This piece was inspired by one of my favorite video games, Zelda: A Link to the Past. You know, the part where you go to the dark world? I've always been fascinated with the concept, the idea that we could have an alternate reality where all our darkest selves live. What would your dark self look like?
This publication feels important for me for several reasons. It's my first speculative poetry sale (!) and it's also part of a historical narrative poetic sequence book of poetry (say that five times fast) I wrote for my Master's thesis. The sequence tells the story of a character that becomes trapped in a cycle of reincarnation. It draws heavily from American history, as the soul travels between different periods in history. Because I wanted to include each aspect of American history, the character in this poem inhabits the life of a slave, after a previous life of freedom. In other lives, the character is a musician, scientist, civil war soldier, and revolutionary. A second poem from this project will be coming out soon, more info to be announced!
I did extensive research for this project, and the poem draws from poetry that was written at the time. A primary influence for the poem is the poet Adah Isaacs Menken, who was a controversial poet and actress, of African American, white, and Creole heritage from New Orleans. Adah died before her book could be published, but her work challenged many ideas of patriarchy at the time. I found Adah's work so fascinating, and her life so interesting, that I couldn't help but weave her work into this piece.
These poems are part of a book-in-progress I'm working on that center on non-traditional ideas of feminism and relationship. I often struggle with the idea of being a woman, a wife, a friend, but also a feminist. I see the things that confine me to these terms, and find myself wondering if it's possible to be all of the above. I think these roles intersect, overlap, but at times pull each other apart.
I'll let you draw your own conclusions about Break of Day, just to say that it's inspired by the Houston oil & gas complex.
Sheaves of Wheat is based upon a painting by Van Gogh, which I first viewed at the Dallas Museum of Art many years ago. It is part of a series of paintings on the same subject, concerning the relationship of nature and man. Here's what Van Gogh had to say on the subject:
"One does not expect to get from life what one has already learned it cannot give; rather, one begins to see more clearly that life is a kind of sowing time, and the harvest is not yet here.“
EDIT: The Last Man on Earth is up at Urban Fantasist / Grievous Angel by Charles Christian
Sheesh, I wasn't kidding about this being a busy month! I just got news that my microfiction The Last Man on Earth is now live at Charles Christian's Urban Fantasist. Charles' kind words about this piece are little pieces of joy I plan on carrying in my pocket. Thanks Charles!
As always, I encourage readers to draw their own conclusions as they read. Poetry is interpretable, and that's the fun of it. I hope you may read these works and enjoy them.
Thanks for reading!
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Holly Lyn Walrath is a freelance editor and author of poetry, flash fiction, and short fiction. Find her on Twitter @HollyLynWalrath
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Holly Walrath's books on Goodreads
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Our Space: Shorts & Poetry from the Houston Community
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In Medias Res: Stories from the In-Between
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The 2017 Rhysling Anthology: The Best Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Poetry of 2016 Selected by the Science Fiction Poetry Association
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