By Star LaBranche
When I arrived at the Little River Poetry Festival in 2017, I was so mentally blocked, I thought I would never write again. I had just finished my chapbook, Wake Me When It’s Over, which I read at the festival. I thought, this is it. I’ve written everything I can possibly ever write. I was ready to pack up my pens and my Scrivener files and call it a day.
But poetry inspiration doesn’t work like that. If there’s one thing that inspires me a great deal it’s other poets. I love to read poetry in my spare time and see how others have manipulated words and phrases. See how they put together their stanzas and format their couplets. As the festival moved into James’ workshop called, The Sudden Left Turn, I realized I had thrown myself a sudden left turn. I had written a chapbook about my life and where I was emotionally and mentally, but I left out any hint of where I was with romantic relationships. Something I have always struggled with.
Immediately, I started writing. When we got to the Floyd Friend’s Meetinghouse I wrote about 8 poems in one sitting. These 8 poems formed the basis of what became my next chapbook, Racing Toward Red Lights. I digitally published the chapbook later that year.
It just goes to show that you never know when poetry inspiration will strike you. But one thing is for sure; being around creative people can definitely help kickstart your ideas and help you to get them down on paper. I’m looking forward to the Little River Poetry Festival in 2018 for a lot of reasons. But one of them is definitely that I would love to write another chapbook like I did there. When you have a great idea and the writing flows from you, it’s an incredibly powerful experience. Almost like the poems write themselves.
Star LaBranche is a content marketing specialist who will soon reside in Virginia Beach. Bringing new a brand new chapbook, Wake Me When It’s Over, she is the first featured reader of the Little River Poetry Festival. Known for her brutal confessional style of poetry, her latest work questions identity, belonging, and time. With strong themes of mental illness and the reality of living with disability, holding back is something she is not familiar with.
the craving sits deep in my belly
it reaches up with tendrils of incense and teases
the roots take hold in my brain
where there is simply so much to grab onto
it anchors itself there as if it is wanted, as if it belongs
as if someone invited it in
it gives orders from its cushion of cerebrum
“I want this, give me that, bring me this item here”
and when it find something it really likes…
everything else in the world evaporates
moving through life is sleep walking
counting the time until I’m there
the moments are marked as either satisfied or unsatisfied
and no one inside me seems to notice
just how unsatisfied I am most of the time
because there is no focusing on anything other
than whatever it is I want
it’s hands that become claws which strike the earth
as if my passion alone could move the mountains that obstruct me
but what obstructs me is reality and my claws are no match for that
the craving begins deep in my belly
but moves all over my form
it turns me into something else and says I asked it to
one day I will stop reasoning with it
when I figure out I am the hostage, not the negotiator
All photography by Samantha Searles Photography.KEEP READING