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Do It Like a Wahine: Poet, Helen Josephson

In Hawaiian, the word Wahine means woman.The Do it like a Wahine blog was inspired by women, for women. In this section, we give women a platform to share their stories and artistry.

By fostering stories, we gain respect and understanding of where people come from, which expands our thinking and insights in our own perspectives. Our mission is to highlight women from all around the world to support their journey, empower others and honor them with exquisite island jewelry.

Poet, Helen Josephson, started writing poetry during the pandemic after her acceptance into the FBI was put on hold. Instead, she moved to Hawaii to be near the ocean and live the lifestyle she’d always dreamed of. Her newly released book published under the pen name AJ Peters, is now available on Amazon. Read on to find out more about this young writer and what inspired her work, “When the Tide Rolls In”.

Helen Stephenson facing the ocean and holding her book when the tide rolls in while wearing a larimar ring on a beach

What inspired you to become a poet?

Helen: I never thought that one day I would be a published poetry author. I always just took to writing poetry as a form of journaling and reflection. It wasn’t until I was in my later years when a classmate proofread one of my pieces for an assignment that I realized my words had the power to speak to others, and it was then that I started putting intentions behind my written words.

How did you develop as a poet over time?

Helen: As we all grow in age, we gain life experiences that shape our ways of thinking, our behaviors, and our passions. As I grew up and reached adulthood, my words began to portray bigger life experiences and societal themes. The themes of my words matured, just as I was.

What is your favorite poem you have ever written? What's your favorite line from that poem?

Helen: It’s difficult to pick what my favorite poem is, because each one holds a specific memory and importance to me. One of my favorites would have to be “Gladiators”, which is centered around my hope to empower women to fight the inequality oftentimes seen in society, and to gain the strength to do so by supporting one another. My favorite line, however, is the opener from my poetry book, When the Tides Roll In. It reads, “have you ever heard the sea breathe”? The ocean holds a lot of importance for me, and I wrote it to remind us all to connect with the beauty in the world around us, and to hear what that beauty has to say.

Helen Josephson on a beach writing a poem

What is the unique process you use to write poetry?

Helen: Each writer has a unique process in writing their poetry. I personally keep a notepad around me at all times. I get inspiration in a fleeting moment, and it starts with one line in my head. I have to scribble the line down, and once the pen is on the paper, the poem writes itself based on my environment and current life influences. I never sit down with the intentions of writing; I wait until the words come to me so that the pieces never feel forced.

What early influences inspired your writing?

Helen: The early influences that inspired my writing would have to mostly center around my education growing up. I learned different forms of poetry through my teachers in high school, but I would say that the biggest influence would be whatever music was playing at the time of drafting the poem. The style and flow of the words essentially translates into poetry, and I enjoy letting the music decide the mood of my written pieces.

Helen Josephson's book when the tide's roll in

What's one thing you would like people to know about you?

Helen: One thing that I would like people to know about me is that I recently pushed through the many doubts and fears of publishing and released my first poetry collection under the pen name AJ Peters! The title is called When the Tides Roll In, and it encapsulates so many different life events that at least one person out there can relate to. I created this collection to remind us all that we are not alone in our struggles, with the hopes that this brings comfort to many. Reading a poem is a unique form of reflection as well, because each one can be interpreted so differently – prompting growth and great discussions. The collection is available on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, select bookstores, and by direct purchase from me.

What are your hobbies? What do you like to do in your spare time?

Helen: Aside from my writing, I am an avid outdoorswoman. I love the ocean and take any chance that I can to swim. I have my Advanced Open Water SCUBA certification and love to see the aquatic life on the reefs here on the island, especially on the North Shore. I enjoy photography, and take photos of marine life and nature, in addition to surfing photography and portraits.

What do you love most about living in Hawaii?

Helen: There is a lot to love when it comes to living here on the island. Being so close to the ocean is a gift, and I find a unique form of peace sitting and listening to the waves crash on the shore here. I really value the ability to connect with the land and people here in ways that are truly special to this area.

Helen Josephson's holding a jewelry box from Island by Koa Nani

What is your favorite jewelry piece from Island by Koa Nani and why?

Helen: My favorite jewelry piece from Island by Koa Nani is the Larimar Fleur Ring. I love that Larimar portrays the colors and spirit of the ocean that I find so special. The ring serves as a simplistic but elegant reminder every time I see my hand that I am blessed to be here – surrounded by the ocean, amongst beautiful people finding community here together.


Ken Willie

Great life to be a poet in Hawaii!!


Very inspiring!

Kelly M.

I always find it interesting to hear about the different processes that writers use to create their work. Some have a strict writing schedule, while others, like Helen, wait for inspiration to strike.


Very nice

Julie Nelson

I’m also from Michigan and journal. My hopes are to one day be published like you

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