A poet explores her inspirations and creative growth in this debut collection.
The author explores how poets get their start in this autobiographical set of poems and commentary. Alexander recognizes that inspirations and influences come from a variety of sources, and she divides the book up into eight sections, each exploring a different angle in her development as a poet. Each section starts with a brief introduction explaining the conditions under which each poem was written, giving the reader enough information to understand her inspirations. The author shows how her experiences translate directly into her verse, and how her style has developed. Alexander highlights a wide range of poems, from a study of Abraham Lincoln which she wrote as a college sophomore to verse about her hobbies during her early college years and two poems about significant loves, among other selections. Religion is a major theme; in “Self-Acceptance,” she writes, “What is self-acceptance? / Contentment with the way things are. / The absence of inner conflict and bitterness toward others. / ‘Being myself,’ not trying to put on a façade. / Submission to authority, without interference.” The poem shows how Alexander’s religious journey paralleled her discovery of herself as a poet, and she pinpoints the significant events that led to these discoveries. Readers may find themselves distracted by the numerous typefaces used throughout the text, as some of them are difficult to read; Alexander’s poetry can stand on its own without such embellishment.
A strong collection of poems, and an engaging chronicle of a writer’s beginnings.