three things…

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a poem from the #cuttingroomfloor of “the silhouette inside”:

circe can’t go home
oceanid with holographic hair
her formation is terrestrial
every cell hails de la mer

saltwater nymph
imprisoned in her own shell
destined to sway the unwilling
to hold them in her hell

historically avoided
her plea silent like the sea
to be requited is to be understood;
to be understood is to be free

tormented temptress
neither goddess nor goodness, she waits
for the creature who will create her
the only one who holds two fates

circe can’t stay home
her liquid lips must rise
to meet her lightning lover
in the heavy-handed skiesv

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a sneak peek!

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an anniversary.

a year ago, in the glow of your post-show, we shared a bottle of WA in the king’s club and discovered that we both collect matches. you did a jerry seinfeld impression and i sang the praises of providence. we kissed for the first time that night in vail, and spent the next night making excuses to keep walking around the village, willing the sun not to come up. three days later, i cancelled a trip to nyc and drove up to jacob’s pillow to see you. and we knew.

seven months of phone calls and splitting weekends between our cities + five months of quarantining together = one whole year. i’m not one for sappy posts, but boy, you make life good(t).

moon makeover

moon stories

last june, i became friends with the moon.

walking up rochambeau toward hope with neil young’s “harvest moon” in my ears, i ran into an old friend who had been on my mind for nearly 5 months straight. you know the type of friend who you lose touch with because you have to, but who tends to seep into your thoughts and dig a them-shaped hole, stay a while? that’s this friend.

we bumped into each other on the street, gave ourselves some much-needed sidewalk therapy, and parted ways for the umpteenth time. as i walked away, i put my headphones back on, pressed “next” on the random selection playlist i’d been listening to, and what else but audrey hepburn’s voice singing me “moon river” soft and sweetly.

i was in need of healing, and the moon seemed to be pulling at me. i felt inspired to write not just about the moon, but to the moon. so i waited for the sun to go down so my muse could show her face, when i noticed she was blushing. a quick google search revealed the occasion for her pretty pink dress: june 17, 2019 ; i was looking up at the full strawberry moon.

the full moon of june was given the name “strawberry moon” by the algonquin native american tribes who used its pink appearance to signal the ripening of wild strawberries. a sign to gather. to harvest. the moon as a beacon.

that night, the strawberry moon painted my cheeks pink. throughout july, her glow deepened into a juicy red that bled down into my lips and stayed there, projecting my long-quieted voice. a newfound boldness. confidence. a makeover from the moon.

the poem i wrote that night is one of the first featured in my book “the silhouette inside” and many other poems and drawings in the collection take their inspiration from the strawberry moon who lit my face up that night.

PREORDER for my book coming very soon! check out another one of my poems from the collection, published here on Featured Poets.

all rights reserved. illustration by kirsten evans.

a conversation, sometimes in rhyme

silhouette back cover

when tasked with creating the “back matter” for my book (fancy publishing terms, ooh la la) a basic summary of the contents just didn’t feel right. so you can probably guess what i did…yup, i wrote another poem!

a poem to encapsulate the collection of poems that describe the past year of my life. a year of emotional turmoil, unexpected transition. a year of finding new life from the i n s i d e and falling in love with what i found:

 

a conversation-

sometimes in rhyme

between the writer

and the silhouette inside

words strung together

much more than a line

a reintroduction

soft shifting of sides

bloomed into being

collected and tied

fruitful and all-seeing

outside-in, synchronize

take this, my crescent year

hear the silence, read my mind

planted, rooted, growing, free

the voice inside, bold and outlined.

 

the art that i created to accompany this back cover poem was based on a silhouette cut for me by a man in montmartre, paris. one afternoon, following a lunch accompanied by several glasses of wine (as was the status quo throughout our stay in the city of light) my friends and i wandered through a busy market of artists painting, sketching, and snipping away. a silhouette artist stopped me and asked if he could cut my silhouette for me- to try and drum up some business. his stand was right on the corner, and he promised my silhouette would be free if i sat just a few minutes for him. maybe it was the charming accent or the wine turning my cheeks red- i shrugged my shoulders, hopped up onto the stool, and he went to work, cutting away my profile from glossy black paper while passersby stopped to inquire.

the small portrait now hangs in an oval-shaped frame in my bedroom. it is one of the first things i see when i wake up in the morning, and the last before i fall asleep at night. in a way, it helped inspire the idea of an internal conversation being with “the silhouette inside”. a piece of my favorite city, a story, a portrait that speaks.

 

PREORDER “the silhouette inside” SOON! Stay tuned for details…

a tiny fire you can hold in your hand

matchbox press

my debut collection of poems and drawings “the silhouette inside” is almost ready! since i decided to opt for self-publishing (i am indie woman, hear me roar, and all that) i have been tasked with creating my own publishing house…

if you know me, you know i collect matches. one matchbox swiped from the bar of a hotel by a new friend who would quickly become my best friend. another box taken with buttery fingers on the way out of an old-school italian restaurant on the north end of boston. a long matchbox from a seaside teahouse in watch hill, a short stack from a small jeweler off of wickenden street. to me, they are like time in a bottle. a sign of hospitality, of care. a bidding token to remember that moment. a pocketable piece of a place, a souvenir.

a sucker for graphic design, i take joy in comparing the typographies on my matchboxes as the world changes. my stumbling upon these little cardboard boxes and books is becoming more and more rare. but i’ll keep collecting, holding on to these outdated relics. each tellings it’s own story, each one an author. a coin-sized, weightless memory from a trip- just a blip- but enough to spark a tiny fire you can hold in your hand.

my book “the silhouette inside” is coming out September 1! stay tuned for preorder details on my facebook author page here.

all rights reserved. matchbox press illustration by kirsten evans.

begin again

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One of my dearest interweb-turned-real-life friends recently retired from her career as a dancer with the Joffrey Ballet. We were FaceTiming one night, her eyes lit by the faint glow of a porch light somewhere in North Carolina, when I asked how she was feeling about her “new life” as a mother and student of interior design. Her answer was simple and has stuck, taffy-pulling my mind ever since:

“I’m a beginner again.”

Her voice sounded equal parts nervous and optimistic, refreshed by the concept of starting over. She went on to point out the fact that as professional ballet dancers, we have trained our entire lives to (never quite) master one very specific skill. Since adolescence, our focus has been sole: dance. Starting a career at the age of 18 creates a certain sense of comfort, if not accomplishment, in that field. Leaving the studio and stage to forge a new path, well that is something else entirely.

It’s been quite a while, my friend pointed out, since she felt this brand new. She had not set out to learn a the foundation of a completely new trade in nearly two decades. Yes, it’s scary to suddenly feel so unsure of your footing. But guess what? It’s also exhilarating to not always know.

I’m finding all of this to be so very true as I navigate the murky (to me) waters of writing, illustrating, formatting, publishing, and distributing a book. This completely new set of skills that call upon another side of my creativity. Suddenly all of those years spent training expertise into expert seem much further away.

Was I really a beginner at ballet once, learning french vocabulary and using stories to memorize the order of exercises at the barre?

So we do what dancers do. I apply what a life on stage has given me here, behind the curtain, as I give voice to the girl in the wings. Determination, patience, and flexibility. Try, learn, begin again. Let’s publish a book.

 

“the silhouette inside” is coming so soon! stay tuned, friends.

a book, i hope

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Sweaty afternoons spent illustrating my book on the porch, punctuated by my usual seaside summer jaunts to York and Newport. Trying to retain some semblance of normalcy in a world turned upside-down…

C and I have taken to an evening stroll down Blackstone to stretch our legs and get out of the house, even if behind masks. Lately I find myself craving a disconnect from the all-consuming screens that seem to have taken over more and more of my awake time as connecting with the world in a physical way has become so limited. I will never consider myself an extravert, but as an artist, I certainly glean inspiration from the sights, sounds, and yes, those mysterious people of the outside world.

A few nights ago, we took our walk at the height of golden hour: that magical time of night where it feels as though the clouds have touched down to the treetops and your head floats up high enough into the branches to meet them. Everything seems just a bit more special…even your routine walk around the neighborhood. It hit me then- as I saw the low sun flare through fat, happy July leaves and felt a poem coming on- that I had written most of my book on this very same walk.

Almost every day last summer began with a walk to Wildflour. Between my home and my favorite café, words appeared in my mind. Sometimes one at a time, other times in hoards that clogged my ears and threatened to spill out my mouth if I did not sit down and write them out in time. Some days I would rush frantically to my café, so as not to lose a single syllable. Other times I let the words steep deep in my skull. Marinate before serving.

Pushing through the café doors, ordering my usual Providence Breakfast tea, finding a table on the coveted back wall, all of these keeping my words tangled somewhere behind my tongue, until finally, the release. An open laptop, a half full notebook, an outpouring.

One day, as I walked up with my empty teacup to ask for “a bit more hot water when you get a chance?” the barista (taking my cup before I finished, all too familiar with my daily re-steep request) posed a question toward me instead: “What are you writing over there?” She smiled graciously through orange-red lips and admitted to noticing the way I stare blankly into the coffee-scented air when I’m thinking. “A book, I hope,” was my optimistic reply.

Twelve months later, a new July has found me, with a very new set of summer routines. Kept from my café, I’ve collected the poems I wrote there; Remembering a past me and her previous tea, sipping in the day and exhaling words on a page.

My debut book of poetry and drawings “the silhouette inside” is coming soon.

 

judging books by their covers

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It’s officially summer! It feels like we slept right through Spring (anyone else?), but filling up my schedule with creative projects is helping keep some sense of normalcy in this odd time.

I spent the past three months of quarantine assembling my first book of poetry, and now comes the fun part- DESIGN. Fun, yes. Terrifying? Also, yes. I have always loved literary design, books and magazines with beautiful formatting…but creating one of my own that does justice to the poems I’ve pored over and describes my brand as a first-time author…that is a daunting task!

I’ve been perusing local bookstores (though it’s quite difficult in a germ-centric world), and scouring my own collection for inspiration. I’d love to share ideas and sneak peeks of the process here as I continue. Are you interested in book design? Where do you find inspiration? What kind of books are you drawn to? I’d love to know!

photos taken at pvd’s Riffraff bookstore/bar/café. Providence is the coolest.

i’m writing a book

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So speaking of books, I’m writing one!

I know, it’s the quarantine cliché; the early stages of lockdown put all kinds of pressure on folks to write the next best seller. But a few weeks into isolation, I found myself so motivated to put my poetry into a collection. Alas, here we are…

 

I am nearly finished with the first draft and knee-high in tutorials on self-publication. I will keep you updated here, but I would love to know…

Do you read poetry? Would you ever consider buying a complete book? What kinds of illustrations or imagery do you connect with when reading poetry? Who are your favorite poets?

brain walks

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What are you reading? Are you reading? I admit, I’m usually a slow reader. I tend to get distracted, rereading the same sentence 4 times or coming to the turn of a page  realizing I have no idea what I’ve read. BUT! Quarantine has been different.

Lately, I have found it helpful to escape into other worlds, living vicariously through characters and studying the minds of authors, considering why they carefully chose one word over another to craft beautiful prose as with Anthony Dorr or Annie Dillard. It’s been nice to dance around a new place in my mind while my body is trapped between walls.

I have given myself a (loose) goal of finishing one book a week, to keep the momentum going. I’ve also been accidentally matching my dress to book covers, which is a fun little mood-boosting bonus :)

Currently, I’m enjoying Lily King’s Lovers & Writers. The familiar setting (it takes place in Boston in 1997) and characters (it follows a young writer as she navigates love and finishing her first novel) place me so comfortably into a group I have always wanted to mingle my way into. The main character also works as a waitress at a busy restaurant, another lovely reminder of how sweet the bustling of civilization can be. Weaving through King’s relatable pages has provided some semblance of balance these past few days.

These days, reading feels like taking my brain for a walk.

I’d love to know…what are you currently reading?

baked in

I’ve noticed that throughout this isolation, even in the monotony of staying home every day (what day is it, by the way?), there are profoundly “good” and “bad” days.

I have also noticed, that what I choose to do with these days greatly affects my mood as I crawl into bed at the end of the night.

In this quarantined world where time spent outside has become a commodity, sometimes I feel a bit pressured to Get Outside And Enjoy The Weather! And yes, I can attest to the therapeutic effect a walk outside can bring. So it’s a bit surprising to find that every so often, a rainy afternoon like this one is actually a bit of a welcomed treat.

It’s the perfect excuse to bake up something comforting and curl up with a book. Or whatever your version of rainy-day-leisure might look like. If you are in need of a recipe for something sweet and easy, my banana bread (which is adapted from a Baked Greens recipe), has become somewhat famous in the studio, and you might already have all of the ingredients on hand…

What You Need:

3-4 overripe bananas

1/3 cup olive oil

1/3 cup maple syrup

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

1.5 cups flour (I usually use oat flour which you can make by blending oats, but any flour works!)

1 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp cinnamon (or more to taste)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Mash the bananas and then add all the wet ingredients and mix well. Add the baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and mix that. Add the flour in last (sometimes I sift it in if I’m feeling extra fancy) and mix just to combine.

Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. Fight the urge to cut it open until it has cooled…or just dive in! Perfectly finished crumb structure is overrated. ;)