Mindwell Poetry’s The Poet Speaks series featuring Kat Heatherington was all but your average poetry reading. Though it’s been a while since I’ve indulged in a live in-person poetry reading, the zoom format invites a different kind of intimacy, whether comfortable or a little too personal. But in the words of host Zach Kluckman, Mindwell Poetry is a space for creatives to celebrate recovery, resilience and to destroy stigma in a community setting; and that is exactly what Friday nights reading delivered on. We began with a discussion about how everyone has been coping with the “Mad Max movie come true” that is our reality, and about the importance of vulnerability and storytelling in times like these. This discussion led us into the open mic portion of the night, where two main themes formed rather naturally through the voices of our open mic poets: rage and motherhood. Our poets helped us imagine how rage and the celebration of motherhood shape our perception of our current reality, and how in some cases the two are inseparable. We explored the silent thoughts and fears of mothers, the desire to feel, self-destruction, machismo, and I.C.E detainment centers among other themes. Between each poem, we were invited to share our feelings and thoughts, which ended up feeling more like a chat with old friends than anything.
After discussing rage and motherhood, Kat Heatherington introduced a more somber tone to the night with readings from her recent book The Heart is a Muscle. Throughout Heatherington’s divulgence into topics of loneliness, community living, reflection on family, friendship, and love, and class struggle, I noticed one theme in particular that stuck out: connectivity to nature. Heatherington defines her poetry as ‘stunning transitional moments’, and rightfully so. Not only does she take us through scenes of serene flowers, the harvesting of herbs and crops, and the toils of her childhood home in the rugged desert, but she also entices us to envision what it means to explore ourselves in relation to the physical world around us. Kat brought tears to our eyes as she closed with The Bones of this Land, a poem about her relationship to her father and returning to her childhood home in the wake of his passing. Holding the full attention of the virtual room, she left us to ponder a phenomenon I believe to be quite universal to us all, “nothing had changed except us, everything had changed except us”.
If you are interested in watching Friday nights Mindwell Poetry reading, head over to https://www.facebook.com/mindwellpoetry/videos/820621608689335/
And if you’re interested in checking out The Heart is a Muscle and Kat Heatherington’s other publications, you can find them on Amazon or at https://harvestmoonbooks.com/?category=Poetry
Review contributed by Amanda Rose Garcia.
Amanda Rose García is a third year student at the University of New Mexico studying Spanish and Chicana/o Studies. She enjoys challenging her perspective on the world and exploring what it means to live, learn, and love through her passions of reading, writing, poetry, and music.