Clarity - My New Collection of Poetry
I am going to begin with an admission. My new poetry book - Clarity - which I am tremendously proud of, is named Clarity for two reasons. The first is because it is a word that stood out to me in a poem I wrote called "Higher Standard" and the word itself has two definitions. One relates to coherency, the other relates to purity. Both of these words stood out to me as important in terms of how I view this collection.
The other reason and I cannot help but chuckle even as I type this, is the lame pun I am making on the year being 2020 and vision!
My first book of poetry was written over the course of nearly two decades, from my teen years until I was thirty. It encompassed the feelings of growth, my hopes for the future, and included the reflections on my parents, the early years of marriage, the close friendships I had with several women and much of it was dedicated to personal growth and my ideals about personal growth for myself.
My second poetry book was written entirely in the year following my father's death, and whatever the topic, the common thread throughout is hope. Hope in love. Hope in redemption. Hope even in grief. Tears were shed as I wrote about my father, and more were shed as I reflected on my own humility, my opportunities to grow as a woman, the yearning need to see more kindness in the world.
Both of these books experimented with different writing techniques, mostly classical, lyrical ways of phrasing. I was leaning heavily on the influences I had in my early exposure to poetry growing up. Even now, I thrill to listen to someone with skill read Kipling or Poe. The way the words flow together is incredible to me.
My third book finds me at a different place in my life. I am reaping the rewards of years of struggle, of being overworked and underpaid, of being undervalued, of struggling to verbalize my vision for myself. The struggles of my past have left me stronger, and not at all entitled but certainly confident about what I want for myself and what I bring to the table. This collection also taps into a very underutilized part of my talents as a writer - and that is the emotional, romantic side.
I was inspired in the spring, reading the poetry of some very popular modern poets, enjoying their phrasing and their content, but also thinking to myself "if I was going to write this, this isn't how I would say this." I like boldness more than suggestion in some ways. A declaration rather than a hint. I would be struck by a particular word and think "if this was being written about me, or was something I wanted to say, I would not stop short of saying it all."
And it was a completely different journey for me. It is unfamiliar to me to be this emotional. It is also written in a more modern tone, in my head I hear the rhythm but it lacks the classical features of my previous poetry, especially the rhyming. I play on words more, I felt very liberated to use words such as climax and penetrate. I am in my late thirties, I refuse to blush at these words!
And in putting this collection together - which was drafted entirely in the notes app on my cell phone, by the way - I started an Instagram page to share it as well. This was particularly challenging for me because I do not enjoy social media. I have all the tendencies of a reclusive writer in me. Just let me write and maybe someone will popularize it after I am dead. However, I started the page in August, and in less than 4 months, and through sharing 139 pieces of poetry, I have over 550 followers, and I am getting such heartwarming feedback. I see my posts being bookmarked and reshared. I see couples tagging their significant others in them flirtatiously. I get messages from people giving their support. It's a small audience, and it's an art that is widely viewed as being dead (though Mark Anthony has over 400,000 followers so I beg to differ), but I feel like perhaps I am fulfilling a small part of my greater purpose in sharing them openly.
Putting together Clarity, I see my personal growth as a woman. I see my growth as a writer. I see my ideals spelled out in black and white. I see that, for all my growth, I am still in so many ways the girl I was at seventeen - with hopes of pure, undying love, with hopes of kindness in humanity, with dreams that others view as absolutely impossible. I have always been that girl.
And I love to prove that my dreams are just memories that haven't happened to me yet.