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Get ready to hear from northern Illinois’ “prose pros." Poetically Yours airs Fridays during Here and Now at 12:31 and All Things Considered at 6:18 p.m. Hosted by WNIJ Arts Reporter Yvonne Boose, you will hear voices from northern Illinois poets as they share their words about the world around them. This weekly segment will give you a moment of pause and reflection as your wind down the week. If you would like to submit a poem for consideration, please send submissions to yboose@niu.edu

Poetically Yours Ep - 62 - Poems for Domestic Violence Awareness Month

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Provided by Karen Fullett-Christensen
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Karen-Fullett Christensen shares two of her domestic violence awareness poems.

Welcome to WNIJ's Poetically Yours. This segment showcases poems written by northern Illinois poets. This week features Aurora Poet Laureate Karen Fullett-Christensen.

Fullett-Christensen has been writing poetry and memory stories since high school and credits two of her English teachers, Mr. Vespo and Mr. Brown, for their encouragement and support. She has self-published over 20 manuscripts. Her poems and creative non-fiction have appeared in a variety of print and online publications and are available at no cost to anyone who requests copies.

She was born and raised on the North Side of Chicago, in the Albany Park and Budlong Woods neighborhoods. She is a 1968 graduate of Mather High School and a 1972 graduate of Northern Illinois University. She briefly attended graduate school at Governors State University. She has resided in several of Chicago’s south and west suburbs and in Missoula, Montana.

Fullett-Christensen has held a variety of jobs as a secretary, a teacher, a real estate agent and an urban planner. She retired in 2012 after 13 years as the City of Aurora's downtown development director and manager of the neighborhood redevelopment division. She was recognized as the Kane County Planner of the Year.

In 1996, she received an Earth Champion award from The Missoulian newspaper and three years later was presented with an Individual Award of Excellence from the Will/South Cook Soil & Water Conservation District. Fullett-Christensen was inducted into the Ely Chapter of Lambda Alpha International, an honorary land economics society, in 2001.

Fullett-Christensen is an active community volunteer and a member of Books and Bread, the Aurora Jewish Renewal Congregation, InterFaith Aurora and Aurora Downtown. She also co-founded a local writers’ group in 2013 called A-Town Poetics.

Fullett-Christensen and her husband Larry are avid travelers and enjoy classes and adventures with the Lifelong Learning Institute and Road Scholar at Waubonsee Community College.

Music is of great importance to Fullett-Christensen. She is a board member of the Fox Valley Music Foundation and has sung with the Fox Valley Festival Chorus for over ten years.

A proud mother and grandmother, Fullett-Christensen’s eldest daughter lives in Sheffield, England. Her younger daughter and granddaughter live in Evergreen Park, Illinois.

Fullett-Christensen was named as the City of Aurora’s first poet laureate in January of this year. The pandemic has delayed her planned poet laureate events but she continues to interact with the community through Facebook. Here she shares poetry from many area poets, as well as her own. Those interested in sharing their works can email her.

Fullett-Christensen is recognizing Domestic Violence Awareness Month with two of her poems “Can You Survive?” and “Personal Peace.”

Can You Survive?

The problem is that hurt erases happiness

like paper, scissors, rock

its hard surface crashes down

leaves your heart in splinters

Obliterates sweet memories

the reservoir takes twice as long to fill

each time the flood occurs

tears gush over spillway walls

Of course you will recover

since you are human, after all

you’re built for pain and suffering

hard-wired to rise up again

But sometimes it’s so difficult

to push your body off the mattress

shuffling off,

pretending everything is fine.

Personal Peace

Only you have the power to pull yourself back

the cliff looms ahead

despair pushes strongly, a furious wind

against your soft skin

Resources fail you

the sky opens up and soaks you with rain

the trees dance like demons

you just want to sleep

A heroic journey is not your style

digging deep to find your heart

seems too overwhelming

the banshees are screaming

Know that you have a choice

summon your colors

your greens and blues

make peace with yourself

  • Yvonne Boose is a current corps member for Report for America, an initiative of the GroundTruth Project. It's a national service program that places talented journalists in local newsrooms like WNIJ. You can learn more about Report for America at wnij.org.