Friday, April 24, 2020

Poetry in a Pandemic

Hi readers! It's time for a quarantine update.

It's certainly been a while! I've been on hiatus from weekly and seasonal posts since November due to housing issues but as of February I'm living in a new apartment, and since then have been busy setting up a studio for art use and commissions. Obviously, going into quarantine put a big dampener on how much progress I've been able to make putting my life back together and attending social things- my main social activities since the start of isolation have been keeping up with friends over Discord in servers and voice/video calls, playing Animal Crossing with new and old friends, and attending virtual meets for the poetry slam I began going to last year. Shoutout to the folks who run Slam Free or Die!

In the time I've been away, I had an official release of my book, and its first review came out (with shining praise, I might add)! So, I wanted to post a little more info about my first poetry collection and also give some details on the progress my next collection!

I tend to ramble about my work so I'll put the relevant info here at the beginning- My first collection, titled We Earthbound Stars: A Book of Life Poems is published on The Book Patch and is priced at $11+shipping. 

Book cover image

We Earthbound St ...

We Earthbound Stars


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Its first review is by the insightful wordsmith at Berry Her With Poems, and is possibly the highest praise I have received in my art career. If you, like me, appreciate the detailed and thoughtful nature of her reviews, please donate for her hard work and to the linked charity that this lovely reviewer is raising funds for.

"We Earthbound Stars is a concise, gentle collection that encapsulates the creative progress of a poet."

Click here to read this full review.

To launch into my ramble of how deeply I feel invested and tied to this collection, I have to stress that this collection is genuinely every single bit of my poetry written on my own (meaning outside of required writing in school) with the exception of two or three that were very personal and/or repeated themes, from the entirety of my adolescence and young adult development since 2011, unedited and unfiltered. 

These poems had been sitting, either as mementos of my old blog or in various notebooks, and considered side hobby musings or coping strategies from past dilemmas that would remain where they were, but for a good while starting in 2016 I had really been struggling with wanting to just write down my whole life story, or what I consider my "explanation", and it hit me that its most real form was in all the poetry I'd written. 

To explain- what I mean is that barely any of the poetry I write is ever planned or thought about, it's more that the words come to me pre-written as a response to what goes on in my life, and I just write them down. They all feel like deeply betraying secrets that when I read them, I can decipher the cause behind them and even now I still feel like someone could read them like accounts of my failings, struggles, secrets, lapses... but despite that I had to put them all out there once and for all. And the funny thing, I thought that was it for poetry once it was all in one neat place.

The reason I hung on to a lot of these without sharing them is because I was conflicted, some of them I don't like or am still tempted to edit when I flip through them and see mistakes or pace changes I would make knowing what I do now. But they are all 100% true representations of my world and what was in my head at that time in my life. These are snapshots of points in time for me, and if I were to go back I wouldn't do them all the same way. And now I'm at a point in my life where I can look back and begin to embrace that struggle for the experience & power it gives me today and for moving forward.

Since publishing this collection, I've been writing down more poetry as it comes to me and due to some life changes, many of them have been expanding on the existing theme of rural roots, the nature surrounding New England and how I feel it's tied to who I am, so that seemed like a good basis to form a collection around and has inspired my next collection which is titled after one of its poems, The Broken Woods. It's a few months into development, and as of today (Tues April 23rd as I write this) has an official illustrated cover done by a fantastic artist that I'm grateful to credit in its pages. That's been hugely exciting, and something even bigger is that this collection will be color printed and interspersed with full color pages of real New England nature photography by this artist right here! That's right, I'm truly aiming for the top of the coffee table book game.

Just kidding, ya boi is aiming for bookstore representation, lit mag mentions, and that sweet sweet goal of a MeowMeowPowPow poster with my real live words on it.

Thanks for reading, and stay safe out there!