It's beautiful to see more and more powerful voices from different intersections, surface and resound. So, here for spring, I have teenage poet Jay Hulme's Clouds Cannot Cover Us- an impactful poetry collection by a person who identifies as a transgender from a working-class background.
The book is aptly designed with a dark and bright division, signifying the struggles and hopes the poet faces in building his identity in the transitions of youth as an adolescent in a politically active world; evident in changes of the body, mind, social and political issues and an equally empowering acknowledgement of diversity and individual expressions in the world. The preconceived notion that youth is a foolish state with nothing worthwhile to offer, is dismantled by the poet through his making a case for the voice of the young to be acknowledged-
"I wrote when I was in high school. Poems about the fear, anger and burning sense of injustice that I felt, when I looked out at the world as a teenager, and saw not only this encroaching cloud of darkness, but a constant unwillingness among those who could do something about that darkness to listen to young people like me."
This book is as much about the young ones who have a voice and the power to articulate powerful messages on platforms of hope and revelation of bitter truths, as is about the development of a person existing within layers of class, gender, age group, physiology and events with empowering words like these-
"So we will keep on fighting,
until we are equal to you.
Because these photos
in black and white,
blurry and crumpled,
are not a sign of failure;
They are fuel for the fire
of the anger today,
and if we cannot be change,
you can be sure,
We will fuel it."
(Poem: Picture Quality)
I would definitely ask teenagers and adults, to give this book a read, because it will resonate hard if you've struggled, organised and articulated what you need or do not need, and formed your unique identity on the path you took which was convoluted but worth each step, because it was your truth. Keep this book and share it too, because it is centred on hope in a crumbling and reviving world, in the words of the author again-
"Yes, there's darkness, but darkness only exists in contrast to light. Without one, the other cannot exist."