Meet Jessica Goody, a Bluffton resident who came to the Lowcountry almost five years ago from Long Island, N.Y. Although some of her poems have appeared in numerous publications and area newspapers, "Defense Mechanisms," a poetry collection, is her first book.
Goody dedicated the book to her grandfather, Howard Goody, who passed away 14 years ago from cancer, keeping a promise she made to him when she was 8 years old, that she would dedicate her first book to him.
This collection of 75 poems is divided into three sections: Being Handicapped, Green Sentinels, and Other Voices.
The first section is devoted to her life experiences living with cerebral palsy. Goody relates a common misconception, which assumes those with physical disabilities also have mental disabilities, which, of course, is not true.
The author states her purpose in writing is a desire to be heard and understood and believes that "well-chosen words are the greatest agents of change." Her resolute spirit springs to life in the words of her poetry.
Take a moment and think about people with normal functioning and mobility and how we master multi-tasking and integrate stress into our lives until it is the norm. In "Defense Mechanisms," we see how a person with impaired functioning and limited mobility deals with a fast-moving, complicated world where adaptation takes patience, intelligence and creative thinking to survive.
Goody poses insightful questions about various human disorders and the often awkward or difficult interaction with people, structures and long-held prejudices that impact the people who live with disabilities on a daily basis. Her descriptions are unflinching and, for this reader, an eye-opening perspective.
In the second and third sections of the collection, Goody's poems are a sensual wordscape, an appreciation of the infinite capacity of nature to surprise, delight, soothe and heal. With detailed observations in poems such as "Galapagos," "Ode to a Sea Lion," "Ancient Trees" and "Whale Song," her words paint vivid images of the beauty and diversity of our universe.
This collection of poems feels cathartic and might give hope to anyone who struggles to overcome pain and limitations in the pursuit of their dreams and an accomplished life. For the physically strong and active person, reading this book might recalibrate your view of the world. Yes, well-chosen words - the power to change.
You can purchase "Defense Mechanisms" at www.dwphosphenepublishing.com and on Amazon.com.
Glenda Harris of Bluffton is a freelance writer and editor, nature lover and aspiring novelist.