In late December, during my vacation break, I happened to read about a cool contest being offered by one of my favorite journals — SWWIM Every Day.
It caught my attention for a few reasons: there was a specific prompt, only a few days to enter, and a portion of the proceeds were earmarked for suicide prevention. The contest was SWWIM’s first, and it was called “Purses for Poetry,” and conceived as a way to honor the visionary Kate Spade, an icon in fashion circles who had accomplished so much in her short life and had inspired so many women before she sadly took her life exactly one year ago today.
It just so happened that I’d learned, within a day or two of reading about this contest, that a former high school classmate of mine had taken his own life. I felt a strong desire to enter, although I had no idea what I might be writing about; I knew of Kate Spade, of course, but had no bags or products of her in my closet, had no clear understanding of who she was, or why she’d meant so much to so many.
So I made a point of learning more about her life — her incredible trajectory to success, how she is perceived as contributing to fashion, and to culture. What I read online filled in some of gaps in my understanding, and left me with the sense of someone who understood the need young women have for color, combined with simplicityt and functionality…as well as for fun.
The poem I wrote, “A Purse is a Mother is my Birthright,” ended up being an opportunity to talk more about my mother and the relationship I have with her, and to use a purse — my purse, to which I am joined at the hip, much like, yes, a mother — as a metaphor for that connection.
I was so pleased to learn that my poem received an honorable mention in this contest and will be excited to share it when it is published on the SWWIM site the week of June 24-28!