Life, with no regrets
Kalyn Cannonier hopes her book of poetry will inspire her children to live with no regrets.
It took her three years to complete Motus, a collection of 37 poems that will hit the shelves of local stores today.
“My son is 11 and my daughter is 2 and I always tell them: ‘You know you can be whatever you want to be as long as you work hard, as long as you put your mind to it,’” she said.
“I thought it was important to live what I teach my children. I want them to see you can accomplish anything in your life. You don’t have to be this well known person to publish a book. You can be Joe Bloggs that lives up the street. So that was a real motivation for me, to show my children that you can work hard and accomplish your dreams.”
She thought she’d finished the project but when the pandemic hit she took in everything that was happening around her and changed the tone of the book completely.
"The pandemic definitely helped me appreciate things more; just going for your dreams and appreciating what you have. Life is short, so you have to do the things that you want to do.”
She continued: “The title of the book, Motus, means basically to request silence or to hush. It’s very colloquial. I guess the thought behind it is we learn a lot more when we just listen.
“So the poems have kind of that sort of tone to them – that if we put out good energy, if we’re positive, if we treat people kindly, we can learn a lot more about life and about our relationships with people.”
Ms Cannonier has loved poetry ever since a teacher introduced it to her in high school.
“Poetry is fun. It has no rules. There’s no real grammar structure that you have to go by. You can use litany, you can use [so many more] language tools than you would use in everyday writing. And you can have fun with it.
“I think that’s what stands out to me. You don’t have to go by this strict rigid method – this is how you need to write. Poetry allows for that fun with writing.”
Having taken workshops and master classes in the UK, she was thrilled when her work was selected to be part of poetry anthologies here and in Bristol.
“It’s great being a part of someone else’s artwork but it was important for me to have my own voice and put my own pieces out there,” she said.
Ms Cannonier wrote most of the 37 poems while pregnant in 2018. Last year she “recreated, revamped or added” to them, and completed the book.
“It’s about being positive, about relationships that have failed. It’s about trees; it’s about self-confidence and not being arrogant. I think it’s a good life lesson.
“I don’t find it a chore,” she said of her writing. “I literally could be at the park with my kids running around and have an idea; if I look and see children, [that] imagery is what translates into my words. I would just jot something down and remember it for a poem later. It’s very easy for me to write poetry. It feels very natural for me to write.”
As the response to her poems has “always been really encouraging” her hope is to publish books regularly.
“I didn’t have a mentor but I would go to my best friend and my family and they would say no, I don’t like that or I do like that, I love that. Because the answers are not all in my head, getting their feedback was essential to this project.”
Motus includes pictures “of Bermuda’s beautiful landscape”. Ms Cannonier is also proud that it is a testament to the talent that can be found here.
“It was important for me to utilise local talent during this economic crisis we are currently experiencing due to the pandemic,” she said. “I used a local artist – Moss Bermuda owned by Peter Sousa – to design my book cover [and he] has done a fantastic job of conveying my concept. In addition I used SJD World, owned by Stephan Johnstone, to facilitate the publishing.
“We have a lot of Bermudian talent and if I want people to invest in me I should be willing to invest in others.”
Motus is available at People’s Pharmacy and Brown & Co. Follow Kalyn Cannonier on Instagram @hervoiceqohl
When Kalyn Cannonier reads other people’s poetry she often seeks out works by two highly-acclaimed artists, Joumana Haddad and Lorenzo Quinn.
“She’s a Lebanese women’s rights activist. She’s really positive, really encouraging of women’s rights. I touch on that a bit in my book as well – encouraging women to go for their dreams and things like that. Her poetry is bold and speaks to me.”
“He does sculptures and alongside his sculptures, he does poetry. I absolutely adore his work. He describes it as having a dialogue with the public and I think that is exactly how I would probably sum my book up: having a dialogue with the public.”