Spoken word poet and Thought Catalog staff writer Ari Eastman has made a career out of writing about her feelings. From Tumblr to Twitter to every social media outlet in between, Eastman has masterfully balanced the act of pouring out her heart in a serious and humorous way. In her third and newest poetry book, Bloodline, Eastman transports audiences to a new dimension of human emotion. The wordsmith recounts personal stories of her adolescence, including the grief of father’s death, her first heartbreak and experiences growing up in this resilient and touching work.
Two of her books, Green Eyes and I Promised You I Wouldn’t Write This, were mainly focused on her dating life, with an emphasis on self-love and a look into her battle with mental illness. While she continues to discuss relationships and mental health, Bloodline shows a new maturity and an even more sincere writing style.
The tone of the book starts joyfully with “the doctor says ‘it’s a girl’ and my relieved father celebrates.” She recalls how her father was afraid to raise a son and how she wishes she could go back and tell him how much she appreciated him.
In the poem “Maybe the text wasn’t about you,” Eastman honestly describes her feelings about her father’s death. “I start sleeping in my mom’s bed, because mine is too cold, and I end up crying until I can’t see,” she writes. “She fluffs pillows and puts on episodes of Gilmore Girls. In her bed, I am not alone. In her bed, I have someone to remind me it won’t always be this cold.” Unafraid to hold back any emotion or detail, she pours out her soul, creating a beautiful and relatable result. The reader is able to visualize a young girl, empty and hurt, finding solace and warmth from her mother in a helpless situation. As a writer who is best known for chronicling her romantic life, it is refreshing to see Eastman write about a different, but equally important type of love.
Eastman continues to touch on mental health and her struggles with overcoming them since a young age. In “Anxiety,” she speaks about how normal social situations terrify her, like sleepovers at her friend’s house. “I don’t know why I can’t settle like the other girls. Or why I’m so convinced that tonight is the night the roof will cave in and everything I’ve ever known will cease to exist.” Those who have gone through similar feelings, especially adolescent girls, will find pieces of themselves in Ari’s words, feeling as though she expressed their exact sentiments.
Her thoughts are paired with a consistent salmon, black and white color palette to visually illustrate her words. In her poem “Murmur,” the silhouette of a man (in salmon) and woman (black) are portrayed, almost touching, powerfully complementing her views on loss. Whether it’s breakups, infatuation or simply fighting to live, Ari Eastman manages to make all her pain magical. Her character has grown immensely, and it shows in her writing. While she has changed, the best thing is that her core has stayed the same — a flawed human being who unabashedly shares her feelings and always strives to see beauty in pain. Bloodline comes out on Sept. 30.