#ReadAtlantic 2SLGBTQIA+ VOICES Staff Pick: Darcey Picks How to be Alone
How to Be Alone
Tanya Davis, illustrated by Andrea Dorfman
I first watched Tanya Davis’ How to Be Alone on YouTube before reading the print edition of the poem. Both are beautifully artistic. The illustrations by Andrea Dorfman have a bold and lasting effect that blends seamlessly with Davis’s long poem.
Davis has a natural talent for stringing words together and letting the reader absorb what they need. I could read this book every morning and find new meaning in its pages. Poetry evokes emotions and Davis’s work echoes that.
How to Be Alone is in essence what it reads, an encouragement that being alone is not inferior to being with people. Even though “society is afraid of alone,” you personally don’t have to be.
“You’ll find it’s fine to be alone, once you’re embracing it,” is a mantra I wish I read three years ago, but I’ve read it now. There is truly something for everyone in this long poem.
Moreover, this work comes at a time when the world is still existing in chaos. Where smaller circles and fewer human interactions are a normality. How to Be Alone can be a guide for those finding themselves alone more often and may help alleviate some of the negative feelings that come with time by yourself.
… alone is a feeling that breathes easy and weightless, and lonely is healing if you make it.
Ten years after How to be Alone went live on YouTube, Tanya Davis and Andrea Dorfman created a pandemic rendition of the long poem called How to Be at Home. It beautifully transforms How to Be Alone into a frame of coping with the new world as the pandemic hit. The adapted collaboration can be seen here.