“SPREAD My Soul,” a selection of poems by Julia White, provides an interesting glimpse of the writer’s development, not only as a poet, but as a person.
Containing poetry written by White between 1974, when she was nine years old, to 1991, three years before she committed suicide at age 29, the book captures White’s experimentation with form and style. From rhyme to free verse, with poems inspired by Mother Goose and influenced by Dante, the depth and versatility White exhibited as a poet are shown.
While the first two poems, both written in 1974, both encourage the reader not give up hope, White’s poems tend to be somewhat dark, exploring loss of innocence, loneliness, depression and a feeling of stagnation with her life such as in “Middle of the Night,” when she writes, “My life, on the other hand/Is slipping away between/these cracks of pain.”
Other pieces focus on her struggles to find inspiration, such as in “On Writing a Play:” “And slowly/through the months,/The vision is expanded.” Several poems, obviously influenced by her studies in Physics at M.I.T., focus on the scientific ideas of existence, taking an analytical look at everything.
EDITED by L. Noel Harvey, “Spread My Soul” places the poetry alongside artwork inspired by the writing. In conceiving the idea for the book, Harvey contacted artists from around the world to create pieces to run alongside White’s words.
The artwork includes print work, sketches, paintings, photography and mixed media pieces on pages opposite the poetry that inspired it.
Published in 2002, the book is a collection of works found by White’s father, Bill, after her death. Bill runs the Julia and David White Artists’ Colony in Ciudad Colón as a tribute to his two children, who both passed away within two years of each other. Wanting to celebrate Julia’s work and serve as a memorial to her life, Bill began working with Harvey in 1999 to bring his daughter’s poetry to the world.
Spread My Soul can be purchased through the Artists’ Colony Web site, www.forjulianddavid.org, with proceeds going to benefit the organization as well as other organizations supporting suicide prevention and awareness.