At the word poetry, some readers are already thumbing to the sports section, threats of the complicated, inaccessible verse that you only read because you were forced to still ringing in your mind. “Today Means Amen” is not that kind of poetry. Yes, the latest work by Button Poetry co-founder Sierra DeMulder is complex and deep, but her work is also raw, relevant and accessible to contemporary young adults.
DeMulder writes about real life in stark and authentic terms. She channels the everyday fears, hopes and doubts that each of us face as citizens of the modern universe. Her poetry is emotionally accessible and very relatable, while still remaining well-crafted and aesthetically engaging. She works primarily in free verse, but her poetry is deliberate and tightly controlled.
Some stand out pieces from the collection are “The Origin of the Funeral Hat,” which explores the Martin Luther King Jr. assassination from the perspective of his wife Coretta. “For My Niece Livia, Age 8” is a narrative piece that explores the cultural forces that move us to conform as we age. “Progress Report” is a moving piece about a grandfather’s struggle with dementia.
On point and provocative, the book often forces the reader to pause and to take stock of one’s priorities. It faces head-on the absurdities of contemporary life, and is often unflinchingly vulnerable in its approach. From personal introspective to blunt social commentary, Sierra Demulder brings unique perspective to the broad spectrum of human experience.
“Today Means Amen” defies the modern perception that poetry must remain a cryptic pleasure for an isolated group of stodgy academics. She depicts real life in terms that will be accessible to real people. Between her printed works and her involvement in slam poetry, this talented artist is bringing the joy of poetry to an expanded contemporary audience.
In addition to “Today Means Amen,” Sierra Demulder has published several previous books of poetry. She is one of the founders of Button Poetry, a slam poetry group whose work has been popularized online. She is also a two time National Poetry Slam Champion.