About 18 months ago I was sitting at the reference desk of my library. I was working on something, probably important, when a young woman approached me asking for something quite mundane. A room booking of all things. She needed a few in fact, and when I asked the reason for her booking, she told me it was for a rehearsal. For a play. That she had written.
Now not one to ignore the potential rising of a great star, something clicked in me. Here was a young woman in our community, using her local library to rehearse for a play that she had created. The whole situation had light bulbs above it and smelled of an early success story. This could not be ignored. This person, young, black, strong, talented, needed an outlet for her gift.
Thus, prompted the library to host a preview of the play Reset by Joya Polk. Something I spoke about HERE and which proved to be an amazing experience for us both, and something that our community came out to support.
So, it is no surprise today that I am writing here to tell you, the happy reader, that Joya Polk is back. This time with her self-published new work She Speaks.
It looks like this:
And you can pick up a copy at Amazon, right HERE!
She Speaks is a poetic anthology which follows a year of Joya’s life as she comes to terms with a multitude of past struggles, love, loss, illness, pain and also triumph. The poetry is succinct, beautiful, poignant and confronting. This is not a walk in the park on clear summer’s day, but rather a hike in a thunderstorm, as Polk takes her reader through a multitude of circumstances, beautifully constructing her language to articulate her rise above darkness.
That moment before the doorbell,
The second before the tears,
The breath before the scream,
Maybe I’ll try again.
Maybe I’ll die without warning this time.
And maybe you won’t care wither way.
The anthology wastes no time. This is not Yeats or Robert Frost or even Vonnegut, with their twisty words, but rather a very relevant and very timely tale of a young person navigating new courses in her life and deciding where to draw the line in the proverbial sand.
The poetry itself is a little clunky at times, veering on the cliché of broken heart syndrome which aged poets are all too aware of and all too familiar with. There is also definitely the voice of youth behind the writing here. Young adult audiences will definitely identify with many of the topics covered and will easily relate. No doubt this is the first of many works that Polk will produce and if this is the caliber of writing for her first self-published work, there is no telling what will happen next.
Overall, it really pleases me to be able to offer a review of a writer / director that has huge future potential. This is the beginning of a career of a very successful and inspirational poet / novelist / film writer / director / producer and Joya Polk definitely has a clear voice in speaking for young people of color, as well as those who might be suffering in the midst of mental illness and relationship challenges.
This is an artist to look out for.
Please join me in supporting Polk- I hope that this is one of many reviews that I am able to give on her work and will be looking out for her next enterprise.