The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

The student news site of James Bowie High School

The Dispatch

FAFSA delays cause missed chances
FAFSA delays cause missed chances
Madeleine Travis, Commentary Editor • June 9, 2024

Put yourself in a scenario where you’re applying for college and the thing that could make or break your acceptance just got delayed until December. All of your plans were to apply to college in October...

SHELVES STOCKED: The party section at Daiso Japanese retail store is stocked with numerous festive items. The store is located in Sunset Valley.
Daiso Japanese retail store location opened in Austin
Bentlee Toland, Review Editor • June 8, 2024

The bright lights shine on the customers filled with excitement after waiting in line to enter the new Daiso Japanese store at The Sunset Valley  5400 Brodie Ln Ste 990, Austin, TX 78745. It’s 10,000...

Distinguished Sites Banner

Poet debuts with dynamic publication


PRODUCT OF IMAGINATION: Raven Kemenesi reads The Murder in My Garden, her self-published poetry book that delves into her introspective thoughts. She found inspiration for her poetry in everyday life, the experience of growing up, and nature; such as the roses that surround her. (Charlotte Schwarte)

A glow lights senior Raven Kemenesi’s face as she studies the computer in front of her. She types word after word out, silently mouthing the words to test the sound. After the last period, a poem sits on the screen, ready to join its relatives on other pages.

On May 1, Raven Kemenesi published a poetry book consisting of 26 poems describing the trials of growing up, womanhood, and the personal reflections of the author herself. It is available online at Amazon, titled The Murder in My Garden.

“Writing poetry helps me process my emotions, my thoughts and my feelings,” Kemenesi said. “It’s reflecting on things I’ve gone through, reflecting on things that I could have gone through if something happened differently.”

Kemenesi started writing poetry around age 14, but has dedicated herself to many arts and hobbies throughout her life.

“Ever since I was really little I wanted to become a published author,” Kemenesi said. “I knew that I wanted to publish something, whatever that may be. I’ve tried writing novels, to no success. But then I got into poetry.”

Due to the poem quantity, The Murder in My Garden is classified as a poetry chapbook, a small printed booklet that historically was a popular form of street literature.

“It’s not a linear process, writing a book,” Kemenesi said. “It’s very much up and down and all over the place. There’s a lot of overthinking that can go into it.”

BOOK COVER: The cover of The Murder in My Garden, written by Raven Vervain. Max Diaz designed the cover using gothic elements from the book to inspire them. (Max Diaz)

Kemenesi used the book not only as a creative release, but is also donating 25% of the profits from each sold book to Pet Peace of Mind. This is a national non-profit program that cares for the pets of hospice patients during their illness.

“I think a big thing that is so apparent when you meet Raven is her passion for what inspires her,” Peer Assistance, Leadership, and Service (PALS) sponsor Jacqueline Gonzalez said. “That was so evident in her interview for PALS that she cares deeply about things and her heart is gold.”

A common theme among her peers and teachers is their opinion that Kemenesi has a determination towards her goals and what she’s passionate about.

“Raven’s a go-getter, if she wants to do something she’s going to, like the book,” senior Rosemarie Nevland said. “She’s also really good at getting people together for an event and connecting people. She’s a very cheerful, great person all around.”

Nevland is one of multiple credited artists in The Murder in My Garden, all of whom contributed to the gothic theme with illustrated artwork and photography. Senior Max Diaz is another friend and artist who participated, specifically making the cover art.

“It’s so cool that one of my friends has published a book, and I’m very proud of her,” Diaz said. “I hope that she gains some sort of success from it, and that people recognize her work.”

As many authors do, Kemenesi took a pseudonym to publish the book under. She was undecided between similar surnames but eventually settled on Raven Vervain for a variety of reasons.

“I had been struggling to create a solid pen name,” Kemenesi said. “I ended up picking Vervain because I thought it would be cool to have the same name as a plant that is surrounded in so much mythology and was considered sacred by the ancient Greeks.”

Written on the back of the book and its description on Amazon, Kemenesi wrote a couple of sentences under her pen name that she says reflects her feelings towards the anticipation of her book being read.

“Wherever this book may go, so does my soul and memory,” Kemenesi said. “Through that, I will live on this Earth for eternity. Handle this version of me with care.”

Writing poetry helps me process my emotions, my thoughts, and my feelings.

— Raven Kemenesi, Senior

The Murder in My Garden deals with a vast array of topics, all purposefully or inadvertently chosen during Kemenesi’s process of reflecting within herself and expressing those thoughts into her writing.

“I talked a lot about death in this book, because it’s something that I thought a lot about growing up, confronting my mortality,” Kemenesi said. “There’s a lot about mental health, and what it means to be a girl growing into a woman in our society. I use a lot of figurative language of nature, because I feel a really huge connection with nature and I love it so much and I see so much beauty in it and I wanted that reflected in my poetry.”

To convey the themes that Kemenesi felt drawn to, the book featured artwork by Rosemarie Nevland, Max Diaz, Grace Hooks, and Olivia DeVore.

“I read through the poems and I thought through what images she made with her words and I found specific things that stuck out or seemed thematic for the book,” Nevland said.

The Murder in my Garden is self-published, using Kindle Direct Publishing, an Amazon run platform that allows users to publish their literary works for profit in 10 countries and 45 languages.

“I wanted to make my younger self proud,” Kemenesi said. “I’ve always wanted to publish, and I haven’t entered adulthood fully yet. So why not make her proud? And I feel like I absolutely have.”

Kemenesi’s extracurriculars span from guitar to Spanish Honor Society, and she has implemented poetry into her community by creating a group of around a dozen people that meet to share their own literary works.

“I love that she has the confidence to put herself out there,” Diaz said. “She is setting up these poetry readings and I really admire that.”

The Murder in My Garden is the cumulation of Kemenesi’s time writing, organizing, and planning, whether in PALS or through the poetry readings.

“I hope this book brings Raven a sense of pride and accomplishment every time she sees the cover,” Gonzalez said. “Not many 18-year-olds can say they’re a published writer, and recognition of that effort and passion is so important.”

After graduating, Kemenesi plans to attend Austin Community College (ACC) studying psychology and continuing to write poetry. She offered some words of advice for aspiring authors.

“Do whatever you want,” Kemenesi  said. “It’s your book, it doesn’t matter what other people think. Because at the end of the day, you do this for yourself, not for anybody else. You want to attract an audience that is there for you and your poetry.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Dispatch
Our Goal

Your donation will support the student journalists of James Bowie High School. Your contribution will help cover our annual website hosting costs. Any contributions made through this service are NOT tax deductible. If you would like to make a tax deductible donation OR to subscribe to our print edition, please contact us at [email protected].

More to Discover
Donate to The Dispatch
Our Goal

Comments (0)

Comment and tell us what you thought of the story:
All The Dispatch Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *