Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews the Myths of Girlhood

Christine Ray is an extremely rare creature, seemingly transplanted from another age and time, in that she knows absolutely no bounds and will persevere through any obstacle and has the passion of a seventeenth-century bard in her poetic composition and expression.

In today’s saturated world of online bloggers most of us have read competent even exciting authors but few stay with us, underneath the skin. To achieve that, a writer must have captured the moon and control the tides. We live in an impermanent world where we change our fascinations as often as our clothing, loyalty, and fidelity are almost dead. For a writer to clamber from obscurity and retain our fascination seems a heroic feat, more often we have moments of desire for a certain writer and they are forgotten as the next one comes along. Commitment to their art may ensure a writer is briefly remembered again if they keep producing but readership is terribly fickle, no more so than online in the bloggers universe. 

Christine Ray even has a memorable name, but she’s far more than just a female poet writing like so many others, on WordPress and other sites, building her following. Ray is a creator, at once a beautiful mess of a woman and a powerhouse, dynamic in a very contradictory way, on the one hand, due to chronic health blights, she has genuinely struggled both physically and mentally, but despite this, or should I say, through this, she has defied the modern authors dilemma of being one of many on a continuum, and become a standout writer who you will remember and need to read.

I can’t say this happens often these days, most of my favorite poets are 200 years old, they lived in a time when the sheer pain of existing meant a tragic will lent their writing a poignancy you were unable to shake. In today’s fattened world I don’t see that level of intensity transmuted into writing, more often there are vain attempts to mimic those of old or replicate the sordid suffering of our idols and it is usually just that, a pale imitation. 

On so many levels, Ray is an original. Her work brands the reader with charged, unapologetic, stark and often exquisitely painful memories that don’t lose their potency overnight. The first few times I read a piece by Ray I didn’t continue through others blogs, I paused and thought about what her work made me feel, and that emotion stayed with me all day. She’s got that impossible quality that people would donate their soul to inherit, it’s not something you can learn in graduate school, it’s a pulse underneath the skin that few possess and it marks her as a serious contender for being unforgettable.

Having a book of Ray’s work in my collection excites me, her work leaves me like an addict, wanting more, it’s that simple and this, in a day when few authors can come close to achieving that alluring lasting quality. We live in a world that in many ways, has lost the fantastical and the unknown. We can get answers almost immediately, nothing is mysterious anymore, and therefore, when a writer can leave us breathless and disturbed, we cleave to them like shelter from an otherwise barren landscape. Such is the modern art world, few strike us through the heart or possess the raw talent to remain relevant and pulsating when it’s hard enough finding time to read poetry and locate its worth in our lives. Many who feel broken and have reasons for self-destruction, cannot weld the self-possession it takes to give voice to an unacceptable feeling or experience, yet Ray owns it with her wordsmiths alacrity she displays torment and survives it, bringing hope to burning wounds through the grace of her intelligent observations, pushing them from her deepest recess with no intention of going back.

Ray brings back my love of poetry, she throws it into an empty room and it proliferates, sometimes frighteningly, until it’s halfway down my throat and I only want more. A once in a lifetime author will cause you to become obsessive, you’ll never truly get enough, and you’ll forget your other lovers. That’s how I feel upon reading Ray’s work and I am certain of one thing, she’s only going to keep surprising us, because despite everything, she lives for her art, and it shows, in the sheer force of her will to write it out, and touch us with her fire. She alone can create a cage, set a stage for madness, tattoo a feeling, gut an emotion or twist my psyche with an uncanny awareness of what makes us tick. If we know everything then the only thing left is what we make of the fallout, and Ray is the mistress of revealing what lies beneath us. 

In this ability to represent our deepest emotions, Ray reminds me of the classical poets whom we adored and emulated, she is the original from which we follow and yet, she is desperately relevant to today, because she inhabits the now with the tongue of yesterday. This first published collection is an exquisite rendering of Ray’s kaleidoscope of work themed around mental angst, PTSD and the unbearable lightness of being, cleaved from her chest cavity. She wields her deft needle, threading gorgeous imagery, ghosts, voids, screams, immeasurable psychological depths and carved beauty in one breathless gathering of work. Read her. Want her. Need her. 

The Myths of Girlhood is available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble Online, and Book Depository

Candice Louisa Daquin’s own life, traveling from her native France, via England, Canada and finally the US, has brought a myriad of experiences that others have often been able to tap into via her writing. A collection of lives really, and with this, she tries to weave greater meaning through poetry and touch those who experience similar questions, doubts, and hopes. Surely this is what writing attempts in its very human form?

Daquin’s themes include feminism in its complex, everyday form, and the experience of being a woman, a gay woman, a bi-racial woman, a bi-cultural woman and finally, a Jewish woman of Egyptian extraction (Mizrahi) and how this sits with the world’s current revolt between the dominant faiths.

You can read more of her writing at The Feathered Sleep.

Final chance to submit to: “We Will Not Be Silenced” Anthology

Midnight, Monday 15th October is the deadline for submitting art/writing/poetry, this is an important, very timely project at a critical stage in history, your voices need to be heard! Previously published work you hold the copyright permissions on, are acceptable.

Please add your voice.

The story: Bruised But Not Broken, Whisper and the Roar, Indie Blu(e), and Blood Into Ink are joining forces to publish an anthology about the lived experience of sexual harassment and assault. We believe that it is more important than ever before that more voices speak out and reclaim their strength by owning their survival stories. All contributors, female and male, can submit up to three pieces of creative work- these can include; Poetry, Prose, Essay, Short Fiction, Prose, or original Artwork, but should be limited in length (under 1,000 words) considering that this is an anthology. You will be notified if your work is accepted. Please do not consider nonacceptance as any diminishment of your experience, but as with any publishing venture, we must try to fit the individual pieces together into a strong whole.

  • Submission of previously published pieces is acceptable if you still own the rights to your work.
  • Artwork can be submitted in black and white OR color but all artwork should be black and white compatible.
  • Using a pen name or publishing anonymously is acceptable.
  • All submissions should be sent to bloodintoink2017@gmail.com by midnight, Monday, October 15, 2018.

Writers and artists will retain the publishing rights to their individual submitted pieces. Indie Blu(e) will retain the rights to the collection We Will Not Be Silenced.

Pieces accepted for the Anthology may be used in whole or in part to promote the Anthology. All writers and artists will be appropriately credited in all promotional materials.

Should the royalties from sales of the Anthology exceed the costs of publishing and promoting the Collection, 70% of the royalties above these costs will be donated to organizations that support survivors of sexual harassment and sexual assault.

 

Fear of Flying-Melody Lee

Fear of Flying

couple.jpg

I flew to Philly to meet his parents,

to be with him, to see the city and watch him smile.

I met him in the airport wearing my new dress

and black knee high boots. It was my winter break…

and it was seriously winter in Philly.

Snow every day.

Floridians aren’t accustomed to snow

and no Christmas tree left a weird chill in my bones

and an ache for home.

We ate bagels in the morning and had sex

in the afternoons, when his father was at work. Unlucky

for us, his step mom was always lurking somewhere

in their two-story house.

I missed how he played guitar for me back home, typically

something by Led Zeppelin, The Beatles or Paul Simon.

We took the subway to NYC, my first time for both.

I fell in love…with the lights, the fast pace,

the energy, NYC and Jewish delis.

He took me to Vassar, where he graduated with a degree

in Philosophy. I met his friends, got drunk, puked.

We skied in the Poconos, my first time on skis. I sucked.

Ice did not agree with my feet. My balance wasn’t right,

on the ice or with him. His father was stern. He didn’t like me.

His step mom heard us banging and my non-Jewish

moaning didn’t win her approval. Awkward. I didn’t like her,

but I adored his mom. She gave me “Fear of Flying,” by Erica Jong,

and that has stayed with me all these many years later.

 

© Melody Lee / September 2018

Indie Blu(e) Welcomes Ashley Jane

Ashley Jane is an indie author from Alabama. She is a former Inmate Substance Abuse Counselor with research published in Crime and Delinquency magazine. She has also been featured on various poetry sites. Currently, she moves between consulting, editing books for others and working with computers. She still enjoys research, and you’ll often find her alternating between reading poetry books and psychological studies. While from the South, her heart still lives in Washington DC (or the Caribbean.) She loves music concerts and true crime dramas. She lives with her husband and their one child, a rescue cat named Shadow Monkey.

Ashley has been writing off and on since childhood, but she only started sharing her words a few years ago. She is the co-founder of FallsPoetry prompt, which runs on both Instagram and Twitter. She also co-hosts DarkLines and DrugVerse prompts on Twitter, and she helps run a writer support group (Poets, Poetry and Publishing) on Facebook.


Published Work

(Available on Amazon)

Cover Image.jpeg

Love, Lies, and Lullabies is a collection of poetry about relationships and the emotions that come with them. It is written for the lovers and the liars, the broken and the mended, the hardened hearts and the soft souls who lie and tell everyone that they are fine. Each chapter is filled with poems that detail the ups and downs of life and love, of pain and joy, of losing and finding yourself again.

Kristiana Reed Reviews Nicholas Gagnier’s Swear To Me

Swear to Me, an anthology of struggle and survival from Nicholas Gagnier, is a triumphant reveal of lonely hearts which aren’t so lonely after all. It appears a slim book of poetry when in fact it is the friend checking in on you. The friend who makes you a hot beverage or pours you a drink. The friend who listens without questions. The friend who doesn’t shrink from the boxes you’ve labeled ‘MADNESS’ but helps you unpack them. The friend who with just a smile, call or brief squeeze of your hand says: ‘You’re still here and I’m so glad you are.’

There is an undeniable sense of community in Swear to Me. Gagnier himself comments on the contributing writers being ‘the heart of a message this book represents.’ They are the chorus swelling behind Gagnier’s honest, raw solo. The standouts for me were Christine Ray’s ‘Wrecking Ball’ and Nicole Lyons’ ‘The Mmm of Her’. This chorus hits a crescendo with ‘A Room So Still and Quiet’ – a culmination of the powerful, healing voices Gagnier evokes in his poem ‘Survivors’ – they are the ‘light that refuses to die.’

However, this anthology is also crafted in the knowledge we don’t all want battle drums and war paint; sometimes we just want to know we are not alone, we are understood. Gagnier and his words are the close friends we all need and deserve and whilst some poems ignite a fire in your belly, others nod with understanding or wrap you up in shaking, ‘we can do this together’ arms. ‘A Normal Life’ is one of the most touching odes to struggle and survival I’ve ever read:

‘you are my beacon, even brighter

overcompensating madness

in the maddest of ways.’

It’s love. Battle drums, war paint, and love. Love of yourself, others and life itself – embracing the madness as your normal. Letting the walls crumble, the expectations you are something other, pack their bags and realizing the home you want to build is inside you with a ribcage scaffold. ‘Ten Year Story’, ‘Beautiful Human’ and ‘Longhurt’ are other personal favourites which all remind me of the importance of love and acceptance.

Finally, like all good friends, you will always have fond memories to reminisce about during your darkest and brightest days. The friend I found in Swear to Me is no exception. Upon finishing this anthology, I’ve returned to two poems in particular time and time again. ‘Homeward Legend’ reminds me the heart on my sleeve isn’t a weakness, and my story is not over. ‘Almost Happiness’ reminds me we do not have to be everything all at once – we don’t have to bottle up the darkness and strike false smiles like matches because:

‘Almost happiness is better

than none.’

This anthology was a long time coming (ten years) and yet I’m glad because in it Gagnier displays his heart for all to see and touch, and in this act of catharsis gives you the courage to do the same. To live unashamedly in the dark and in the light.

Swear To Me is available on Amazon.com, Amazon.com.uk, and Book Depository


Kristiana Reed day dreams, people watches in coffee shops, teaches English and writes. She is a curator on Blood into Ink, a collective member of The Whisper and the Roar & Sudden Denouement, and blogs at My Screaming Twenties. She is 24 and is enjoying the journey which is finding her voice.

Indie Blu(e) Welcomes CANDICE LOUISA DAQUIN

candice daquin

Daquin’s own life, traveling from her native France, via England, Canada and finally the US, has brought a myriad of experiences that others have often been able to tap into via her writing. A collection of lives really, and with this, she tries to weave greater meaning through poetry and touch those who experience similar questions, doubts, and hopes. Surely this is what writing attempts in its very human form?

Daquin’s themes include feminism in its complex, everyday form, and the experience of being a woman, a gay woman, a bi-racial woman, a bi-cultural woman and finally, a Jewish woman of Egyptian extraction (Mizrahi) and how this sits with the world’s current revolt between the dominant faiths.

“I have been told from readers of my published and non-published works that reading poetry which resonates with your emotions, helps you see things clearer, assists in remembering what really matters and enables you to reflect on forgotten emotions or at least, locate them.  For this and many reasons, poetry has a deep place in my psyche and I come back to it time and again, considering its importance in our increasingly busy world. When you read a poem that stays with you, it’s much the same as a moment, etched in memory. To be able to generate moments of worth, be they uplifting, contemplative or even sad, is the goal of most writers.”

Daquin has written for Rattle, Northern Poetry Review and South Florida Review among others, both as reviewer and poet.

Collections:

A jar for the jarring (2014)

The bright day has gone child, and you are in for the dark (2015)

Illusions of existing (2016)

Sit in fever (2016)

Pinch the lock (2017)


Jar for the Jarring large

Candice Louisa Daquin’s first book of poetry began her journey into the psyche and transformation of women from girl to adulthood. Her revelations about this process, through pain, healing, insight, love and loss, are both truths and metaphors many can relate to and have been expressed in the beautiful language of a poet, to illustrate our shared experience of life, both humorous, frightening, puzzling and tragic, but ultimately redemptive through the power of love. A jar for the jarring is the first in a series of seven books examining what it is to exist and experience life. This is the Second Edition.

Available on Amazon.com


Book 2 large

Candice Daquin’s second collection of poetry was written after her move to the American Southwest and reflects much of the Southwestern & Hispanic influence she has experienced since. Themes include identity, personhood, being female and passion. Her writing is wide-arcing and challenging, bringing metaphor and symbolism into daily existence through at times, phantasmagorical and dreamlike concepts of existence.

Available on Amazon.com


 

Book 3 large

In her third collection of poetry; Illusions of Existing, Candice Daquin tackles the ever-present questions of mortality, age, passion, rejection, fear, and transformation. Through our experience of existing we learn what is real, what is fragmentary and how nothing is ever certain, especially through the lens of a creative soul. At once humorous and dark, Daquin’s work provides an insight into the modern woman’s emotional landscape and her perspective of what it means to exist and not exist.

Available on Amazon.com


Sit in Fever Large

The journey of personal growth comes in stages throughout life. In her fourth book of poetry, Daquin examines where she is having tackled earlier stages and found herself to be in a place of increased honesty and reconciliation. Through a blending of narrative, exclamation, humor, and healing, she shines a light on the emotional dynamics of existing in a complex world with the vivid imagery of the American Southwest as her backdrop.

Available on Amazon.com


five

“Poet Candice Daquin uses carefully culled words to take her readers from the comfort of their couch to the bruised and bleeding psyche of the wounded heart. Her nomadic early years, sheltered by deep-thinking and creative European grandparents, set her on a course of discovery, creativity, and artistry. She has a special understanding of and connection with the disenfranchised, the abused, the castaways of society. Quite possibly her extensive work in Psychotherapy honed her laser focus on what lies beneath the surface of things, the surface of people, the surface of behavior. A background in dance informs the graceful flow, the cadence of her language.” L. Paul

Available on Amazon.com