Book is poet’s prequel to dissolution and new start

Photo by John Gessner

A lover of coffee and poetry, Burnsville resident Joy Horakova has published her second poetry collection, “The First Love.”

‘The First Love’ is author’s second collection 

“After what appeared to be an ending,” writes Joy Horakova, “give your heart an encore.”

She took her own advice. In March, the 28-year-old Burnsville resident married for the second time. And now Horakova has published a second book of poetry that serves as a prequel to her first.

“The First Love,” self-published through Dorrance Publishing Co., fills in the backstory to her first collection, “I Was Married,” a raw but redemptive rumination on a failed three and a half-year marriage.

“The First Love” is her chronological coming-of-age story, said Horakova, an in-home massage therapist who graduated from Burnsville High School in 2010.

“The question that I got often when writing my first book was, ‘What made you fall in love with that man you married?’ ” said Horakova, who is known to more than 5,000 Instagram followers for her MSP Coffee and Things page. “And I said, ‘That has to be a whole ’nother book. There’s so much backstory to it.’ ”

A trilogy of relationships is the source material for her poetry, which Horakova said is inspired in part by the self-revealing work of Rupi Kaur, a pioneer of the “instapoetry” movement that emerged with social media.

Her first love was a high school classmate. By age 20 Horakova was living in Australia, studying songwriting at Hillsong College in Sydney.

The relationship didn’t survive her two and a half years overseas.

“In ‘The First Love,’ the first section is completely about the first love,” Horakova said. “The second section is having to go to Australia and being on my own and carrying what I thought were understood expectations. The third section is finally letting go of that first love, being alone, meeting other people.”

She met her first husband, an American, at college, and the couple spent most of their years together living in Burnsville.

Their “crummy divorce” in spring 2018 sprung Horakova’s first book, gathered from “hundreds of journal entries, songs, laments, rants, text messages, prayers even,” she said.

Also published by Dorrance, “I Was Married” is an honest, sometimes shocking portrait of vulnerability and dissolution, according to the author.

“No abuse. No affair. Just a pattern of abandonment, I would say,” Horakova said.

It’s not what friends saw in the couple’s carefree social media postings.

“Social media is a highlight reel, and that’s what we were posting,” said Horakova, who viewed the book as a coping mechanism.

“I feel like the person I was married to could do no wrong in some people’s eyes,” said Horakova, who has more than 1,000 followers at her joyhkova poetry page on Instagram. “And so that left me a little bit victimized, or a culprit in a bad light. So of course I wanted to say my piece — with respect. You won’t find me name-calling or bashing anyone. I just wanted to say, ‘These are my experiences.’ ”

Nursing a cup of pumpkin cream cold brew at an Eagan coffee shop, Horakova revealed what her two books don’t.

“He’s 33, I’m 28. We both knew what we wanted,” said Horakova, who met her new husband, Patrick Austinson, on the dating site Bumble.

“He just might be the theme of my third book.”

“The First Love” and “I Was Married” are available on Amazon and at Barnes and Noble stores.

Load comments