You are only good as your word.
And Kakanui author Linda Collins’ words are good.
So good, Ms Collins has been invited to be a guest writer at the prestigious Auckland Writers’ Festival this weekend.
She is speaking alongside poet and general practitioner Glenn Colquhoun who penned Letters to Young People, a collection of poetry addressed to the young people he cared for as a doctor.
At the festival, they will speak about improving the lives of young people by talking about and reading sections of their work.
Ms Collins will read from her new book of poetry, Sign Language for the Death of Reason. The collection is a continuation of her memoir, Loss Adjustment, about her 17-year-old daughter, Victoria, who committed suicide in 2014.
When Victoria died, life with a logical progression was blown out the window, Ms Collins said.
“I realised I had no control over life, and Covid has shown us how we don’t have as much control over our tightly lived lives as we thought.”
Loss Adjustment could keep doing the good work of raising awareness, but she hoped speaking at the festival would offer another opportunity to open up the discussion and build empathy towards what young people were going through.
At present, Ms Collins is working towards a master’s degree in poetry through the University of East Anglia in the United Kingdom.
Poetry could explain things in a way that other forms of writing could not, she said.
“It can express emotional truths without directly explaining things.
“It has its own music for the soul.”
But it was also something people often shied away from.
“I think when [people] were at school they were shown poetry that was technical and complicated, and they felt they weren’t invited to the party.
“And that it’s got this mysterious element that’s not meant for them.”
Kakanui featured in some of her poetry, as did snippets from Victoria’s diary, and references to some of her daughter’s favourite things.
Sign Language for the Death of Reason is available at Timaru’s Bay Hill Books.
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