Yrsa Daley-Ward was born in 1989 in Northern England and, at just twenty-nine years old, has already published two full-length works and gained 136K followers on Instagram. She is arguably one of the most famed and renowned Instapoets of the modern age, what with her posts gaining more than eight-thousand likes. Read her compelling poem Mental Health here.
However, Daley-Ward wasn’t always the well-known force of literature that she is today; her upbringing was a darkly complicated, messy, and difficult one. She was raised alongside her younger brother by their single mother and her eccentric, toxic partner before they were eventually sent to live with their incredibly religious, strict, and domineering grandparents.
As soon as she finished high-school, Daley-Ward made the decision to skip out on college, leave her grandparents home behind, and move to Manchester, before eventually moving to London. Now, finally out of her strict, conservative upbringing, she began to really see herself and understand her body and the power her sexuality could hold. She began pursuing modeling; struggling for years to make ends meet. She took up work as an escort and an exotic dancer before eventually deciding to leave England behind and move to Cape Town, South Africa.
The thing that attracted me to South Africa was that the models look like me and there’s so much more diversity.
Cape Town turned out to be the place Daley-Ward would rediscover her love of words, writing, and poetry. She’d originally begun submitting her poems to literary journals at the age of seventeen but found herself feeling rejected and discouraged, so she spent the following years focusing on modeling; pushing away the burning need to express that was boiling up inside of her.
Image Via Sleek Magazine
Not long after her arrival to South Africa, Daley-Ward happened upon a bar hosting a spoken word open mic night and decided to take the opportunity to finally share the words she’d been filing away in journals and notebooks for years and years; bringing them out into the world.
She began posting her short, concise-yet-cutting poems on Instagram, quickly gaining a cult-like following (including stars like Florence Welch and Ellen Page). In 2014, she released bone; a collection of poems detailing themes of sexuality, addiction, mental health, and more written during a three-month period. Her works are small yet so, incredibly impactful. She manages to define moments, emotions, and the darkest parts of herself within the confines of one or two sentences.
She is raw, brutally honest, and relatable in so many ways. And, lucky for us, she has just penned and released a new full-length memoir that’s a uniquely stunning blend of prose and verse entitled The Terrible.
Image Via Amazon
I am somewhere else now. I am part human, part metaphysics, and I still haven’t worked out which parts of me are which. I love this new form. I can feel space traveling through me. I am porous and wondrous and bold…It’s not that I loved to leave, rather that staying was always completely impossible.
The Terrible is a coming-of-age tale detailing the struggles of a young Yrsa Daley-Ward as she pushes on through familial dysfunction, drug abuse, sex work, modeling, and mental illness. The memoir shows Daley-Ward growing, shifting, and transforming throughout her life until she eventually becomes the strong, powerful, poetic powerhouse she is today.
The book is brutally honest, so completely, vulnerably human, and not something you’d want to miss!
Time is an illusion, say the scientists. It is molecular, it is bendable or liquid, it is soldered metal; or it is droplets of memory. I imagine it looks like mercury, silver and elusive…Burn all the clocks. I am free.
Featured Image via The Irish Times