Borne to Unfurl Poetry Book Release

Borne to Unfurl Poetry Book Release

It’s finally here. My poetry book Borne to Unfurl is now available!

It’s been a while in coming. Between writing and design and production, and now preparing myself to release my deeply personal writings. I must admit it’s unnerving to feel so very vulnerable. Once it’s out there, it’s out there. But, I want to get past myself. I want to send it off out into the world with all the unfurling love I was borne into and out of; in my living and writing. In my grief and sorrow. In the deep well of the past, in hugs and holding tight to memories that I never want to let go of, yet scared that I will.

On Writing the Book

Borne to Unfurl is dedicated to my now deceased parents. It is borne through writing and healing my life story, one word at a time. One petal at a time. It’s not always lovely and it’s not always flattering, but then, angst and longing and the journey to forgiveness and joy rarely is.

Writing this poetry book helped me to process my grief and life experiences. It opened doors for insight and understanding. It helped me see myself and my parents lives through different lenses. And it helped me to seek and peek at the mysterious ways God works to heal our wounded souls.

I took to writing poetry again in my father’s final months. I had been trying to start another novel, but when he was hospitalized with pneumonia this undertaking became too hard to concentrate on. Expressing myself through poetry had always been second nature to me, so I gravitated towards it like a flower reaching towards the sun.

From the hospital, we got Dad moved to Sunnybrook Veteran’s Centre, and it seemed most fitting that we spent more and more time talking about his time in WWII; at Juno Beach and on through to Holland where he fought for their liberation. Dad has become my hero and I can almost guarantee he will be an inspiration in a future novel.

Here’s My Dad

The Cover

When the book idea for Borne to Unfurl began to take shape in my mind, I visualized different images for the cover; at first a bird in flight, then a horse, but as the writing progressed I knew it would be a poppy. It had to be a poppy. I envisioned something bold and strong, well, because isn’t that what my art has always been? So, when the designer sent me this design; soft and muted, I was taken by surprise by the tug on my heart and the tears in my eyes. I felt it. She captured the essence of beauty and growth and grace, that is the story inherent in the book.

Paying Tribute

My father passed away on July 9, 2019. My mother followed him into the starry skies 14 months later, on September 1, 2020. Oh my word, how I love them beyond measure. I love everything about them; their hardships and heartbreaks, their endearing love of their family and all that encompasses. And it was in writing this collection of poetry that I learned how to do that.

I realized today that perhaps I’ve delayed announcing my book release until now for a reason. Until the Month of November, when poppies are in everyone’s thoughts and on everyone’s lapels, as we honour those who have fought in the war—On Remembrance Day.

Today, and always, I honour my father, who fought in WWII. I honour my mother, who also contributed through Red Cross efforts, and for always standing by Dad’s side, holding him up in his dark days. I love and cherish you both, and it is true that your lives and blood and love shall now be matter of my song.

Coming Home

Coming Home

Once you find where the weight of your talent lies, that’s where you start putting down roots.

~ David Leite, quoted from Exit Interview on Qwerty with Marion Roach Smith

I’ve had an idea for a novel noodling around in my head for a year and a half now. Just when I thought I was getting my feet back under me after my father’s death last year and began to sort through my research to start working on it, life threw me another curve ball. This time over my mother’s health.

It put me into a bit of scramble for a few weeks, but I’m reminded I also need to care for my own health (and sanity and happiness and…)

Not quite ready for something as intensive as a lengthy novel, my soul was still urging me to put pen to paper. So, I decided to write poetry for a while because it seemed something I could manage.

A few poems in and I felt like I was coming home – to myself and my origins in writing. To a craft that has saved me on more than one occasion. A home where I could put down roots for a while; to express thoughts difficult to articulate in few, but healing words, to go darker and lighter, and to ease the pain in my body and heart.

Soon I felt poetry taking a hold on me and I’ve decided to write a book of poetry.

I love love love David Leite’s advice and it’s worthy of taking note. Letting it guide you to find the core of your talents and to help you put down roots if you’ve been struggling to figure it out.

Just follow the clues in the things that you love to do and what feels like home to you. We can put so much pressure on ourselves to make a living from our passion, but sometimes attaching money to things can ruin the whole experience before it has a chance to take hold of us and grow.

In a way, I’ve come back to poetry out of necessity, but it’s turning out to be the key to unblocking my words again after a drought.

I want to experiment and grow in my craft and the two books I am frequently turning to for inspiration are poemcrazy by Susan Goldsmith Wooldridge and Selected Poems of Anne Sexton.

poemcrazy is filled with lots of writing practices to free the words inside. I enjoyed the chapter that suggests creating a word pool of feeling words. The practice suggests choosing a feeling, look at an image of art or a postcard and describe something in the piece that depicts your feeling.

I wrote a poem titled ‘I Feel…’ using this technique. In the poem I alternated stanzas between heavier and lighter themes. Here’s one stanza :

I feel…

the willy nilly of hills around the next corner,

a tap tap tap on a new film reel,

anticipation with cheeks puckered pink and a button nose.

This is so different from my norm, and gets me thinking in a new way using images to convey feelings.

I’m also enjoying Anne Sexton’s poetry and experimenting to help me grow. Emulating work you admire is a great way to learn and help you to develop your own unique style.

Here’s one of Anne’s earlier works that has so much flow and intentionality… The Balance Wheel:

Where I waved at the sky

And waited your love through a February sleep,

I saw birds swinging in, watched them multiply

Into a tree, weaving on a branch, cradling to keep

In the arms of April, sprung from the south to occupy

This slow lap of land, like cogs of some balance wheel.

I saw them build the air, with that motion birds feel.


Where I wave at the sky

And understand love, knowing our August heat,

I see birds pulling past the dim frosted thigh

Of Autumn, unlatched from the next, and wing-beat

For the south, making their high dots across the sky,

Like beauty spots marking a still perfect cheek.

I see them bend the air, slipping away, for what birds seek.

Something new growing alive in the writing… the study… the experimenting… of poetry.