Prodigal, by Amy Lauren
This chapbook follows a loose narrative of life as a marginalized identity in the Deep South. In states where religious fundamentalism and poverty impacts the majority of families, many communities fail to recognize mental health needs and provide proper care for substance abuse, eating disorders, and sexual trauma. My experiences with these struggles, and those of my friends and colleagues, influence these stories.
Sometimes the most surprising places, such as a local restaurant or a hundred-year-old church, offer healing and hope. So these poems also explore the reclamation of one's origins, and reconciliation with religious and sexual identity. Prophets such as Broderick Greer, Peter Gomes, and Mary Oliver have influenced this work, as all of these Americans lived authentic and faithful lives despite existing in a system that disenfranchised them in the name of religion.
My goal is for this collection to honestly portray both the sins and miracles of the Deep South. Hopefully, these stories will also evoke compassion among those who do not share or relate to similar experiences.