Book Feature: Amanda Karch ‘Her Favorite Color Was Sunshine Yellow’
“Don’t be afraid to be the one who loves the most.”
From the first page of ‘her favorite color was sunshine yellow’, Amanda Karch is unapologetically positive with her storytelling that will unleash the reader on a wild journey. And although every writer struggles to tell their story in ways that may take some time to weave together the perfect story, this book is no exception in the sense each poem is crafted with rawness and incredible imagery that brings the entire story to life.
It’s a gorgeous poetry collection as it describes meeting someone and the uncertainty of falling in love, up until Karsh writes “someday, I know the only commute I’ll have to you is to the other side of the bed,” which feels endearing and shows a lot of potential giving off the love vibes we crave most with a lover.
Discussing a long-distance relationship is highly important to shine more light and open conversation around this topic - especially during these uncertain times of living in a pandemic. When Karsh writes, “if I try hard enough, I can feel the ghost of your lips touching mine,” it’s a delicately intriguing line that many will resonate with.
Karch documents the things she left behind since meeting her love, describing the anxious and overwhelming thoughts to search for answers, ending the poem with, “you fill my world with color.” As the book progresses, it’s clear this love is a love of the ages and reading this story will tickle the reader’s heart.
The theme of ‘sunshine yellow’ was present throughout the entire debut poetry collection, that with Karch’s choice of words it will hook the readers in immediately. It’s a beautifully, touching read that showcases the writer’s intention to be brutally honest with her creativity, in-turn creating a wonderful book based on love and romance.
When reading this poetry collection, there is a lot of room for interpretation and appreciation as it’s truly meaningful and uplifting. There’s a beautiful flow over the around 100 page book that is intriguing that will find the reader getting lost in the story, until the last page. It’s a comforting and refreshing read that showcases Karsh’s strengths as a poet, especially for a debut poetry collection.
Amanda Karch has been writing poems for over seven years but only just begun to share them with the world, once she felt the desire to share the words that give her a voice and a lifetime of happiness. She is a Massachusetts-based poet with a penchant for sunsets, beaches, and running when she does not have a pen in hand.
Words by Danielle Holian
Tell us a bit about your writing background.
I’ve always loved writing but it originally started off as stories, with the dream of publishing a novel someday. There weren’t many stories that I actually ended up completing, so I was left with so many half-filled notebooks. Eventually, around the beginning of high school, I started writing poetry and posting it on Tumblr anonymously because I needed a place to keep it besides my notes app but I was too nervous to attach my name to it. I was on and off with writing poetry for years - going through phases of writing every day and then months without anything - until the past 7 months or so. Then I decided that I actually wanted to pursue my dreams of publishing a book and, from then, I have written at least a little something every day.
What, or who, inspired you to start writing?
My poetry has been inspired primarily by my boyfriend. It’s what I use to express feelings that somehow aren’t explainable in any other way. I have had a couple poetic influences over the years - primarily, Emily Dickinson and Langston Hughes are two poets that I remember reading when I was young and I have had prints of their poems in a binder since I was probably 11 years old.
And what influenced your book ‘her favourite colour was sunshine yellow’?
Again, this book was solely about the relationship between my boyfriend and I. It explores the ups and downs of a sometimes-long distance relationship. That’s where the “sunshine yellow” comes from - it’s that feeling of happiness and love that never leaves, despite any distance between you and the one you love.
How do you find the balance between writing about your own personal experiences and exploring topics that may not necessarily be autobiographical, but still speak to so many people?
If I’m being honest, 99% of what I write is something I am experiencing. Whether it’s my own personal story, or what I am witnessing in the world, it is all something true and honest. I think writing is more authentic and appealing to people when it’s about something personal, and that’s what poetry is to me - personal. I do try to see what my followers on Instagram want to read by offering polls and questions, but the options I offer are always something I can understand and actually write about. I definitely think that you have to appeal to your followers, but they also followed you initially for a reason - for posting the content that you are passionate about, and I try to stay true to that mindset.
What makes a piece of your writing right to post on your Instagram, versus the ones that stay in the book only?
Some of the pieces that I was most proud of in my book are pieces that are not on my Instagram - they are the most personal, the most honest and feeling, and I felt like they deserved nowhere else but in print. They were the first poems I wrote that I knew would be in my book, so they’re special to me in that way. I also tend to see that my writing on Instagram is a little shorter because I know that the algorithm definitely likes shorter pieces, but I also just try to write what I want. Obviously, it has to be readable and legible if it’s longer, and people don’t tend to like the multi-slide approach if it’s too many slides, but I try to match my post to my mood for the day and whatever is inspiring me at the moment.
And finally, what advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I have two main pieces of advice. The first is to just write. Every day. No matter how long or short the time is - just 10 minutes a day will get you into the habit of writing and you will improve immensely. Plus, it can be a great outlet for stress or other emotions that appear during the day. Even if it is a pure rant or something incoherent, you usually can pull thoughts or ideas out of the mess and turn it into something beautiful or usable. My second piece of advice would be to always carry a notebook. I know most people have phones always with them and, yes, I do a lot of writing in my notes app, but there is something really satisfying about writing a random idea or thought or line down in a physical journal. Plus, it is much easier for them to stay in one place if they are all contained in one notebook. You never know when inspiration will strike and I never knew how true this was until I started carrying around my notebook everywhere.