The Aurelia-inspired art by Victor Carlesi

The origin of Aurelia’s name is as follows:

In October of 2019, I went to a memorial dinner with my friend, Victor. Victor is a friend who made me feel comfortable with my art and grief coexisting.

I had been talking about how I needed to eventually pick a name for my upcoming poetry book, but I was stuck between a few choices. Sylvia Plath, my favorite poet, always named things so perfectly and I wanted to really find the right fit. I couldn’t settle for anything less. The conversation lead to me to talking about Sylvia’s mother, Aurelia, whose name means “golden”.

After showing Victor a home video of me from my first day of preschool, age 5, where I make a “mad” face, I thought… “I think I want to name the book Aurelia.”

Looking at the video of me at age five, I know that I was a golden child in a world of people who think silver is more beautiful. There’s more to that story, but that’s the simplest explanation.

This moment of sitting in a grief with my friend and sharing a video from my childhood brought me to have a moment of clarity where it felt that the book named itself, and Victor proceeded to draw little-mad-Angel as the cover of Aurelia.

Victor also drew four poem-inspired images for me to have to celebrate the book, and another one as my birthday gift in 2020. So much time has passed since we were sitting together in my room talking about art and poetry, but I will forever be grateful for the time in my life where I just got to sit beside a beloved, golden friend and be artists together and nothing else.

Aurelia (2020)
“Fat Cookies”
“Cherries”
“The Bath”
“Suicide Weather”
“The Doll Collector”
“The Wild”

Art gifted by Victor Carlesi, inspired by poems within Aurelia.

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