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Semantics by Cara Jean Shannon | The Annual 2018

‘Semantics’ is a poem written by Cara Jean Shannon who also goes by @cjshannonwrites, and it is included in the third section of The Annual 2018, titled ‘The Significance of Significants. As you read through this evocative and clever play on words, we hope that your definition of relational labels will be challenged. What is the difference between friend and family? Does one even exist, or are they just titles we give to others to make ourselves feel some sense of comfort and boundaries? The significance of Cara’s last line is especially profound, as well, because as she points out, while friend and family is often a label we choose to bestow on others, it is so easy to forget, that others may bestow similar titles on us. When they do, does that change the way we relate? Does our love for that person change in any way? What do you think? We are so…

From the Beginning by Lisha Murphy | The Annual 2018

‘From the Beginning’ is a poem written by Lisha Murphy (of @lisha_pen_murphy) for the 2018 edition of The Annual, and to call it a poem of desperation may be a little confusing at first, but open your heart to tho pure, unbridled love so evident in her words, and we think you’ll find that no other words could better describe it. This is a poem from one person to another, and while their history is unclear, it’s apparent that the subject – let’s call her “Lisha” – wants nothing more than to make sure that the object of her affection knows that he/she is loved. Tragically, it seems that they’ve been hurt so many times in so many ways, that the words, “I love you” would only fall on deaf ears. It’s a sad, albeit genuine, retelling of an experience many of us have had the misfortune of suffering, but thankfully,…

Untitled by Jenna Hickman | The Annual 2018

Jenna Hickman, or @jhickman12345 to you Instagrammers, is our featured poet today whose work has been published in the 2018 edition of The Annual. Her untitled and heartbreaking poem is included in the fourth section of our book, titled ‘Writing to Heal,’ because what else are we trying to do by forgetting but find peace? Jenna’s poem is rife with personal anguish, and that’s a fact to which many of us, as writers, can relate. After all, what group of people is more in touch with the scope of human emotion than poets? Without our words and without our craft, we shudder to think what role emotion would play in our day-to-day lives. So many of us write as a means of processing what we think and feel, but in doing so and sharing that with the world, we also create bridges between those emotions and the people who read about…

Sashay by Sara Kelly | The Annual 2018

This selection from 2018’s edition of The Annual probably wasn’t intended to be a poem for the holidays, but isn’t that part of the beauty of poetry? That we can apply its many messages to different contexts and situations in life regardless of the time of year? Sara Kelly, whose work can be found at @sara_kelly_poetry on Instagram, is trying to remind us through this beautiful and heartstring-tugging piece, that there’s an entire generation (or two, even!) of people whose lives and experiences so often go ignored, and believe it or not, “old” has got nothing to do with it! Many of our elders are still wonderfully and inspirationally young at heart, and there is so much good that can come from a single conversation with them. Many of us spend time with grandparents, aunts, uncles, and more during the holidays, so what better opportunity could there be than that which…

Angel Wings by Emma Blas | The Annual 2018

It’s not exactly a holiday poem, but the message contained in this poem from Emma Blas, also known as @phoenixrisespoetry, transcends the holidays, and we’re proud to have it included in this year’s edition of The Annual. ‘Angel Wings’ is the last poem of both section five, titled “Spreading Fire,” as well as the entire book, and for what we believe to be an obvious reason: hope. If all the poetry included in The Annual represents the deep cuts, the misfired words, the half-smiles, and the unbearable burns, then knowing that at the end, our wings are still there to open and take us to new places or better places or simply other places… well, that should be all you need to know that you always have hope. Concerning the holidays, too, we understand that this season doesn’t necessarily hold a warm place in everyone’s heart. For many, this is actually…

Pocket Love by Claire Bunnik | The Annual 2018

To say that Claire Bunnik, also known as @armadaclairewriting, is a fountain of words and poetry would be a massive understatement, because she’s much more on par with the force and natural grandeur of a poetic geyser! Of all the submissions we received for The Annual, Claire was the only poet to submit more than 20 unique pieces, four of which are included in this year’s anthology. Rest assured, though: you will be seeing much more of her beautiful writing in future publications. 😉 Pocket Love is included in the third section of this year’s anthology, titled ‘The Significance of Significants,’ because it’s such a personal and tragic account of an experience with relationships. Reading poetry like this would rarely be described as “a treat,” but that doesn’t mean these works are any less important. The beauty of poetry is that it can take the most difficult subjects – subjects…

Untitled by Scott-Patrick Mitchell | The Annual 2018

Scott-Patrick Mitchell, perhaps better know as @spmpoet, is a brilliant poet whose work has been featured in writing communities all over social media including Her Heart Poetry, but today we are proud to announce, that his is one of the 38 voices represented in this year’s edition of The Annual. Whether written word or spoken, it doesn’t seem as though there’s any subject Scott-Patrick can’t tackle, but far and away, his perspectives on love and relationships are what sets his work apart from the crowd. It should come as no surprise, then, that this poem is included in the second section of The Annual, titled, ‘The Love We Accept’ which focuses specifically on love in its many (and often unhealthy) forms. Scott-Patrick’s untitled poem is nothing short of magical and possibly best described as a rush of cold, albeit refreshing, water in the form of a lover’s kiss. As you…

These Stones Were Not Placed Between Us by Kathy Hamidovic | The Annual 2018

Kathy Hamidovic is a Canadian author whose writing and supportive spirit have been part of the Her Heart Poetry community since its formation, and we are so proud both to have her in our little family and to have this wonderful poem included in this year’s edition of The Annual. These Stones Were Not Placed Between Us is among a very select group of poems included in this year’s anthology that rhymes, and it is the only poem that utilizes a free-verse structure – which is to say, a lack of any consistent structure. Placing Kathy’s poem was a difficult task, to say the least, because thanks to its ambiguous interpretation, it could’ve fallen into a number of different categories. In the end, though, we decided to include it in the first section of the anthology, titled ‘Who I Am,’ because she speaks with such confidence to values she obviously…

Untitled by Georgia May | The Annual 2018

If you go to Georgia May’s Instagram page, @_gxrge, you’d never know a poetess of such talent exists behind the various pictures of food, shoes, fruit, and landscape photos, but then again, maybe that’s just one more reason it’s so important to not judge a book by its cover. 😉 Georgia’s untitled poem is part of the second section of The Annual, titled ‘The Love We Accept,’ because it is the perfect representation of the love so many of us settle for even though it’s not always the love we really want, need, or deserve. Georgia’s is just one of 11 other poems that follow that same model, too, which – at least in our minds – demonstrates that love has changed very little in the past millennium even if we have. Do you know what it’s like to desire something so passionately, that no matter how twisted or distorted…

Danger by Reese Leyva | The Annual 2018

The Annual is a yearly anthology published by Her Heart Poetry that showcases some of the best and brightest poets the world has to offer, and @reese.leyva has always been among their ranks. Her poem, Danger, is included in the third section of this year’s edition, titled ‘The Significance of Significants,’ which highlights the many facets of relationships. Sadly, not all relationships are healthy, but as Reese shows through her direct style, an unhealthy relationship only lasts as long as we let them. Reese is well-known for her voice of female and minority empowerment, and Danger is an incredible example of her self-sufficiency and intolerance of abuse in any form. After you’ve read it in your mind, make sure to read it aloud, as well, because these words crave volume! Thank you so much, Reese, for sharing your strength with us both today and through The Annual. We are over the moon…