Poets who use social media as a platform for their work and to reach their audience are a special kind of a literary hero. They open the door to poetry to those who may not otherwise have discovered it and inspire people daily. Now, some of the biggest poets on Instagram have come together to use their talents to create a truly unique book.
Image Via Central Avenue Publishing
[Dis]connected: Poems & Stories of Connection and Otherwise, edited by Michelle Halket and published by Central Avenue Publishing, brings together eleven poets, Amanda Lovelace, Nikita Gill, Iain S. Thomas , Cyrus Parker, Sara Bond, Yena Sharma Purmasir, Trista Mateer, Canisia Lubrin, and R. H. Swaney, each of whom contributed three poems, and was assigned three poems by the other contributors. Each contributor then wrote a short story based on one of the poems they were assigned.
Nikita Gill, Cyrus Parker, Amanda Lovelace | Images Via Amazon and author websites
In her introduction, editor Michelle Halket explains that the square brackets in the title [Dis]Connected are usually “used to enclose words added by someone other than the original writer or speaker, typically in order to clarify the situation. For me, they perfectly capture the climate of today’s hyper-connected world. Never in history has humanity been so connected, yet so many of us feel the exact opposite. Those square brackets remind me of some omniscient being looking down on us and saying ‘Nuh-uh, you’re not as connected as you think you are…'”
The stories in the anthology explore themes of connection and disconnection within society and relationships, often using fantasy elements to explore how we relate to one another, and in keeping with the theme of connection, the project sought to unite both hugely successful poets such as Amanda Lovelace with lesser known writers, to brilliant results.
Canisia Lubrin, R.H. Swaney, Iain Thomas | Images Via Amazon and author websites
Amanda Lovelace, author of The Princess Saves Herself in This One, and The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One, has said:
By taking an issue like intimate partner abuse and putting it in the context of a world constructed from scratch with characters and a magic system to become invested in, we’re finally able to make connections that we weren’t necessarily able to make [otherwise]. It’s about giving your reader a fresh perspective free of their own everyday distractions.
Recently, several of the contributors took part in a panel at Book Con in New York, “The Poetry Connection: Stories from Today’s Most Popular Poets,” during which they discussed connection, disconnection and how these themes relate to their presence on social media, especially on Instagram, the platform which skyrocketed many of these authors to fame.
Sara Bond, Liam Ryan, Trista Mateer, Yena Sharma Purmasir | Images Via Amazon and author websites
“We write accessible poetry,” noted Cyrus Parker at the event. “We’re not trying to leave anybody out.” “I want to give a voice to voiceless women,” added K.Y. Robinson, a poet who has signed on for the next edition of [Dis]Connected, which will feature entirely different contributors. Robinson noted that much of her work centers around providing catharsis and community for people with shared experiences. And both these point And these points are very evident in [Dis]connected. Each story seeks to explore and include both people and relationships, as well as those elements which may often go unseen, such as the darker side of the human condition, often combining these with fantastical elements.
Nikita Gill, speaking to Publishers Weekly, said, “Perhaps your next door neighbor was a magical being all along, and we just missed it until now. I wanted to explore this disconnect within us as humans that makes us miss what could be something that changes our lives.”
Pierre Alex Jeanty and order of poets | Images Via Central Avenue
While Haitian-American author, founder of Gentlemenhood™ and CEO of Jeanius Publishing, Pierre Alex Jeanty, did not take part in the project the same way as the other contributors, he consulted on [Dis]Connected, and the anthology includes several of his poems. His name appears in the middle of the image above, which shows the order in which the poets were picked (from a Starbucks mug, Halket notes in her introduction.)
[Dis]Connected is an ode to the world we live in today, created through connection and using art, fantasy, poetry and prose to unpack the issues surrounding today’s unique experience of physical hyper-connection versus mental and emotional disconnection, in ways that are in turn compassionate, amusing, heartbreaking, and though-provoking.
Check out the synopsis below and make sure to grab your own copy here.
Humanity exists in a hyperconnected world, where our closest friends, loves, and enemies lie but a keyboard stroke away. Few know this better than the poets who have risen to the top of their trade by sharing their emotion, opinion, and art with millions of fans. Combining the poetic forces of some of today’s most popular confessional poets, this book presents poems and short stories about connection wrapped up in a most unique exercise in creative writing. Follow along as these poets connect with each other—offering their poetry to one of their fellow contributors, who tells a story based on the concept presented to them. With poetry, stories, and art, [Dis]Connected is a mixed media presentation of connection, isolation, love, and loneliness.
Featured Image Via Mindful.org