Bookworms! I hope you all have been enjoying your summer. It's been approximately 1 month since I posted our summer reading list and I've knocked out a couple of those gems...I hope you all have done the same :)
I actually made a change in my summer reading and included a new gem that fell right into my lap! Recently, I was sent the book galley of Jennifer Lauren Accius' first poetry compilation, Butterfly in the Reine. Beautiful is all I have to say. The book is broken up into (4) stages of the butterfly's life cycle: i - egg, ii - larva, iii - pupa, and last, but certainly not least, iv - adult. The thought is Jennifer's live and her experiences parallel that of a butterfly and with each stage she has shed skin and truly transformed.
Here are two of my favorite poems from the book:
July 18, 2015 - 10:33pm
Kindness brings us all together.
Humans must learn to use their minds
to get to the end of time together.
We shall weather the storms
of social norms falling by the wayside.
Pride will no longer have room to consume us,
because we'll have the knowledge of the truest self.
Love will sustain us
when it's all over and done.
July 18, 2016 - 3:21pm
I am born from people who knew how to free themselves.
Their spirits live inside me.
On my best
and especially worst days,
my ancestors push me.
Remind me that I have been passed the baton.
Reassure me that my sole existence
means the race is already won.
These poems stood out to me for a couple of reasons. One, because they resonate with my meditations and two, because they were written exactly one year apart and it was interesting to see the evolution of her thoughts. Jennifer Lauren Accius is definitely an author to pay attention to. I also had the opportunity to ask her a few brief questions regarding Butterfly in the Reine. Check out her responses below:
1. What experiences inspired Butterfly in the Reine?
My inspirations for Butterfly in the Reine came first and foremost from the need to purge emotions. These poems were just short blurbs of thoughts I had that would take me out of the present moment and I hurriedly wrote in my notes app from time to time. I’d go back and read them to process the things that transpired and my feelings about them. Never considered sharing them because they always felt unfinished. A year ago I started to play around with the idea of sharing my poems on a blog tab for my business website and a talk with my spiritual coach encouraged me to see if I had enough poetry to publish a book. I went back to my notes app, first putting them in chronological order, then found that not only did I have enough, but there was an evolution that i unknowingly recorded. It flowed. I saw my self in stages and wanted to marry who I was, with who I am, and who I aspire to be.
2. How long did it take you to write Butterfly in the Reine?
Butterfly in the Reine technically took 6 years to complete. Between the time I decided to self publish and the release date it was about a years time.
3. In section iv, on pg. 102 you write "December 20th, 2016 - 2:15pm" to Sandra Bland, correct?It seems you speak briefly on your own experiences with police brutality, can you speak further on that?
The poem I wrote for Sandra Bland came after having a PTSD episode at work. I was plagued with unexpected anxiety attacks when our current president was elected and my 9 to 5 became swarmed with secret service, police brigades, and snipers every weekend from the fall of 2016 to spring of 2017. In 2015, experienced police brutality and was forced into silence because once I informed the officer that I’d press charges against him I was arrested with a false story so my word wouldn’t hold up in court. To this day I haven’t pressed charges and for a while I lived in shame and self imposed isolation. Going to work surrounded by people I feared, never knowing when I’d have another panic attack, I felt helpless and wrote the poem as if she (in spirit) was the only one who could understand. She was brave, I didn’t feel brave, I felt cowardly because I conformed and never reported it out of shame. I decided to use my full name for this project instead of a pseudonym as originally planned so I could disassociate myself from that night. This is my small way of facing fear head on.
4. Do you have any other projects out or in production?
I recently started writing my second book of poetry. There isn’t a concrete time I’d like to finish it. I have some ideas for the title but i just want to focus on keeping record of things that happen in my life as they happen. Writing poetry has been one of my primary sources of art therapy since I was eleven years old. At the moment my lifestyle brand website www.reinexrebelle.com is where my current work can be found. I plan to release more art in various mediums that encapsulates different parts of my life.
If you enjoyed the review and the two poems shared here I encourage you to purchase her book. Please click the image to purchase the book on Amazon.com. I cannot wait to hear your thoughts on this new author and her beautiful work!