Usually when I read a poem, I end up re-reading each line five or six times, I get frustrated and sometimes even give up. But reading, Anna Quon's Mental Illness Poems, I found I was a re-reading each line for a very different reason. I found the imagery so vivid and the metaphors so powerful; I wanted to sound the words in my imagination, picture them, hear them once again and try to understand Anna's creativity, her own personal meaning.
Anna began writing the collection in 2009 and just published the series in zine form this past summer. The poems seem to describe her own experience with mental illness, and perhaps those of others, her times of instability, her time in the hospital and also hopeful glimpses of recovery and balance.
"Red Shoes" and "Sadness" are my favourites. The former, how I interpreted is, describes a struggle to embrace one's own identity; the latter describes how times of anguish "hug you".
I am very tempted to include snippets of the many beautiful phrases Anna uses, but I think you need to read the poems for yourself. Anna Quon will be at the Seaport Market on Saturdays selling Mental Illness Poems.