Local poet opens up about 'heartbreaking' dark world

Jess Fiebig. Photo: Supplied to RNZ by publisher
Jess Fiebig. Photo: Supplied to RNZ by publisher
A Christchurch poet who's been to hell and back has written candidly about her experiences in her debut collection - My Honest Poem.

Writer, educator and performer Jess Fiebig reflects on family and domestic violence in the poem, as well as issues of abandonment, anxiety, sex, love and dislocation.

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The advanced copy of my debut poetry collection, My Honest Poem, has arrived! Thank you @aucklanduniversitypress 💗 It’s totally surreal to be holding this book, created from what was once a pile of poems on my bedroom floor. My Honest Poem is about trauma, love, addiction, family violence, hope and madness. Preorders available now - link in my bio. 💫🌷📝
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. #poetrycommunity #poetry #poem #poetryofig #bookstagram #writer #aucklanduniversitypress #writerly #nzbookshops #readnz #writerlife #nzbookstagram #bookish #booklover #debutpoetrycollection #nzwriter #nzpoet #author #book #page #poetryporn #instapoet #poetryofinstagram #poetrylovers #poemsaboutlove #poemsociety #poemsdaily #poetryisnotdead #poetrynz #nzpoet #myhonestpoem

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The collection is often graphic and heartbreaking - with listeners advised that some of the details might be upsetting or trigger memories for some people. 

But Fiebig told RNZ's Lynn Freeman it's also a survivor's story. Listen here.

The collection follows recovery from a life fractured by family violence and addiction, and has been described as "a coming-of-age story of a young New Zealand woman rebuilding strength and hope in the spaces left by trauma".

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I am beyond happy to announce my first book, My Honest Poem, will be published in July 2020 by Auckland University Press. @gail_ingram_poet has said this about my collection; ‘From abusive relationships and “dislocation" to sensuality and "aching sweetness", My Honest Poem is a coming-of-age story about finding gentleness and strength through violence in family and relationships. Fiebig's attention to the sensuality of the everyday is exquisite — "I remember ... / the wet blue slicks of their teeth / from two casks of Velluto Rosso". But the real strength of these poems is in their redemptive power, finding hope in the same places it was lost — in family and in poetry, and in the acceptance of self. I would recommend My Honest Poem to lovers and lovers of poetry everywhere.’ 🌷✏️
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. #poetrycommunity #poetry #poem #poetryofig #bookstagram #instagood #beautiful #vsco #vscofilter #picoftheday #igdaily #bestoftheday #photooftheday #instadaily #love #writer #author #book #page #poetryporn #instapoet #poetryofinstagram #poetrylovers #poemsaboutlove #poemsociety #poemsdaily #poetryisnotdead #poetrynz #nzpoet #aucklanduniversitypress

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My Honest Poem is published by Auckland University Press.

If this story has given rise to to any thoughts or feelings you feel you need to discuss further, phone Healthline on 0800 6111 16.

An extract from My Honest Poem:

at six, my mother’s boyfriend
forced his fat hairy hand
inside my heart-shaped face
for eating too many Fruit Bursts

we bought a tube of them at BP
wrapped individually in pastel wax papers
which littered the backseat
like sweet-smelling confetti

his hand tasted
of salt
a metallic tang of rust
the hot edge of petrol
from the pump still lingering
on his fingers

Photo: Supplied by publisher
Photo: Supplied by publisher
DO YOU NEED HELP?
If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584
• It's Not Ok: Information line 0800 456 450 www.areyouok.org.nz

 

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