Poetry Book Club – Eliana Gray: Eager to Break


I am here with Eliana Gray to talk
about her new book eager to break Eliana can you tell us about your book
Kia ora, hi we’re here in Otepoti Dunedin and I’m sitting on my
front step with my lovely broken shoe rack and the inside of my house to talk
about this eager to break the first collection of poetry that I have ever
written and I guess in terms of why I wrote it I didn’t really intend to write
it it was never in my mind to set out to write a collection of poetry poetry was
just something that I found was really helpful in my life as it means of
expressing myself and processing experiences that had happened to me and
I’m a survivor of sexual abuse and that’s something that’s been very
prevalent in my life in terms of things that I’ve had to process and the
attendant mental health issues that have resulted from that and during
the period of my life when I was sort of starting to I guess really grapple with
those issues I was doing a writing course run by Emma Neil at the
University of Otago that was creative writing poetry and it was amazing and it
really sort of reopened the world of written expression to me that I’d kind
of closed myself off from when I was younger and that just sort of meant that
I ended up writing a lot because I was going through all of this stuff and that
meant that I ended up with a lot of poems and then one day someone sent me
the link to enter the competition to be published by girls on key which I
entered and then this resulted and now I’ve got this whole book with my name on the
spine and everything um but I guess in terms of why there was no why at the
time but now I think because the book is so much a chronicle of my experiences
healing from sexual trauma and abuse and PTSD and grief and kind of a lot of very
difficult things something that I know that writing
the book has done for me and that maybe it hopefully can I will do for other
people is show that these are things that other people also want to talk
about as well and experiences that they wanna process and you know
can open up conversations with either yourself or other people about things
that I feel like we’re really told that we’re not supposed to talk about and I
think that we you should talk about them because I’m not ashamed of being a
survivor I’m actually incredibly proud of my resilience and the fact that I’ve
been able to translate my experiences into a form that other people can
understand and also take different things from I think that’s something
else that’s important about the book like it’s not you know just in just in
in the same way that I’m not just a survivor of sexual abuse like the book
isn’t just a chronicle of that like and I think that’s something that’s really
important about the dialogue around survivors is that you know we’re not
defined by you know certain experiences that have happened to us and I think
sometimes Society can treat people like that like they are and so yeah just like
that the book contains multitudes just like every person. What is with the eggs?So the eggs… really actually only appears in the book in one poem I think um and not even
in a particularly meaningful way we’re really sort of resulted afterwards with
the title eager to break and what that sort of signifies to me is the way that
I was living and thinking about my life during the time that I was writing this
book and so to meet you get to break sort of symbolizes the way that I was
always seeking catharsis because because I didn’t know how to name my experiences
yet and I didn’t have a very big toolkit or vocabulary with which to kind of talk
about what or even talk about to myself what had happened to me and what I was
going through that would mean that I was never really able to say to other people
that something was wrong the way that I needed help unless something was like
really wrong and I was you know like a full-on like breakdown
and someone who’s always sort of in that way like eager to break because those
were the times when I could ask for help and when I could actually like admit to
myself that you know I needed help and there was things going on in my life
that I had to process and work through and so I guess really what eager to
break means is that as just eager to heal and to continue the healing journey
that I didn’t even know I was already on and and so that’s just like a little egg
and I just wanted to break my shell and I’m the yolk that’s spilling everywhere. What is next for you? so what’s next for me is
all based around this little person I’m gonna be going on a book tour around
Aotearoa in August and it’s been really exciting and and so one thing
that’s really really important about the tour is that it’s all based around the
idea not only about you know telling people about a eager to break but also
around the idea of making poetry as accessible to as many people as possible
and because I know that a lot of my peers sometimes find poetry readings or
environments and where poetry exists kind of intimidating or think that you
know it’s kind of very all serious and really literary so one of the ways I’m
trying to I guess shift that perception of it is by incorporating music into
every one of the gigs so there will be bands as well so it’s like kind of half
gig have poetry reading just they’re gonna be like fun parties yeah it’s all
around yeah it’s this book so the first date is in Otepoti Dunedin on
August 22nd the day before National Poetry Day and it’s gonna be in the
gallery with lots of amazing local poets reading with a great musical guest and
then we’ve got August 25th up in Ponoke and meanwhile and then we’ll be
up in Tamaki Makaurau or Auckland on August 30th at strange Haven and if you
want to find out more information about it there’s lots of really amazing poets
reading it’s been really fun and you can find us on Facebook there will be event
listings if you want to connect with me just google my name that’s Eliana Gray E.L.I.A.N.A
I’m pretty easy to find and if you want to find out more
about this little guy here you can go to the girls on key website www.girlsonkey.com
and that’s where you can buy it if you want you can look at a really cool
trailer that my friend made you can just stare at it longingly as i sometimes
do thank you very much for having me and ka kete.

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