Melissa Hekkers prefers to refer to her work as free verses as opposed to poems, as the definition of free verses suggests that they refrain from the “steady, abstract rhythm of traditional poetry. Its rhythms are based on patterned elements such as sounds, words, phrases, sentences, and paragraphs, rather than on the traditional prosodic units of metrical feet per line”.
As Hekkers explains, this enables her to ‘play’ with images and external factors that provoke the verses she explores and gives her the freedom to experiment with rhythm as well as with connotations and meanings. Looking deeper into the work, her verses are based on a balance of ten poems/verses which explore humanistic themes through feelings Hekkers believes “everyone experiences”. This coincides with the author’s notion that poetry is a must for everybody, especially if you consider that words are used to express the psyche and that poetry is a play on words, poetry writing or reading is a real attempt to express the inner being without the need of framing, cohesion or structure.
The verses are a selection of works which Hekkers has been writing since 2003, and which are seemingly transcendent in time. Reminiscent of a diary/ sketchpad, the book proposes to emit a diary or journal essence. Drawings, also by the author, accompany the poems in an aim to join this format, as a sketchbook would replace a diary in a visual form.
The poems are written in English.
Flying across red skies, Book for children, 2012
“Nereas is a determined little fish who dreams of one thing only: to fly across the open red, silky skies. An enchanting adventure leads him to his dream but also teaches him the importance of friendship and family and most importantly the feeling of returning home.”
The book is targeted to Children age 7 to 10. It is available in both English and Greek.
As the author explains, the way in which the book was written is “reversed”. Having taken twelve works of art from the collection of Cypriot artist Marlen Karletidou as a stimulus, Melissa Hekkers created a story based on the existent imagery of the paintings. The story that perhaps already existed as an idea and meaning was shaped through the personal view perceived by the writer. Instead of the visual imagination of the writer being put to words, the feelings imposed by the images, the colours and the order in which the author placed the images came to form a final output.
Crocodile, Book for Children, 2007
“Lara, an energetic little girl, full of ideas and ambition for life lives with her mother in a village called Petal.
Lara, being in the process of turning into a beautiful teenager was also a very naughty girl. If she isn’t scribbling on the walls, she was pulling her cat’s ears, hanging off the curtain drapes and seldom does she want to go to bed when the time comes…
Her mother, Olivia, in a state of despair, tries to find a solution. A secret word is invented and manages to make a difference, without realizing that Lara would, one day, throw it right back into Olivia’s face!”
Crocodile is based on a true story.
Crocodile was written by Melissa Hekkers, who emphasises on the communication and relationship which is created amongst a parent and a child and uses a title that attempts to change the stereotypes children may have attached to the animal in question.
The illustration was done using mixed media and touches such as photograph, collage, coloured pencils and paints. Emphasis was given to the creation of images from acrylic paints as well as the relation which is created with the text. The aim was to create an imaginary environment full of colours with a different approach to each scene.
Crocodile won the Illustration Award 2007 from Cultural Services of the Ministry of Culture and Education, Cyprus . It is available in both English and Greek.