PHOTO COURTESY/ ADRIANNE MUNROE
Senior communication arts major Adrianne Munroe released her latest self-published poetry collection back in August, but she recently joined the University Writing Center as the first guest of this semester’s “Write-in” events to talk about her published book titled “The Naked Soul” and the creative spark that emerged her freshman year of college.
In this kickoff session, writing consultants and other St. John’s creatives were invited to “wake up and write with women in poetry,” according to the Instagram of the St. John’s Writing Center. Munroe was the spotlight creator, sharing the writing process that led to her first project.
Published officially on Aug. 8, 2020, Munroe’s first book took many years in the making until she felt the moment was right to release her work. While compiling her poetry and becoming a published author wasn’t always a reality she thought possible, the idea came to fruition when she “allowed herself to be the most vulnerable,” she said at the event.
Munroe had to face many personal obstacles to reach this important milestone, but she ultimately decided to forgo the hesitation holding her back and wrote “The Naked Soul.” After a realization during her freshman year and “a calling from God,” she fully devoted herself to the project, which is now available on the self-publishing site, Blurb.
For Munroe, religious devotion is an element that empowers her in each of her creative endeavors. “When I am not writing poetry or new pieces, I am dancing,” she remarks. During her four years at St. John’s, she has been actively involved in Sinai’s Radiant Liturgical Dance Ministry, an organization that encourages its members to strengthen their relationship with God through praise dance. This type of dance involves choreography that is equally powerful as it is emotional, taking influences from the word of the Christian Gospel. Through physical movement, the intense love felt for God manifests in the spirit of each dancer.
As the group’s Creative Director, Munroe has found a way to merge her faith with the art of writing. The ministry introduced her to journaling as a method for coping with life’s events, a habit that has stuck since.
”It is also a way for me to bear myself to God, even though he already knows who I am, hears all of my thoughts,” she adds.
Frequent journaling became a kind of meditation in this way, allowing her to “highlight the season of my life that I am in.” While poetry is one of Munroe’s go-to practices for expressing herself spiritually, having multiple creative outlets is key to success in her faith and career.
“The Naked Soul” is an important accomplishment for Munroe. Containing 34 poems, the collection is divided into sections named after the colors of her birth month’s flower, the rose. Each section also corresponds with a theme that represents a period of her life, such as “The Green Rose: Petals of Growth.” During the Write-in, Munroe shared a piece from the Green Rose section titled “I Am A Garden,” a poem that describes the divine nurturing of her soul that blossomed into self-confidence.
In addition to her recently published work, Munroe displays more of her creativity on her website. Munroe created the page as a companion to the book and a place for the rest of her poetry to thrive. Designed entirely by herself, the site elaborately tells the story of “The Naked Soul” through sun-kissed photography and samples from the collection.
Munroe’s artistic vision transcends words as her poetry reaches the souls of other women, especially young Black women like herself, who have both suffered and triumphed in life. On her website, she admits that “the first thing people see when they look at me is that I am a Black woman. It is the embodiment, essence, and lastly the core of who I am.” Munroe’s racial identity has influenced her to speak for others who struggle to feel seen for who they are, dedicating “The Naked Soul” to the often unspoken but universal feeling shared by “beautiful young Black girls.” In her testament, the ability to speak freely about themes on love and trauma is not only essential to her being, but a “God-given light.”
Through phases of pain and healing, Munroe’s latest literary release is a moving journey that anyone can learn from. In times of vibrant joy and even the depths of loss, her story teaches us that trusting yourself is one of the few seeds of life we should nurture into a rose garden when all else fails.
“The Naked Soul” is now available on Blurb and foodforthenakedsoul.com. Follow Munroe on Instagram, @foodforthenakedsoul, for updates regarding upcoming releases!