Gracie Hart Brooks Editor
Poetry and writing have long been passions of Etlan resident Kim Ports Parsons.
Parsons recently released a collection of her poems, The Mayapple Forest.” The collection explores themes of love and loss, grief and acceptance, pain and forgiveness. Like many, Parsons knows a little about all of those themes. She learned her love of poetry from her mother who was herself a writer and lover of language. Parsons said her mother raised four children, volunteered, cooked meals and kept the house, all the while occasionally writing poems. Parsons’ mother kept her daughter’s first poem, which Parsons had penned in second grade, as well as a collection of Parsons’ publications and manuscripts. In her thirties, Parsons quit writing in favor of more steady and reliable jobs. She would pick it up against when inspiration struck, often caused by the emotion of love or loss. As before, her mother encouraged her. Parsons’ mother passed away several years ago, but is still an inspiration and support in her writing.
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“The door eased open in the months after her passing and now, I am writing again,” Parsons wrote in “The Blue Nib.” “I am writing often, sharing with the poetic community, sending poems out. I am often writing of her, the generous, beautiful, funny and charming being she was, my hero, my teacher, my friend. Thank you, Mama, for teaching me how to love words.”
In addition to its themes, “The Mayapple Forest” features natural imagery. Its cover art is taken by permission from “Mayapples,” a painting by Rappahannock County resident Frances Coates.
“The Mayapple Forest” marks Parsons’ debut collection, but her work has appeared in numerous journals and anthologies including “Poetry Ireland Review” and “December.” She has read her work in person and online at many venues. Parsons spent 30 years in education as both a teacher and a school librarian. She enjoys reading, writing, sharing a love of poetry, working in the garden and walking local trails. She volunteers for Cultivating Voices Live Poetry, an international, intergenerational, intersectional poetry organization.
On Saturday, Jan. 21 at 4 pm, Parsons will read poems from “The Mayapple Forest” as part of a benefit at Blue Quartz Winery and Shotwell Run Brewery. The event will feature live Celtic music and book signings. Proceeds from book sales and 10% of beverage sales will be donated to the Madison County Education Foundation.
Parsons’ book is available via Amazon, Terrapin Books, Barnes and Noble and bookshop.org.