An Instagram friend I’ve come to follow, Julie Stevens (@jumpingjulespoetry) is one of my favourite poets and I recently purchased her chapbook “Quicksand.” Julie has been living with Multiple Sclerosis (MS) for many years. It is difficult to imagine what a person with MS goes through as mobility is taken from them along with the freedom that goes along with it. Julie channels this experience into her poetry so that her readers can understand what a person thinks and feels from the onset and diagnosis, and then forward along the long journey ahead. She also explores some of her interactions with other people along the way - what they might say, how she might respond, and what she’s really thinking. While MS is a central theme, her work showcases, too, what a talented poet Julie is, along with her with and sense of humour, and the inspiration she shares.
I’ve gotten to know Tyneisha (Ty) through Instagram as an “author friend” as we each partnered with FriesenPress on the production of our first book. We’ve been on a parallel journey, and have had our books published within a few weeks of each other. Ty’s book has already reached best seller status on Amazon! Her husband Ryan Ternent did the beautiful illustrations for the book. Centred on Ty’s trimesters, it is a book that would be great for any expecting mother, but it was a nice read for me, too, from a guy’s perspective, and as a father. It is a window into a mother’s mind during pregnancy. Ty delves into the insecurities she felt at times, and the emotional support she needed to get through, which Ryan delivered! She reflects on her past and imagines the future for her child. Check out Ty’s posts on Instagram (@tythepoetess) for more great content including some of her interviews.
Wing’s book “Owl of the Moon” was an enjoyable read for me. The book is nicely laid out and beautifully put together, even before reading his brilliant words. Though Wing is some ten years younger than me, his ideas and vocabulary seem ten years wiser as I read them. I love how he paints nature and experiences with the words he chooses which I can often relate to. Imagine, for example, an "incessant frog party" and what that would sound like. Along with nature themes, he deals with a break-up, Covid-19, and even an attempt at his life over the past year! It boggles my mind, the volume of high-quality poetry Wing writes. This book of 337 pages represents only a third of his output since his last two books. I will want to read his first two books next: “The Bear Within,” and “As a Wolf Breathes.” I always enjoy reading Wing’s Instagram posts too (@thehotwing).
Brandi Marie is an author I’ve discovered through FriesenPress. Her book was published a few months before mine. I first came to know about her book through a book unboxing video she posted on Twitter. Brandi has a spark of adventure in her eyes which is evident in the video. She also has tremendous courage and determination to travel to new, exotic, and faraway places. Her book is divided into four sections; You, I, Them, and We, from which she explores the world along with its challenges, risks, opportunities, pitfalls and joys through different perspectives. Brandi promotes her book and she posts poetry on Instagram (@brandi_was_here); some of it from her book as a preview. She also paints her poetry on rocks on occasion and leaves them for hikers on mountain trails. I loved her book and would recommend it to anyone - especially people like me who are afraid to get outside of their comfort zone and travel the world.