“I chose to associate experiences with color because they go hand in hand,” says Borden. “The title speaks for itself, and the association between the two emphasized the goal I had for the book.
“‘Hueman’ is about the human experience through a personal and universal lens,” the Flushing native added. “The complexities of what makes us human are detailed through color and metaphor.”
She started writing the unique book in November 2018, taking a deep dive into the writing process. It took 18 months to complete.
“During that time,” Borden recalls, “I did a lot of research on color theory and color psychology. I also did a lot of reading from diverse poetry book authors.”
Each chapter is coded by color, with each hue representing a type of experience. Rather than accompany poems with illustrations, Borden borders them with colored pillars. She uses gradients to convey mood, as well as blend one poem with the next.
The entire body work is both intentional and meaningful, but Borden is not without her selection of favorites.
“I love ‘I’m Only Hueman’ from chapter White because I wrote it at my old job at Color Factory NYC,” explains Borden. “The moment for writing this poem felt like a volcano.
“First I was hit with inspiration and then like lava the words were flowing out of me,” she continued. “Interestingly enough, the first draft of this poem was written on a napkin.
“My other favorite is ‘Lavender Oil’ from chapter Violet because it feels light and was effortless and almost romantic to write,” she adds. “The poem ‘Obsidian’ in chapter Black is another favorite because I feel that I pushed myself as a writer. ‘Obsidian’ was written on the E train when I was headed to my old internship at the New York Amsterdam News.”
For Borden, who studied journalism at St. John’s University, hosts a podcast called “The Amber Alert” that empowers the Black community. Publishing a book is an important milestone in her trajectory as a writer and storyteller.
“I made my dreams of becoming an author come true with my debut poetry collection,” she notes. “Publishing it on April 23 holds great significance. Not only is 23 my favorite number, but April 23 is also National Book Day.”