Shandrea Murphy-Washington (’20), a recent graduate of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, has released a book of poetry.
“Talking to Myself,” is independently published and explores a number of personal themes, including battles with mental health, fear of change, family dynamics, womanhood, and evolution. Murphy-Washington said that many of the poems included in the collection were written years ago. Once she had the content and confidence to complete the book, it was finished within a week.
From the book's description:
Each poem expresses the fear, passion, and curiosity of a woman on the way to finding herself. What does a day of depression look like? What's it like struggling to calm the anxiety inside of your head? How do you find bravery and courage after a life of shelter and fear? When can you be sure that life will get better? In this captivating anthology, Washington walks us through the questions we've all found ourselves asking at one time or another.
“One day this summer, I was listening to Jill Scott describe why she shared her music,” Murphy-Washington said. “She said something like, ‘Once it’s out of your head and on paper it no longer belongs to you, it belongs to the world.’ When I heard her say that, it’s like something clicked for me. I felt like no matter how afraid I was about what people may think, including my family, that my poems no longer belonged to me. They belong to everyone else who has felt those feelings. I didn’t want to hold them hostage anymore.”’
Murphy-Washington, who has written poetry since she was 11, said that her interest in poetry was developed and influenced by her grandmother’s passion for literature.
“She grew up going to segregated schools where children were required to memorize poems and speeches by brilliant Black Americans writing about their experiences during the Civil Rights Movement,” Murphy-Washington said. “I grew up listening to her and my grandfather recite poetry from memory. They passed their passion down to me.”
A graduate of UA Little Rock with a degree in anthropology, Murphy-Washington has plans for more collections in the future.
“Now that I know that people actually want to read what I have to say, I can’t wait to get more of my work out there,” Murphy-Washington said. “I have an abundance of poetry and narrative essays that I plan to organize and share with the world in the near future.”
Murphy-Washington also hosts “The Mind of the Absent Minded” podcast on Anchor which discusses topics surrounding mental health and how childhood trauma affects adult decisions.
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