Spring Reads!
March 6, 2023

Exploring Mental Health and Domestic Violence through Paula Macena’s Poetry Collection

By: Ashley Coombs 

Poets have the unique ability in the world of literature to capture the raw essence of human emotions and experiences, shedding light on topics that might otherwise remain hidden. Paula Macena’s latest poetry collection, Penance of the Byronic Hero, does exactly that. With a strong emphasis on mental illness and domestic violence, Macena’s work delves into these often silenced issues, providing readers with a poignant and empathetic look into the human condition.

Unveiling the Power of ‘Penance of the Byronic Hero’

Penance of the Byronic Hero, which was recently published, is a poetic masterpiece that bravely tackles the sensitive subjects of mental health and domestic violence. Paula Macena’s words dance across the pages, creating vivid and haunting imagery that captures the complexities of these encounters. She invites readers to navigate the tumultuous journey of those suffering from mental illness as well as the harrowing challenges faced by victims of domestic violence through her work.


The collection speaks to those who have experienced these issues firsthand, providing solace and understanding through poetic verses. The poems serve as windows into these often misunderstood and stigmatized worlds for those who have not personally experienced these struggles. Penance of the Byronic Hero is a testament to the power of literature to foster empathy and encourage dialogue by shedding light on these themes.

Paula Macena’s Insights for Aspiring Poets and Authors


Aside from her poetry, Paula Macena generously shares her wisdom with aspiring poets and authors. Her advice is not only practical, but it also reflects her own creative process, which is evident in the profound impact of her work.


           Poet Paula Macena

Brain Dumping for Creativity: Macena encourages writers to engage in “brain dumping” as a way to unleash their creativity. This technique involves jotting down thoughts without overthinking them, allowing ideas to flow freely. The editing can come later, but the initial release of thoughts can lead to unexpected brilliance.


Embracing Feedback: Seeking feedback from others is a crucial step in the writing journey. Others’ perspectives can offer insights that might have been missed otherwise. This rings especially true when delving into sensitive topics like mental health and domestic violence – a diverse range of opinions can enrich the narrative.


Consistent Writing Practice: Macena highlights the importance of setting aside dedicated time for writing each day. This intentional practice helps in nurturing creativity and developing a writing habit. Even when the words don’t flow effortlessly, the discipline of daily writing can yield remarkable results.


Creating a Romantic Writing Space: Writing in an environment that sparks creativity can make a significant difference. Whether it’s a cozy cafe, a sunlit kitchen, or a serene library, the ambiance can infuse the writing process with inspiration.


Favorite Quotes and Influential Authors


Macena draws inspiration from a variety of authors who excel at “showing, not telling.” Among her favorites are Richard Siken, Ocean Vuong, Sally Rooney, John Green, Dolly Alderton, Amanda Montell, and Rudy Francisco. These authors have a unique ability to immerse readers in their narratives, allowing the emotions and experiences of their characters to resonate deeply.


Take a moment to reflect on the immense power of literature to shed light on important societal issues as you consider adding Penance of the Byronic Hero to your collection. Paula Macena’s poetry is more than just words on a page; it serves as a link between readers and the often unseen struggles of mental illness and domestic violence. By embracing her insights and engaging with her evocative verses, you are not only expanding your literary repertoire but also contributing to a larger conversation about these important issues.

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