“Thou hast set my feet in a wide room.” Psalm 31:8
One day, a few years ago, my oldest daughter Bryana, entered a poetry contest--and won. Unbeknownst to me, she quietly began submitting her poetry to other contests and poetry journals for publication. Since that day, she has won thousands of dollars in contests and has had her poems published in numerous magazines and journals. A few weeks ago, with trembly fingers, she presented to me the manuscript of a collection of poems she was about to have published. "Do you like them, Mom?"
I read the poems and found my eyes filling with water. Not because she can write poetry but because she cares.
"The question is not,
-- how much does the youth know?
when he has finished his education
-- but how much does he care? "
My first full-length collection of poetry, Having Decided To Stay, is an exploration in verse of G.K. Chesterton’s assertion that, “gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder.” Drawing from classical literature, popular culture, personal experience and the awe of the untamed wild, these poems were spun out of the spilling over of an overwhelmed heart.
Praise For Having Decided To Stay:
"This collection is a feast, and it goes to show that although God said ‘not many wise are called,’ a few do get through." Andrée Seu Peterson, Senior Writer, WORLD Magazine
"Having Decided To Stay surprises and delights with fresh phrases, sharp images and bright sounds. Bryana Johnson’s first collection of poetry establishes her as a Christian poet who communicates the gutsy, bleeding beat of life and death. Although the volume includes a number of poems founded in Christian thought and Bible text, this book is not a collection of ‘religious poetry.’ It is too creative, too crafted and too challenging to be so simply labeled. It is a collection that restores our confidence that there are poets who labor over the word, and who have something to say that the world needs to hear." Nathan Harms, Director, Utmost Christian Writers Foundation
"These poems are works of elegance…In a voice both compassionate and compelling, Bryana presents her readers with works that examine what it means to be human and how our very faults and foibles can, in the end, become instruments of grace." Wendy Galgan, editor of Assisi
"Having Decided to Stay is a promising debut and already a considerable achievement. Bryana’s “trembly-fingered” poems bound and careen with both honesty and joy. They are equally in love with great books and the wild world, the former perhaps more deserving of that love, the latter more desperate for it." John Savoie, Ph.D. Yale, Professor at Southern Illinois University
one step at a time...