Unflinching Honesty

by Roger Zotti

Writing poetry always came easily for Kathryn Kozlicky, author of “Confessions”  (PublishAmerica). “I would love to write a story, an actual book, but that’s something I have to sit down and think about,” Kathryn said in a recent telephone interview. “With poetry, I can hear a word or phrase and – boom! – it’s like lightning. I have to start writing. I don’t know why but I feel blessed that it does.”

Robert Frost is one of  Kathryn’s favorite poets. “He inspired me when I was young,” she said. And Frost’s clarity and directness is evident in Kathryn’s poetry. Take, for instance,  “The Past,” when Kathryn writes, “Isn’t it exhausting/ Living in the past?/ Tainted by the memories/ Of the love that didn’t last?”

In Frost’s “Acquainted with the Night,” he writes, “I have been one acquainted with the night,/ I have walked out in the rain – and back in rain./ I have out-walked the furthest city light.”

After Kathryn moved into her new apartment in Groton, she began writing. “I was in pain and a lot of things were burdening me,” she said. “[Writing] was a healing process for me. I never intended it to be a book about my personal feelings and situation.” When she finished and  reread what she wrote, “I realized these are problems other people have gone through, or are going  through. If my poems can help someone else, let’s give it a try.”

I asked Kathryn what she’d like her readers to take away from her book. Her hope is, she said, that “anyone who has gone through the situations I have gone through, well, I just want them to know they are not alone, because for many years I felt very alone and kept everything secret. There are people out there they can talk to and get the help they need.”

Many of the poems in “Confessions” are grave, for example “You Are,” wherein Kathryn writes, “You are the man that severed all ties/ Abandoning me in a haunting sea of lies./ You are the man that simply moved on/ Now all that  was beautiful is just dead and gone.”

But several poems are hopeful too, like “Loving You.” In it Kathryn writes, “Loving you has taught me that I am strong/…Loving you has given me a sense of well being/…I’ve learned many things simply by loving you.”

In “Confessions” Kathryn unflinchingly reveals her suffering and  transforms it into a learning and perhaps healing experience for the reader. Her writing is clear-eyed, courageous, and never self-pitying. Like Frost’s, her poems are deceptively simple.

As for her future writing plans, Kathryn has a second book in the works that she will submit in September to PublishAmerica. “It will be…a kind of coming out of the dark and into the light,” she explained. Her book signing is July 26, from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at Pearl of the Thames Café and Catering, at 175 Thames Street, Groton.