In this semi-autobiographical compilation, Sophia Falco not only offers a bold new poetic voice, but also a glimpse into a stigmatized consciousness. On a journey to explore her own experiences with bipolar disorder, she takes us into the black eye of The Immortal Sunflower, transfixing us with its gaze, demanding that we dive through the dark and into a world beyond, where the natural world collides and intersects with her internal thought processes. She does not mince words about her aim: “Bipolar disorder / does not define me, / and that is why I am defiant . . .” And in her unflinching courage to expose the recesses of her mind, we find the beauty and the longing:
Hopes of freedoming
And to touch the blue sky
Because it felt like rainbows were
Catching on fire
Falco shares with us her mind’s inner landscape, one that is simultaneously unfamiliar and intimately resonant, one uniquely her own, and one that we share through her powerful language of metaphor—a language with the ability to immerse us and change us, letting us transcend stigma and find a deeper understanding, a “freedoming.”
–Allison Herman, Professor of English at Foothill College. B.A. in Literature, UC Berkeley, M.A. in Literature, SFSU
The Immortal Sunflower is a voyage of the mind navigating through intense feelings that expose raw emotions rooted in a troubled psyche, and ultimately the transformation into the light. From a tiger to a red dove, and to a sunflower as tall as a skyscraper, these highly imaginative, vulnerable, and powerful poems uniquely take on an otherwise typically invisible and often devastating illness—bipolar disorder. Sophia Falco, an individual who is affected by this, captures suffering and hope in unconventional ways including imagery that transcends earth into outer-space.
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Ode to a Sunflower
In outer-space a strong
sunflower floats in orbit,
and a lovely astronaut
on this sunflower.
The sunflower’s seeds light up,
in a yellow spiral,
one by one,
Beams of light
radiate out from each seed,
and the petals pulsate with
(Flashes of gold in the
realm of dark matter.)
These beams of light reach
the earth coated in a blanket of black,
cutting through the darkness;
zigzagging like lightening.
Oh, how the sunflower shakes its head like a
lion shakes its mane and showers
yellow pollen that
floats, drifts, and coats
the darkness ever so
gracefully with gold ,
like a rain that reaches earth.
A sunflower bringing
joy into this dark world!
Sophia Falco is the author of her debut poetry chapbook: The Immortal Sunflower which was a winner of The Raw Art Review chapbook contest. The tallest sunflower she grew was 16 feet tall! Sophia studies intensive literature with a creative writing concentration for poetry at UCSC, and will graduate as an undergraduate senior June 2020. https://www.instagram.com/poetsophiafalco1/