Today I'm pleased to shine the spotlight on our first poet at Center Stage. Though trying to introduce this writer while properly referencing her various "bylines" isn't the easiest task to tackle.
The simplest most exciting news involves her book YEARNINGS—a poetry collection authored under the name Ayo Gutierrez. While this collection largely features her own work, YEARNINGS includes poems by an International cast of eighteen different writers, in an array of poetic styles. For the sake of transparency, I have the honor of being counted among them. And I also had the pleasure of acting as a proofreader for portions of this collection, scheduled for release on Friday, November 23rd 2018.
So while I typically write crime fiction, I'm conversant with Ayo's work. Nevertheless, Josh Jones (author of the novel SHELTERED) graciously describes Gutierrez's work in this collection far more eloquently than I could possibly aspire. And accordingly I'll defer to him:
“Prose is the elegant recording of words to create stories that convey setting, characters, plot and climax. Poetry, especially in the case of Yearnings, is the translation of emotion into words. This collection is unyielding in its examination of the emotions in people, often from the perspective of modern women. Ayo Gutierrez is an expert of poetic irony, meaning we are able to read about things that are seldom spoken. Her subjects range from religion to child birth to inter- and extra-personal relationships. Gutierrez’s attention to detail in her writings enables us, the readers, to develop a greater understanding of the issues she captures. As she writes in one piece entitled Secret Lover:
“I embrace tight these ominous shadows and willingly
I disappear with them at sunrise.”
She brings us into the midst of a subject and wraps our minds in the comfort of her words, allowing us to steep in her perspective, disappearing with our evolution. Gutierrez does not offer up traditional formats in her poetry. You will not find sonnets nor iambic pentameter; rather, you will find heightened, sometimes disjointed, free-form poetry that bites and caresses. Instead of works about the beauty of rainbows, you will read about the intense, complex molecules inside that rainbow.
You will read about power, not about pretty.
Gutierrez and her fellow contributors have created something special.”
YEARNINGS also bears the distinction of containing a Foreword by award-winning poet Eileen R. Tabios, who invented the poetic form called "hay(na)ku"—a 3-line poem containing one word in the first line, two in the second, and three in the third.
While Ayo's poems often address serious subjects, her Muse doesn't dwell or wander solely in Dark Realms. Quite the opposite in fact. As Tabios adeptly notes:
"We are pleased to see a sense of humor—evident in the title 'My Brain Needs a KitKat' (and guess what I just added to the day's shopping list.) Humor is an underrated asset in poetry, and I'm pleased this poet has the wisdom to traffic in it."
When venturing into the public eye, Gutierrez has the kind tendency to bring other friends and writers with her. Her first publishing venture in 2017 involved the book BARDS FROM THE FAR EAST, an anthology of haiku and kindred verses. As one of five contributing authors in this collection, Ayo penned work under her married name Carolyn Abanggan. Additionally she is also known by her hyphenated-married name Carolyn Gutierrez-Abanggan.
While I briefly and initially pondered if this poet was besieged and afflicted by a multiple personality disorder, Gutierrez and her husband kindly thought shortening her author name when she became a TV co-host for the Filipino show Travel Art would make life easier on the rest of us. Carolyn's nickname "Ayo" springs from a word and custom in one of her local Cebuano dialects: When knocking on someone's door, visitors often call out "Ayo"—the equivalent of saying "Hello"—or is anyone home?
Meanwhile, and attesting further to the soundness of Ayo's poetry, her work has been accepted (and has or should soon appear) in 5 different anthologies:
I Have a Name: Anthology of Prose and Poems on Mental Disorders (2017); Hidden Constellation magazine (2017); A Promise of Doves (December 2018); The Anthology of Human Thought from Introvert Press (December 2018); and In the Crosshairs (December 2018).
Further complicating my life here at Center Stage tonight, Ayo brought who I call "Sparky the Sea Lion" with her. Sparky's a seasoned entertainer. And trying to type while keeping exuberant Sparky out of Ayo's spotlight so she can shine alone for once has proven maddening to say the least.
So yes, sir Sparky: you can finally CLAP! CLAP! CLAP! As we all applaud Ayo "Carolyn Abanggan" Gutierrez for her fine accomplishments. Heartfelt thanks everyone for joining us here at Center Stage.
Folks can visit Ayo on Facebook
And you can find her work on Amazon
#Yearnings #haiku #ayogutierrez #mickroseyearnings #poetayogutierrez