Local author, poet, and painter Chaz Allen touches on themes of spirituality, identity, and uncertainty.
Chaz Allen has recently released his second book, “Poems from Quarantine.” While not explicitly about quarantine, this collection of poems was written during the pandemic. He gave the book its title in hopes his audience would meditate on these last two years of unpredictability, anxiety, and change.
“A novel’s job is to take you somewhere you’ve never been,” said Chaz, “it’s poetry’s job to show you where you are right now.”
Like most of us throughout the pandemic, Chaz struggled to compartmentalize and practice self-care. He sees the mind and body as being closely connected, so maintaining physical health and seeking different forms counseling proved crucial to his wellbeing.
“We were all stuck in our homes unsure of what was going to happen and when anything would begin to feel normal again,” Chaz said.
But this past year wasn’t entirely bleak—it also contained great blessings for Chaz, such as meeting his current girlfriend and giving him the time and inspiration to write his book.
Chaz’s poetry avoids focusing on sentimentality, or as he describes it, “the morning paper or cup of coffee.” Instead, he has always been drawn to poetry’s more cryptic nature.
“I’m writing in an effort to make you think, to dig a little and even visualize something,” Chaz said.
Through self-publishing Poems from Quarantine, which features new and original artwork in full color, Chaz found an easier route for sharing his writing. Much of the hard work of self-publishing, such as formatting, layout, and templates, had been worked out when working on his first book, The Thirteenth Circle. Self-publishing also allowed him to reach broad audiences in ways he couldn’t otherwise.
“Poetry writers don’t attract many major publishers,” Chaz humorously added.
Chaz is currently working on his third book, which he is hoping to release soon.
See more of Chaz Allen’s paintings and find more updates at his website, and get your own copy of Chaz Allen’s books Poems from Quarantine and The Thirteenth Circle, available in both hardcover and paperback