Lee-Ann Liles (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
About thirty years after writing it, Lee-Ann Liles published her first collection of poetry, This is what we call home.
Although the editors showed interest at first, her father thought that at 18 she was too young.
Ms. Liles started working on other projects, but the collection stuck in her mind. The hard copy she produced on her Brother typewriter while in high school was moved to a floppy disk and then to zip and flash drives.
“I have written several books since, but this was the first to be published,” said Ms. Liles, librarian at Bermuda College. “He was a subsidized publisher and [we would have] had to pay a few thousand to do it. I had just graduated from high school and [my father] was like, we’ll do that later. So I guess I sat on it because poetry isn’t really my thing. I switched to writing actual prose. “
Other than a few poems about her son, the content hasn’t changed since she wrote it in high school.
“Since then, I write and publish regularly; I publish poetry and creative non-fiction with small presses in the US, UK, Canada and Bermuda, ”she said. “It is the passion of my life, requiring hundreds of rejection letters in order to perfect my art.”
The book takes its title from a poem that Ms. Liles presented to the Georgia State Poetry Competition in 1991 and published in the Henderson High School Poetry Journal in the same year.
“Somewhere in high school I just started writing. I was more into art and I did a lot of painting and stuff like that – something creative – and I kind of moved into it. can’t even say how it happened. “
What she remembers are the pieces of paper she and her friends passed out during chemistry class, each person adding a line to create a poem.
“This is how we wrote poetry in class – while the teacher was teaching chemistry of course. But this is the first time I can remember really starting to write. I was going through a lot at the school. time so I started to write everything down.
“I was writing poetry but I realized it was getting longer and deeper. And then one day I looked at it and it wasn’t poetry anymore, it was real prose.”
My field, a poem by Lee-Ann Liles
This is what we call home is his third book. Ms. Liles has also blogged, written academic essays, and published on Ebsco, “the leading provider of research databases, e-journals, magazine subscriptions, e-books, and discovery services for academic libraries.” .
“So I did a little bit of everything. I don’t know why I just came back from high school to my little baby. It’s just something I’ve always had in my hand. For some reason I just came from. preserved [it] because it’s because I wanted to publish it later. “
She’s decided to do it now to celebrate the MFA in Creative Non-Fiction Writing that she graduated from Bay Path University in May.
“For some reason, I’ve done everything backwards in life. I’m a librarian, so I was doing cataloging and classification before I was a real librarian with papers – and the same with my writing. I had two books written before doing my MFA. “
Homepage is a collection of 64 poems. The title piece is based on the home of a childhood friend.
“All of us kids when we were playing in the neighborhood back then. His house was very humble and for some reason I wrote about it.”
Everyone she shared the poem with thought it was incredibly “deep for a 15-year-old.”
“This is how the title of the book and the title of the poem came out. It was things that people hadn’t written about at the time. I didn’t think about it, but people fell apart. mad at me when i published books [with covers that didn’t have pretty pictures of] Bermuda. I don’t write like that. I write from a very realistic point of view and if you see the covers of my books they don’t cover dark topics, but it’s not all a bed of roses.
“I think I’m writing about myself and my story, [sometimes making] my family mad at me. “
There is a poem about her grandmothers and, although she cannot remember that it was a central theme, “a lot of things based on faith”.
“There are poems about being grounded, staying grounded; poems about fears – I have this spider thing. They are very deep in the subject for a high school student.
“There are a lot of similar topics, just a flow of consciousness, a narrative, things that I was going through; a lot of questions about life and a lot of things going on around me with my peers and stuff.”
She continued, “I don’t believe in writing about love. I don’t like subjects that have been overdone. So I haven’t written about relationships and things and I really took it. hindsight from my son. Some things weren’t good. -limited, so I only really moved recently. “
Be there, a poem by Lee-Ann Liles
The next one is Hunger, a book that introduces Ms. Lile’s writing process; essays on how I write, where I write, inspiration, that sort of thing.
She also progressed on My body the battlefield, which made up his master’s thesis in fine arts.
“These are the things that people are facing now – autoimmune diseases, mental illnesses, anxiety, depression, all that,” she said. “And so for my thesis, I decided to do it on body testing because I have an autoimmune disease and so it’s a big part of my life now.
“This is the subject of my thesis and, surprisingly, a lot of people in my [master’s] program have one condition of all kinds or more, a variety of conditions together. So I know that people are going through this and that is why it was important to do my thesis on this subject. “
Navigating through the coronavirus pandemic has been a challenge.
“I get my boosters and all my shots and try to stay away from people – it’s just exhausting. I can get a lung infection very quickly, so it’s very scary for me. I have to protect myself. “
This is what we call home is available at Bermuda College and other bookstores