Scarred Wonderland isn’t just another book of poems comparing women’s bodies to roses; it’s a raw, lovely dive that your bookshelf is lacking. Lora Kroush might have been initially shy to write about her life, but the end result is breathtaking.
Kroush graduated last spring with a degree in creative writing and publishing. Her journey at Missouri Western started in the education department, but one poetry class with Dr. Marianne Kunkel, associate professor in creative writing and publishing, introduced her to a different career.
“She came into my poetry class wanting to be a fiction writer, but we converted her to poetry rather quickly,” Kunkel said. “She began taking my publishing class and worked up to editor in chief.”
Kroush worked on Scarred Wonderland for several years, slowly compiling poems until a pattern emerged.
“They tell a story of womanhood and what it’s like changing from a girl to a woman and all the different feministic experiences we go through,” Kroush said.
The book is split into two sections: scarred and wonder. The first half covers darker experiences, such as the depression following a miscarriage and the fears of being a woman in a violent world. The latter section covers the beauty of pregnancy and motherhood.
“Her book is honest without being trite or sentimental,” Kunkel said. “Lora presents a lot of candid information about her body, pregnancy and past sexual relationships; it can be scathing, frank and painful. Mixed in with the romance and love for her children, she creates this balance of the pain and sweetness of honesty.”
Compiling a poetry book is different from a novel because most writers create poems one at a time, not thinking about the other poems it will be paired with. Like an anthology, poetry books are a collection, and somehow need to have a theme or narrative.
“It’s hard putting your poems in conversation with each other,” Kunkel said. “Lora’s title really pulls the book together. It points to the body, a site for scarring and a site for wonder.”
Kroush warns readers that the content can potentially be triggering. Her readers describe the poems as “edgy.”
“The hardest part is getting all the emotions and raw energy on the page,” Kroush said. “I wrote this poetry book because I needed a release and it’s cheaper than a therapist!”
Samantha Fidler-Newby is the co-owner of Amazing Things Press, Scarred Wonderland’s publisher.
“For those who are looking for some raw emotional release, this poetry book is for you. Lora unabashedly pours her heart and experiences on the page making a connection with all that read it,” Fiddler-Newby said.
Kroush’s ability to discuss such edgy topics paired with the sweet tenderness of motherhood is what got her published.
“I connected to the way she expressed such raw emotions with clarity and abandonment,” Fiddler-Newby said. “I felt this would be a great addition to our catalog.”
Unfortunately, the creative writing and publishing degree is one of the majors that didn’t pass the recent university cuts.
“It’s sad knowing that other people won’t have an outlet for their works,” Kroush said. “I never knew I was into poetry until I entered the department. And now look! I have a chapbook and I’m releasing a novel soon. That never would have happened if I didn’t switch from education to creative writing. Anyone else who might have a similar story as me might not get to discover it, and that’s a little depressing.”
While she isn’t caring for her two daughters, Kroush continues to write and encourage her friends to submit their work for publication.
Kroush also has a YA dystopian novel coming out in the winter or early spring, also published by Amazing Things Press. Copies of Scarred Wonderland on Amazon for only $5.99, and are well worth the read.