Katerina Canyon Announces the Upcoming Release of Her New Poetry Collection ‘Surviving Home’

Award Winning Poet and Best Selling Author Katerina Canyon has announced the upcoming release of her new poetry book Surviving Home. Surviving Home is a reflection on African American heritage and up-bringing, racism, and abuse. It will be released in November 2021, published by Kelsay Books.

Concisely arresting and challenging the beliefs of family and the fantasies of tradition, the poems in Surviving Home show that home is a place that you endure rather than a place where you are nurtured. With unyielding cadence and unparalleled sadness and warmth, Katerina Canyon contemplates the prejudice and limitations buried in a person’s African American heritage: parents that seem to care for you with one hand and slap you with the other, the secret desires to be released from the daily burdens of life, as well as the surprising ways a child chooses to amuse herself. Finding resilience in the unexpected, this collection tears down the delicate facades of family.


Excerpt:

 

Sojourner

 

Truth is where I found you

In the cusp high over ultraviolet waves

Between your time as a slave and mine

Fighting off the results of bondage.

 

You were a woman who accepted no

Excuses for the lack of rights

For our mothers and daughters,

Demanded more for those who followed.

 

I am a woman who accepts that most

White men are fixed on one idea

As to how the world should be,

And it is on me to change their minds

 

Through words, or actions, but never

Through guns or swords, white bonnet

Wrapped on my head as I push

Away racial insults and profanity.

 

You never forgot to say who a woman

Could be, what a Black woman could do

When we eschewed weakness and misogyny.

No one helped you. You just carved the trail.

 

No one helps me either. That’s what I learned

It means to be a Black woman.

To be strong, to plough, to plant, to raise barns.

That’s what you did. I do that metaphorically.

 

Now, I raise children, plough through journals

With my pen. I always remember to never

Pin my tongue for fear of other’s thoughts

This is the way you walked.

 

I try to get my half measure full,

But I think it is a little less

Difficult for me as it was

For you. Thank you for the

Quarter you earned.

 

It took us a long way, but

Today, the world is still

Turned upside down

And we are working

Hand by hand to

 

Flip it

Right side up

 


Praise:

“A harrowing collection by a Pushcart Prize–nominated poet… The poet’s language can also be visceral and gripping … An often cathartic and poignant set of poems about endurance and the cycle of abuse.” – Kirkus Reviews

 


About the Author:

Katerina Canyon is an Award Winning Poet, Best Selling Author, civil rights activist, essayist, and poet. She grew up in Los Angeles and much of her writing reflects that experience.

Her first book of poetry, Changing the Lines, was released in August 2017. This work is a conversation between mother and daughter as they examine what it means to operate within the world as black women.

Katerina Canyon is a 2020 and 2019 Pushcart Prize Nominee. Her stories have been published in The New York TimesThe Huffington Post, and Folks. Her poetry has been published in CatheXis NorthwestThe Esthetic ApostleInto the Void, Black Napkin, and Waxing & Waning. From 2000 to 2003, she served as the Poet Laureate of Sunland-Tujunga. During that time, she started a poetry festival and ran several poetry readings. She has a B.A. in English, International Studies and Creative Writing from Saint Louis University and a Master of Arts in Law and Diplomacy from the Fletcher School at Tufts University.

Katerina moved to Seattle three years ago. Her latest book Surviving Home, a collection of poetry, will be released in November 2021 published by Kelsay Books. It is currently available for pre-sale.

Readers can connect with Katerina on Instagram, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook. To learn more, go to https://www.poetickat.com/ 

To request a review copy of Surviving Home or an interview Katerina Canyon, please contact Kelsey at Book Publicity Services at (805) 807-9027 or Kelsey@BookPublicityServices.com

 

Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree: Poems, Rants, and Short Stories

Poems are fragments of life.
Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree by Simi K. Rao is a collection of blissful moments; deep, invisible wounds; cries for help; declarations of defiance and philosophical observations. These poems and prose are fragments of life elucidating the different phases of the human condition. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree will leave readers wanting for more and have a deep impact on women of all ages.
Life is not about achieving perfection, it’s about reconciling with your imperfections.

Praise for Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree:
“Rao amazes yet again with a true sense of what the modern woman goes through every day. We must battle cultural norms yet rebel in a way to gain our wings to do what we yearn to accomplish. She describes the dual roles of women, no matter where one comes from.” —Sonali Dhir, Advance Practice Nurse, Family Nurse Practitioner
“Simi K. Rao’s Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree is a compelling collection of poems and short stories. Dr. Rao writes with keen insight about life, love, illness, war, loss, revenge and joy. Her spare and deceptively simple poetry leaves the reader with a new appreciation of our universal humanity, and her short stories will leave you wanting more.” —Marianne Novelli, M.D.
“I read Simi K Rao’s Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree in two sittings. I simply couldn’t put it down. The short stories were penned with an appreciation for the important placement of imagery, detail, and dialogue. This skill combined with likeable and formidable characters makes for an impressive read. But it is the poetry that grabbed me. Her innate propensity for unearthing our shared humanness, no matter our differences, strikes an emotional tone that allows her reader to not only relate, but to empathize. The poetry is straight up and to the point. It does not have to be interpreted or dissected to be understood. Simi is a straight shooter and certainly had an impact on this reader.” —Dallas H, Author of Shaking the Family Tree

Excerpt:

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Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree

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Gods recline and meditate
Yogis attain nirvana
Banias conduct business
Councils assemble and confer

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I stand firm, yet I walk
My arms stretch across the universe,
forever seeking and growing
I am exceptional

__

Creatures frisk on my limbs
The weary traveler finds repose
I am a temple of benevolence
An infinite ocean of knowledge

__

I was there before you were born
I shall remain after you are gone
I have weathered a million storms
I am the eternal tree

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About the poem: The term ‘Banyan’ was coined by the British after the word ‘bania’ who are people belonging to the trading community. Found in nearly every Indian village, the tree is the center of activity. People gather, traveling merchants of all kinds set up shop under its vast canopy, and village councils hold hearings. It is also called Kalpavriksha, the tree that fulfills wishes and material desires and is greatly revered. Its ability to survive and grow for centuries is akin to God providing shelter to his devotees. Its ability to send down aerial roots which grow down into the soil and form additional trunks makes it a symbol of immortality. The leaves, bark and seeds are used for various medicinal purposes. The tree is truly extraordinary.

About the Author:
Simi K. Rao was born and grew up in India before relocating to the U.S., where she has lived for several years. The inspiration for her books, and other projects, comes from her work and experience with cross-cultural traditions, lifestyles and familial relationships. Rao enjoys exploring the dynamics of contemporary American culture blended with Indian customs and heritage to reflect the challenges and opportunities many Indian-American women face in real life. She is a practicing physician, and much of Rao’s down time is devoted to creative pursuits, including writing fiction and poetry, and photography. She is also an avid reader and traveler and has visited many locations around the world. She has written four novels. Under the Shade of the Banyan Tree is her first collection of poems and short stories. It is available for sale on Amazon and Barnes & Noble. She is currently working on a new novel. She lives in Denver with her family. To learn more about Simi or her books, visit SimiKRao.com or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Goodreads.