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Reading The Accounts Of Suffering

Steven Bruce Author Interview

White Knuckle shares your experiences with grief, loss and abandonment through impassioned and raw poetry. Why was this an important collection for you to publish?

Initially, I never intended to publish White Knuckle. The manuscript came as a result of the final dissertation for my Master’s Degree. It wasn’t until I decided to start a small press that some of the poems saw the light of day. I printed ten of them in a handmade chapbook and placed copies in my local bookstores. After that, I thought no more of it.

A few months later, I was sitting in a café in Warsaw when I received a heartfelt email from a girl who’d read my work. She said she’d suffered similar experiences and found solace in knowing that she wasn’t alone.

That’s when I knew the full collection was worth publishing. And since its release, I’ve received a lot of similar emails and messages.

I believe that by reading the accounts of suffering, we get a deeper understanding of ourselves and others.

My favorite poem from the collection is Black Dog. Do you have a favorite poem from the book?

I wouldn’t say that I have a favourite. However, one that sticks out for me is Sleep. Although, I’m not quite sure why. The piece originally contained over fifty places where I’d slept. But for brevity’s sake, I cut it down to fourteen.

And if I may offer a parenthesis to your favourite poem in the collection, the black dog is a metaphor for depression.

I first discovered the term when reading about Winston Churchill, but it also has interesting roots in classical mythology and medieval folklore.

What inspires you to write poetry?

On a personal level, poetry is paramount for meditation and catharsis. It’s my preferred method of coping and analyzing the internal, an exercise of introspection.

To speak broadly, I find inspiration in paintings, people, landscapes, music, literature, the follies and triumphs of society.

If you care to look, poetry is everywhere.

What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your book?

To answer that, I’d like to quote one of my favourite authors:

Trust time; it usually provides a sweet way out of many bitter challenges.” – Miguel de Cervantes.

Author Links: Website | Goodreads | LinkedIn

White Knuckle is a concise exposé of a severe childhood experience.

Bruce’s debut poetry collection, an autobiographical report on the reality of life in a poverty-stricken, drug and violence-fuelled environment, is a gut-wrenching composition of grief, loss, and abandonment at an early age.

This powerful book is brutal, tragic, and moving: an essential read.

White Knuckle

A collection of poetry that unearths the heartache and tragedies of child abuse. Steven Bruce has written a book about his experiences as a child afflicted by parental abuse and the abuse of the foster system. This collection of poems goes over several hard-hitting topics like addiction and substance abuse, domestic violence, verbal abuse and growing up homeless. White Knuckle is a heart-wrenching read for those who don’t see this pain every day and, hopefully, a comfort to those who are fighting similar demons; know that you’re not alone.

Bruce’s poems are very direct and leave little to the imagination. They are eloquently written. So, as someone who has had a happy childhood, it’s hard to imagine how anyone could be so inhumane to a child. I will confess I choked up several times reading about the abuse and pain Bruce went through. Some of the poems had me wondering if they relate to any myths or legends like Black Dog. There are folklore stories about demonic black dogs wandering cemeteries in search of lost souls to eat or guide to the afterlife/drag to hell. There is another story I found while looking up the myths about black dogs –newly created cemeteries would replace the first resident with a deceased black dog to save the person’s soul from going to hell. I’m not sure I see the reason for the last one, but Bruce’s poems, like this one, give a person pause to reflect on a deeper meaning.

There is no wrong way to write a poem as long as it has meaning to the poet. Readers will be pondering the meaning of some of the poems, like Sand and Moonlight, Street Gum and Avocado. There is a deeper meaning to these poems that is elusive yet potent.

White Knuckle is an intense and gritty collection of rousing poetry. I personally try to avoid these extremely emotional and heart-wrenching topics based solely on the fact I try to avoid crying but this is one book that I would definitely read again.

Pages: 102 | ASIN: B08HY35T2W

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