed herself, Arielle’s poem captures the unpredictability, power, and beauty of love in these times.
When our team approached Arielle about writing a vow poem, we took time to reflect on our own favorite love poems. We found they all shared a common theme—unexpected perspectives on love. Structured around a series of questions, Arielle’s work echoes the back-and-forth exchange of traditional vows, interwoven with imagery that transports readers far beyond “to have and to hold.” By asking what does love look like? what does it feel like? where is it found? she distills the essence of classic vows while creating something entirely new.
On Work & Inspiration...
Q: How and when did you start writing poetry?
A: I’ve always written. As a teenager, I had lots of journal thoughts and homework doodles that turned into poems. My background is in theater; in that space, I started learning and embracing the stories of others. Through writing, I began to embrace my own story and vulnerability and put that into my poetry. The written part of my poetry has been, well, always—but the spoken part started in high school.
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: Everywhere and from everything. I’ve written countless poems about my houseplants, I write a poem every time I’m at the beach, and mid-conversation something will spark and I’ll need to write it down. I’m almost always writing to music because I’m heavily influenced by other artists and poets, but most times my inspiration just sparks from conversation, life moments, and nature.
Q: Can you walk us through ‘a day in the life’ as a poet?
A: It really depends on the day! If I’m writing curated pieces, then I’m setting my musical tone (usually with Bon Iver), researching the brand/event/etc., and looking for phrases to use as inspiration. Sometimes, my work is about memorizing poems and getting them into my system for performing. I tend to talk to myself a lot during this time, record the poem as a voice memo, and listen to it in my car or on a walk while reciting it. Other days, it’s recording audio or video. On the soaking days, it’s about gaining inspiration from whatever speaks to me!
Q: Do you take a different approach to written poetry and spoken word?
A: Absolutely. There are some poems that exist to be experienced in the reader’s own time and space, but others I write specifically to be spoken over other people, as an anthem or a lullaby. I know that these pieces need my voice to convey the message fully. These styles overlap sometimes; I’ll read my written pieces out loud, and sometimes spoken word pieces go to places where they’re experienced through reading.
Q: What is your workspace like?
A: I love my home office. Sometimes I work in my living room, but we turned our second bedroom into my work-from-home space. I have an amazing standing desk, a plush chair that my husband calls my “command central,” a few plants, a bookshelf full of favorite and soon-to-be-favorite reads, and a giant mural of Morgan Harper Nichols artwork. I can be there for hours (and sometimes have to be), but I light a candle and it’s the one place where all the “magic” happens—whatever the magic might be that day!
Q: What do you listen to while you’re working?
A: Usually lots of ambient, instrumental music. Sometimes a podcast! (Listen to Arielle’s Art of Love playlist here!)
Q: Is there a project you're most proud of?
A: I just released a poem entitled “Remember Her,” a #sayhername conversation about Breonna Taylor and the other women that we’ve lost due to police brutality, and lack of intentionality and awareness of Black lives and them mattering. It’s a piece that speaks to the season we’re in as a Black Community and healing through art. I’m also very excited about my next book and proud of how it’s coming together.
Q: What do you enjoy most about being a poet?
A: The people I get to meet because of the words I share, and the stories they’re willing to share.
On The Art of Love...
Q: Can you tell us about the vow poem you created for BHLDN?
A: I started by gathering inspiration and direction from the BHLDN team. With that in hand, I looked at classical poets and their writing styles, then focused on creative, non-traditional ways to talk about love and vows. Next, it was about spinning that with my own Arielle Estoria touch! Also, lots of Bon Iver and staring at pictures of my husband (just kidding!).
Q: You just got married! Can you tell us about your own wedding?
A: Well, we didn’t have the wedding we intended due to COVID, but we had what I like to call “the moment that matters.” COVID really stripped us of “luxuries” and pushed us to ask, “What matters here?” What mattered to us was to be married, even without a traditional wedding, and to have our families there. I had my BHLDN dress, my cute husband, our families, and a beach view—it was perfect.
Q: What about your vows?
A: I had written lines of my vows while we were dating and during our engagement, but I didn’t write it all out until the morning of! I’m a poet…so naturally my vows came off poetic and so did my husband’s. My favorite lines were:
“You have freed a part of me
that I didn't know could exist or breathe before
My love grows for you with every
sun set and moon rising.
Like living and breathing,
I was made to love you”
Q: What does love mean to you?
A: It means that you are seen and see your partner fully and completely, flaws and all. It means life is honestly better lived with that person than without. It means that life, and the decisions you make, and the future you build aren’t just about you but us, we, and the family you become. Love is silly and whimsy, and it deep and expansive, and it is something that holds all of you.