Words have the power to inspire and heal. Poetry often has an especially transformative effect on the reader. An example is the poetry collection titled Versions of the Self, by Christy Birmingham. In the preface, Ms. Birmingham writes, "I encourage readers to find brand new ways of seeing their surroundings, in the hopes that it makes the colors that surround them shine a little brighter."
Versions of the Self is divided into sections -- or "selves" -- of poems that explore relationships, growth and the poet's perception of the world around her. For example, the book starts with the section "The Self: I." In one of the section's poems, "Bottom of a Waterway," resiliency of the spirit is reflected in these lines:
"And, in turn, through our meeting of
Weeds, water and whimsy,
I tell my self that it is okay to start at the bottom -
Other sections in this poetry collection include "I, Uncertain," "I, You, and Effects," "Us, In Friendship," and "The Future Selves." Within each section, each poem shares wisdom from the poet's personal journey. These lines from "See My Sense of Self" remind us that we can rely on our own wisdom:
"Here is my sense of self,
Here I am strong and focused,
Putting my needs first.
I realize that it is a proud moment."
I thoroughly enjoyed this delightful volume of poetry, and look forward to returning to its pages in the future. I highly recommend Versions of the Self to anyone who loves words that uplift and encourage.