Poet puts personal words to print
Gawlak first book out, continues public reading series
By: Scott Hayes
| Posted: Wednesday, Feb 20, 2013 06:00 am
by Kasia Gawlak
from your name
spells god and i’m distracted
by the space between
your two front teeth
between your mouth and your secrets
your dirty thoughts
pretending to be shelter
knowing i go home soaked in
For one local writer, there’s nothing more important than the power of the word. Paul Kane graduate Kasia Gawlak recently released a book of personal poetry. ‘Personal’ is putting it lightly.
The Mourning After is an insightful overview of the writer’s work over a 15-year period and it covers a lot of emotional territory through her late teens to her 30s.
“It was more of a pet project for me,” she admitted, saying that it was more of a life goal than a career goal. “I’ve been writing poetry since I was a teenager. When I looked over 15 years of stuff, I had enough to put out a bit of a retrospective.”
This retrospective is 100 pages of deep but not too dark musings on the stuff of life.
The works cover a broad range of emotional subjects, mostly around the tumultuous world of human relationships. There’s love and heartbreak, sex and the strange, sticky navigations between people.
There’s loss, anger and grief too, all familiar territory for any aspiring writer. Gawlak handles her words with deft agility, coming up with wonderful, astute phrases like “barren bones/withered, weathered/bent under bitter wind/forked upward/in a dry, brittle grin” from the verdict of spring.
“I’ve always wanted to do this: to release a book,” Gawlak said. “It’s not really about the validation of the world outside. It’s more just about the need inside to create, to express. It’s all fine if you want to just journal your own ideas for your own benefit. I took it a little more seriously than that. I felt it was worthwhile for the same reasons that any artist puts their work out there and wants to share.”
Gawlak was also thrilled to share the project with her collaborator, illustrator Andreas Loutas, also of St. Albert, and a lifelong friend.
Apart from Loutas’ 40 or so illustrations, Gawlak herself strived to maintain full creative control.
“I thought, ‘Why wait? Why go through the pain of trying to find an agent, or find a publisher who might be interested in what I’m doing?’ Just do it myself. Musicians have been doing that for years so why not poets?”
She repeated her assertion that poetry, for her, is about the opportunity and the venue for self-expression.
“The market is niche to begin with. The people who are interested in reading this type of stuff and in buying it are a small subset of the overall audience for even local writers and friends. For me, the project is really just about my passion for poetry and my desire to put my voice out there in whatever small way,” she said.
“You do it, first and foremost, because you want to share yourself. It’s something that’s a passion for you. No matter what happens and what comes out of it at the end, it’s something that you’ll be proud that you did.”