Valentine’s Day is not just a good excuse to eat delicious chocolates. It’s a celebration of the love and friendship in our lives and a way to cherish the people who support us emotionally. It can also serve as a reminder to honor ourselves by engaging in self-love and self-care or even beginning a self-partnership.
And of course, for those who are healing from heartbreak or unrequited love, Valentine’s Day can be a triggering reminder of loss. If you’re recovering from the burn of an old flame, know that healing takes time and patience, but you can let go of that person and feel free to love again.
Love is the spark that unites and connects us to ourselves, our partners, and our families. For Valentine’s Day, I hope you will find inspiration with these real-life stories of “poets in love.”
AMANDA LOVELACE and CYRUS PARKER
Amanda Lovelace and Cyrus Parker are a married power couple who share a true bond forged by overcoming obstacles together and healing each other. Amanda is most well-known for her poetry collection the princess saves herself in this one, which won the 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Poetry and is also a USA Today and Publishers Weekly bestseller. Cyrus has written several poetry collections, most notably, dropkick romance, in which Amanda affectionately writes in the foreword, “yes, i’m the princess who saved herself, but it was the bond I shared with cyrus that gave me the courage to approach the mouth of that bridge to self-love when it finally came after more than twenty years of suffering from silent trauma.”
Love has the power to heal, and Cyrus reveals this in the second half of dropkick romance: “With a mermaid’s kiss, / you filled those ashes / with new life/ and me/ with new purpose.”
The test of real love is someone who is not only there when things are good in life: They are also available when times are tough. Amanda helped Cyrus overcome “a toxic long-distance relationship” and helped them believe in love again.
A muse, a friend, and a romantic partner, Amanda inspires Cyrus to write memorable poems in dropkick romance such as “like leaves, we are falling.”
you and me,
the sun peeking through
the flame-topped trees,
that song about
filling the calm
you and me,
like a pulse,
a sign that we
couldn’t be more alive
than we are in this moment.
LANG LEAV and MICHAEL FAUDET
Lang Leav is the international bestselling author of various books including Love and Misadventure, which she dedicated to poet Michael Faudet. Her creative work has won the Qantas Spirit of Youth Award and a Churchill Fellowship. While pictures of Lang and Michael are private and unavailable on the internet, readers can learn about their relationship through poems such as “Sunday Best,” which she dedicated to Michael after eight years of being in a relationship with him. In the poem, she writes about falling in love and the moment they became closer: “You held out your arms and I was cracked porcelain. We looked at each other as we stood at the precipice. And I knew once I fell, I’d never stop falling.”
Michael Faudet is the author of the bestselling books, Dirty Pretty Things and Bitter Sweet Love. His poetry is sensual, erotic, and romantic, and he enjoys writing about love, loss, and relationships. Like Atticus, Faudet maintains an elusive low profile, so readers must learn about his relationship with Lang Leav through his poetry and interviews. In an interview for Thought Catalog, Michael talks about the depth of his relationship with Leav: “I still remember the first time I held her hand. It felt instantly familiar like I had known her well beyond this life.”
Here is a prose poem by Michael to stir your senses:
I think somewhere in a parallel world we made love in a garden of wilted flowers. Our trembling hands reaching out toward the sky, trying to grasp the last watery rays of a dying sun—two hearts colliding and shattering into a million tiny stars.
ELIZABETH BISHOP and ROBERT LOWELL
Our last couple is a testament to a lifelong friendship and “one of the great poetic correspondences” of the Western literary canon. I’m talking about the beautiful relationship between Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell. Their union is the perfect antidote for those wanting to celebrate Valentine’s Day without the need for a romantic partner.
Lowell and Bishop corresponded for three decades and considered each other the best poets of their generation. While Lowell fell in love with Bishop, she remained only a friend as the romantic interest was unrequited, but in the letters there was still the current of a “creative courtly love.” In one letter, Lowell wrote to Bishop, “I think I must write entirely for you.” In another, he confesses: “I seem to spend my life missing you!” Both dedicated famous poems to each other: Lowell wrote the autobiographical and powerful poem, “Skunk Hour” and dedicated it to Bishop, and Bishop wrote “The Armadillo” and dedicated it to Lowell. Their epistolary affection was always at a distance and had to traverse continents and oceans, but it was that physical barrier that also created one of the last remnants of the golden age of letter writing.
Whether you cuddle with the warmth of your partner on Valentine’s Day or whether your night is filled with your favorite show or book of poetry, I hope you enjoy this special day that offers a tribute to three of life’s greatest pleasures: love, sensuality, and romance.