Using illustrations and audio, this digital poetry collection reflects on disability and isolation
Hold Me In The Palm Of Your Mind aims to take people on a journey that "lands somewhere that feels good"
Kyla Jamieson's pandemic project is poetry for people who might not think poetry is for them.
Hold Me In The Palm Of Your Mind is a new digital "book," with illustrations and audio, so you can either read or listen to the poetry, or just look at the pictures.
The idea was to create a digital magazine from Jamieson's previously published works about concussions and post-concussion syndrome, with the help of an illustrator and professionally-produced audio.
Her work is largely focused on living with an invisible disability, and it was important to her to make her writing more accessible for people who are disabled or for people who find poetry too exclusive or inaccessible.
She worked with artist Ananya Rao-Middleton to illustrate her works and an expert to help her remotely record the audio.
"I'm excited for people to be able to look at this project and feel represented in her work, and to share poetry in a format where audio isn't an afterthought," says Jamieson. "We worked really hard on remotely recording high-quality audio."
She wanted the poems, illustrations and recordings to take people on a journey that "ultimately lands somewhere that feels good."
"Designing this project, we considered things like, what do people have the bandwidth for right now, emotionally and mentally? How might they feel most comfortable or invited to engage with our work?" says Jamieson.
And she wanted it to be accessible to young people so that it could eventually be used as an educational resource in high schools.
"I think one of the biggest challenges we faced with this project was how to make our work as accessible as possible," says Jamieson, adding there are best practices when it comes to accessibility, but no one format will serve everyone.
"We were navigating that complexity, and my mantra was 'practice, not perfection.' Perfection can feel too impossible and overwhelming."
One thing that seemed to underpin all of the work, though, was a collective sense of isolation.
'The same kind of isolation'
"Since the beginning of the pandemic, a lot of people have had new experiences with the same kind of isolation that sick and disabled people experience all the time," says Jamieson.
This spring, Jamieson had launched her first poetry collection along with another writer with a disability, Lauren Turner.
"We were surprised at how much our work about the isolation that stemmed from our disabilities resonated with people," says Jamieson. "It confirmed my understanding of how deeply isolation can impact people, even if they aren't grappling with health issues."
You can see Hold Me In The Palm Of Your Mind here. (Note: the audio in this PDF is playable in Adobe Reader.)
À lire en français sur le site de Radio-Canada.
This story is part of Digital Originals, an initiative of the Canada Council for the Arts. Artists were offered a $5,000 micro-grant to either adapt their existing work or create new work for the digital world during the COVID-19 pandemic. CBC Arts has partnered with Canada Council to feature a selection of these projects. You can see more of these projects here.