Poets for a Cause: Amy O Connor and Healing from Heartbreak
Last month, I got to talk with poet Amy O Connor (aocpoetry) about a topic that is near and dear to her: healing from heartbreak.
O Connor: “I write mostly about romantic heartbreak but sometimes my work spills over into loss and grief too. I get a lot of messages from people that have lost their partners, loved ones, etc. I think it’s great that people can take what they need from my work.
I went through a very bad break up about two years ago, and it was truly writing and reading poetry that got me through it and allowed me to understand my emotions. But I guess I’m very thankful for the ability of being able to make art out of your pain. I believe in the concept ‘turn your pain into poetry’ ”
O Connor mentions that readers are able to take what they need from her work. This is exactly what makes poetry so special: the way it allows readers to interpret it for themselves and connect to their own emotions. Grief is so often a universal language that people can resonate with, regardless of their unique circumstances.
Heartbreak is such an important topic because it looks different for everyone. Our individual timelines and traumas will vary, but the more we see writers like O Connor being open about their pain, the more we can see that we are not alone in ours. The healing journey will be extremely personal and unique to each individual, but sharing about it is such a great first step for all of us to help banish shame and to address common misconceptions about what comes after heartbreak.
For most of us, healing is not linear. Writing about the messy middle of it and being able to process that pain through poetry is therapeutic for writers and readers who resonate with their words. It also opens up important conversations about mental health and the daily challenges we may face as we try and move forward from a loss or major heartbreak.
O Connor also speaks with such wisdom about how art often originates in pain. Heartbreak is destructive, challenging, and hard to navigate, but on the other side of it, we can find hope through words, songs, or pieces of art. That concept is so incredibly beautiful to me: the pain is excruciating, messy, and far from beautiful, but the art that follows is birthed out of resilience, grit, and grace. The art that follows helps paint the world with stories of vulnerability and healing.
We feel in awe of a good poem because we get to see so much of our shared humanity in the flowing words. O Connor creates poems that connect us to one another and honor our individual experiences at the same time. She writes about her pain in a way that makes others feel it with her. In her pain, she shares a bit of her heart with her readers; she writes to heal and to help others do the same. Whether you are experiencing romantic heartbreak or the grief of heart-shattering loss, her words are sure to bring you comfort.
“Yes, you destroyed me.
But I have turned
that black hole into
Saturn Rings and stardust.
Nebulas and moons.
So here I am.
Once a supernova. Now a galaxy.
Made of a million little pieces.
What is more beautiful than that?”
O Connor’s poetry is her art. It’s her heart on display, drawing readers in with her relatability and resilience. Her work will encourage readers to search for the beauty in their lives even when it doesn’t look how they thought it would.