Ahead of a new year's arrival I save the titles of indie and/or self-published poetry collections. Why? For the last few years I've begun my year reading and supporting authors and their projects which do not receive the same level of marketing a 'traditionally' published collection would. Reading poetry is special but so much more special when you know the final product has been the poet's vision from beginning to end. And the three I chose this year, did not disappoint.
Awakening by Bea Lauren Reid & Soul Trash, Space Garbage by Michelle Awad
Awakening is Bea Lauren Reid's second poetry collection and it is gorgeously warm and hopeful. Reid focuses on the self and discovery of love within and without us — whether that be in landscape, in our faith, or in learning to trust who we are with the time we are given. Her words embody softness, joy and romantic hope; Reid reclaims what we too often discard as 'the naive' and restores it as innocence, as falling in love with what could be. Reid's work encourages you to let go of what tethers you - she comforts you and does not pretend that this path isn't difficult or repetitive - and reminds you that you are worth it as she interweaves nature, belief and the everyday into a friendly squeeze; a quiet 'you can do this'.
Soul Trash, Space Garbage is Michelle Awad's long awaited debut collection and encapsulates her style, wit and ability to traverse love and hurt with ease, perfectly. Inspired by the universe and scientific articles, Awad's collection delves into who we are and how we are continuously defined and redefined by our experiences of love, lust, and loss. The collection showcases a style the poetry community has come to adore - the listing pieces which begin surveying the wide expanse of humanity and steadily narrowing into the personal. Each time, Awad finds the images to convey and reflect this human experience, of finding yourself in everything and nothing. In being reminded constantly of who you are and what you were with the pressure of what you will become.
Bruises, Birthmarks & Other Calamities by Nadine Klassen
Another long-awaited debut collection is Bruises, Birthmarks & Other Calamities by Nadine Klassen. Klassen and her craft are inseparable. There is no doubt she lives and breathes this work, shown in her dedication to creation, redrafting and editing, and in the concise and sublime structure of this collection. I admire any writer able to create something with such brevity (in regards to the number of pieces included) and yet plumb the depths of human emotion. Klassen is truly one of the best contemporaries in this poetry community and her work around family, trauma, survival, the past and the self is phenomenal. Reminiscent of Ocean Vuong, Emily Dickinson and e.e. cummings, this collection is a joy to savour and return to. This collection is just the beginning for Klassen and that, in itself, is incredibly exciting.
All three collections are available to purchase online. To read more work by these incredible poets, please see their Instagram handles below:
Bea Lauren Reid: @wordsbybea
Michelle Awad: @theconstantpoet
Nadine Klassen: @nadineklassen.writer