13-year-old poet tackles social issues openly

Her 100 poem book confronts various issues that she feels should remain at the forefront of conversation, such as women’s rights, dealing with anxiety and shootings.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — As Mental Health Awareness Month comes to a close, one passionate 13-year-old is using self-expression to confront social issues. She also aims to encourage people to do the same.

Kate Robinson is a self-published author who has found her voice through writing poetry. With all that has happened in the world in recent years, she has found the need to express what’s on her mind about her even more.

“[I write poems] in restaurants, I’ll write them on the napkins or at school,” she said. “I’ll write them on a posted note and stuff them in my backpack, but I feel like people need to talk about these things more often and normalize them.”

Her book of 100 poems confronts a number of topics that she feels should remain at the forefront of conversation like girls and women’s rights, dealing with anxiety/depression and school shootings.

Kate said because the issues are so heavy, it has made her want to remind people that it is okay to be human and give grace where needed.

“I know a lot of us lost who we thought we were,” Robinson said. “Then after we were going back into the world, we had to come back and try to find ourselves again.”

This freedom of self-expression has a lot to do with the open conversations she has with her family.

With both parents working in the medical field during the pandemic, like many, Kate had no choice but to process her emotions the way she knew how to. Her dad, Giles Robinson said transparency has always been the priority. In fact, it is what has helped them remain close.

“We always wanted to let the kids know that there’s nothing off-limits and really there’s nothing too concerning to talk about,” Giles Robinson said. “I think you try and set that stage from the very beginning.”

Kate’s mom, Betsy Robinson added that because she and Giles had to work more than normal, they made sure to stay on one accord with their kids by paying attention to any changes.

“I think we kind of paid attention to their grades and their moods and nothing ever seemed to be missed, so we gave them their independence and their abilities to continue doing that,” Betsy said. “We didn’t really have a choice. We couldn’t stay home with them. We couldn’t change anything, so we just kept talking and things were still good.”

Those interested in Kate’s poetry can buy her book here.

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