nlike previous generations, millennials have had to learn to navigate dating and breaking up in the age of the internet. When our most intimate relationships often immortalize themselves in Facebook statuses and Instagram stories, the process of healing and moving on from a split can be fraught. Kaleena Kovach, local poet and chair of the Hear, Here! Poetry
board, went through such a process, and decided to examine her emotions through haiku, a short, three-line form of poetry typically used to honor the natural world. Now, she has turned this form into an exploration of technology and love.
“Some of the poems are really sad,” Kovach says, “and sitting in them too long if I were to be doing this as long-form poems, I think it’s just kind of depressing. But when it can just be this sort of punch in the gut, I think it sits with you in a different way.”
Kovach likes to add different elements to her work, “rather than just putting text on a page.” For the Millibo Art Theatre
’s Women’s Theatre Festival last spring, she presented a spoken-word poem alongside a modern dance piece. “I’ve been attracted recently to that poetry and dance collaboration,” she says, “and then, you know, I started writing these haikus and then decided that I wanted to display them in weird and interesting ways.”
Her book, Millennial Break-Up Haiku
, to be released this weekend, bears a very intentional design. She presents each poem inside familiar social media interfaces: emails overlaid on Google Maps, Amazon reviews, Venmo history, Facebook messages and the like. The visuals lend to the impact of the words.
She hopes, as she always does in her writing, that people will be able to see their own experiences in these poems. “Changing my passwords / can’t use anniversary / when we don’t have one,” reads one. “How do I tell the / internet that we broke up / no more pics of us,” reads another. Anyone who has ever had to change their relationship status on Facebook and deal with the public fallout can likely relate.
Kovach will read some of these poems as well as some of her longer works at the release party and queer open mic this weekend. Before her set, Hear, Here! Poetry will open the mic to anyone who wants to present poetry, comedy, art or music, though they prioritize people from the LGBTQ community. Following that, everyone can commiserate with Kovach’s relatable haiku, and pick up one of these cleverly designed books along the way. Or, appropriately, check her out on Instagram @millennial_breakup_haiku