Outsider – a poem

Poem published in SUBROSA Curated by Estefania Schubert & Ingrid M. Calderón-Collins ✍️
TW suicide & self-harm.

This poem pretty much sums up my feelings of being an outsider. I have never felt secure with people, in friendships and it’s all been a fight to fit in, to be accepted and keep a straight face and not appear too ‘weird’. To be honest, looking back I think all of us kids were trying hard to fit in, because it was all about the hierarchy and being cool in school. Better to be in than out. I used to get bullied because I was naive, was shy and wouldn’t stand up for myself, I would believe what people were telling me … about myself. I gave up trying to make friends by the time I was 13 & social isolation accelerated my depression. Social isolation and depression made me both suicidal and self-harm. As did the dysphoria puberty gave me.


I was full of self-pity & hatred because no-one seemed to be able to help or understand me. I didn’t understand why I was struggling to function. I was walking around feeling I was repeatedly being smacked around the head with a frying pan.
Teachers only saw me as a pain in the backside, who wouldn’t do their work & would disrupt lessons. I spent so many years denying any feelings I had, feeling it was my fault & thinking no-one liked me because what is there to like?
It’s amazing& sad, looking back, at how much of how I behaved & thought was depression and stigma and shame and loneliness and what people had told me I was and should do.

I don’t need to carry that shit anymore!!!!!!
I don’t need to keep destroying myself.

Today poetry collection House of Weeds is released ‘Weeds and humans overlap in this prickly-sweet fusion of poetry and illustration, painting tales of society’s outsiders’ Here is an interview with its author Amy Charlotte Kean.

 


 

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1, Tell us about you, and your writing (themes, influences etc.)

 

I’m on a journey to become as weird as David Lynch. I’d say I’m about 3% of the way there, so this may take a while. Most of what I write – my columns, my poems, by books – are about being yourself and accepting your weirdness. Some of us are more capable than others, because being yourself is an extremely brave act. Weirdness is feared intensely in the world, often by insecure people.

 
My first book The Little Girl Who Gave Zero Fucks is about being completely, unapologetically yourself and not worrying what people think. I try not to be cliched about mental health. In the book, the main character Elodie-Rose deals with a constant buzzing and whirring in her brain whenever she decides to give zero fucks for something the day has thrown her way; like bullying or sexual harassment or even being told she’s too loud in debating class. Eventually, when she decides to live life as she chooses, the whirring stops. And in my upcoming poetry book, House of Weeds, every character has been labelled an outcast by society. The poems are about rebelling against norms and embracing your strange. Making peace with it.

I’ve been influenced by the oddest, most magical content: Jim Henson, Roald Dahl, The Mighty Boosh, The Worst Witch, horoscopes, Ella Frears, Anne Carson and Michael Rosen. There will always be a dark humour in my work, because I believe even the saddest, most terrifying situations need laughter.

 

2, What are some of the ways in which you promote your work, and do you find these add, or eat into, your time writing?

 

Every single waking second of every day I spend working, with my laptop open. It’s ruining my eyesight. And I live on Twitter, despite how angry it makes me. I write a lot of comment pieces on the themes of my books and have a regular column for a magazine called Shots, which is designed for the creative community. I’m known as outspoken, which is weird in and of itself, because I only talk about what I believe. In the book So You’ve Been Publicly Shamed, Jon Ronson talks about how we’re cultivating a society where only the bland will thrive. I try and remember that when I write.

 

3, What projects are you working on at present?

 
House of Weeds, published by Fly on the Wall Press, is coming out on 17th May. As soon as the world is back to normal and it’s appropriate to do so, me and the book’s illustrator Jack Wallington are staging an immersive exhibition in Peckham, so you can go straight to the scene of the book, and live like its characters. I couldn’t be more excited. I’m also writing an audio sitcom and am in the final stages of a novel about the dark, exploitative side of the volunteering industry, set in Kenya.

4, What does poetry mean to you?

 

I struggle with the inaccessibility of poetry, sometimes. So many regular people simply feel they “don’t get it.” What a tragedy! I don’t want poetry to be a secret club, for English grads from redbrick universities who use the same words and voices. It defeats the object of the world being gifted this unrivalled art form that allows people to rip out a piece of their ridiculous brains and throw it on a page to see what happens. When I started writing poetry I was stunned at how much I could get away with, how much I was able to speak my mind, but do it beautifully, with wit and surprise. Poetry is therapy, genuinely. It’s becoming more accessible over time, and when my friends say to me “I don’t get it” it makes me sad, because they don’t realise that all you have to do is try.

 

 

 


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Amy Charlotte Kean is an advertising strategist, innovation consultant and writer from Essex. Her first book, the number 1 bestselling The Little Girl Who Gave Zero F*cks was published in 2018 with Unbound. Amy’s rants, reviews, short fiction and poems have been published in The Guardian, Huffington Post, Disclaimer, Glamour, Abridged, Burning House Press, Poetry Village and many others. She was shortlisted in the Reflex Flash Fiction competition and was an Ink, Sweat & Tears poet of the month. Her second book, House of Weeds, is out in May with Fly on the Wall Press.


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Gift Persona Non Grata to a loved one this month 🌲

Persona Non Grata is an anthology featuring a number of excellent poets. All the money from its sales goes to charities Shelter & Crisis Aid

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My Thoughts on The Day is Ready for you by Alison Malee

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Title: The Day is Ready for you

Author: Alison Malee

Genre: Poetry

Rating: 4 out of 5.

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I had mixed feelings on The Day is Ready for you, the second collection of poetry by Alison Malee. When I first read the book I struggled to connect with the poems, on the second reading I begun to appreciate the way in which Malee constructs her sentences. She writes with lowercase letters, as well as with the lines spaced, so it felt more intimate. It was that intimacy that made me start to connect with the poems, and enjoy the book. There was a feeling in the poetry of alienation, of not belonging. The questions Malee was asking based on the environment, and the experiences, of the narrator. The love poems gave me the sense the narrator believes love is for the few, and that they don’t believe they are one of those few. I liked the writing was whimsical too at some points, and I liked a lot of the metaphors that were used. I loved the title of this book too, which I interpreted as The Day is Ready for you: You are Ready for the Day.

Concept: we are becoming dull with age
I tell you about the raspberries and you tell me
We are too old to believe in magic

I ask, is it growing up that leaves us empty?

A good, decent sized, poetry collection that will give you nuggets of wonder, and goosebumps, and joy, and nostalgia.


Did you know?

The Day is Ready for you is published by Andrews McMeel Publishing. They have also published poetry by Lang Leav, Amanda Lovelace and Alicia Cook.

Alison Malee has written another book, titled This is the Journey.