Dear Butterfly: 50 Poems
By Kirsteen Main
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As Kirsteen says in her artist statement for her book, Dear Butterfly, 50 Poems by Kirsteen Main, “Because of my cerebral palsy I am not able to walk or talk, but my mind works quite well thank you.”
When she was eight years old, Kirsteen was given a way to communicate what was in that mind – her thoughts, ideas, opinions and eventually her poems. ‘Facilitated communication’ works to give people who can’t communicate in the traditional sense a chance to speak and be understood. Someone holds her arms while she points to letters on an alphabet board, spelling out what she wants to say. She tells us that she creates the poems in her head where they are stored in a “poetry file” until she can be assisted to express them. Kirsteen has been ‘writing’ poetry since the age of twelve (she is now thirty-four) and she says, “Many but not all of my poems speak to my experience of living with a disability – as well as expressing what I need to say to the world.” And she has plenty to say!