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Mikey Cody Apollo to kick off first book tour for ‘Opposite of a Suicide Note’ at A Room of One’s Own Bookstore

Mikey Cody Apollo (Photo supplied.)

On Tuesday, July 9, Mikey Cody Apollo’s first-ever book tour for her poetry collection, Opposite of a Suicide Note, which blends poetry, prose, and visual art, will begin at A Room of One’s Own bookstore on Madison’s East Side. She will be joined by poet and filmmaker Haley Alexis King. 

Born and raised in Milwaukee, Apollo is a writer, filmmaker, educator, and sex-positive feminist who has been performing spoken word poetry since she was in middle school. As a student of Milwaukee’s High School of the Arts, she competed on their slam poetry team for all four years of high school. After graduating, she joined the Still Waters Collective in the city. “That was a huge push for me to continue doing it post-high school,” she explained.

While Apollo has always loved writing, she notes that spoken word is unique in its ability to create community. “It’s such a fun way to tell stories, and to me, poetry can fall into an elitist thing,” she said. “What spoken word does is it specifically gives Black folks, brown folks, queer folks — folks who often are searching for community — something [that] just feels so community-driven,” she said.

Apollo’s first book of poetry came out of a college project that she self-published 7 years ago. Black Girls, Silence, and Other Things Made of Gold’s publication led to an exciting string of events, including being assigned as required reading for a class at Marquette University. 

Since then, Apollo has consistently been writing, completing long-term exercises like the National Poetry Month 30/30 Challenge (in which poets write one poem a day for the length of April), but she was anxious about what many writers call the “sophomore slump” — the fear that the success of a debut project can’t be replicated.

“I was really nervous,” Apollo explained. “I was like, ‘I don’t know if I’ll be able to do this again,’ if lightning can strike twice type of thing,” she said. 

Despite these worries, Opposite of a Suicide Note presents itself as a strong, cohesive project, which Apollo describes as “conversation-driven.” In it, Apollo writes about her experiences with PMDD, or premenstrual dysphoric disorder, which she was diagnosed with at 22 years old. At the book launch party back in March, Apollo did a menstrual product drive which amassed over 2,000 donated products. 

With Opposite of a Suidice Note, Apollo hopes to not only bring PMDD into a more mainstream conversation, but serve as a guide for other people grappling with similar health issues.

“I’m just hoping that other folks who maybe are struggling with any type of mental illness, but specifically PMDD because it’s not talked about very often, [can find this helpful],” she said. “I wish I had something to reference or look to when I was trying to figure out what was up.”

This gift of fostering community permeates through many parts of Apollo’s life, including her day job at the nonprofit commons Mitchell Street Arts Collective, where she recently joined as co-executive director and head of public programs. In this work, Apollo strives to “work with artists at all different stages.” 

“It is awesome to be able to meet a bunch of cool artists who I probably would not have met otherwise but also be able to be like, ‘How can we make this what you want it to be?’” she explained.

Mikey Cody Apollo
(Photo supplied.)

Like much of Apollo’s work, Opposite of a Suidice Note was made collaboratively, with her friend, Yesicca Jimenez, designing the cover, and her other friend, Rodney Johnson, taking her author photo. “It just became so much bigger than myself,” Apollo said. 

Tuesday’s event is no exception to the wonders of Apollo’s seemingly boundless community. She’s particularly excited to be sharing her work at A Room of One’s Bookstore, which she’s been following on social media for years.

“It’s wild to even think that I’ll be performing in that space,” Apollo shared. “[They’ve] given me free books because they do the Black Bookish Wonder [project] every February, so it’s just a nice full-circle moment.”

Apollo is also looking forward to sharing the stage with Haley Alexis King, whom she met doing slam poetry all the way back in high school. “I, as a writer, could not exist without being friends with other writers. It can’t just be about me,” she said. “I’m excited to be able to do this alongside people I care about and that I love.”

After stopping in Madison, Apollo’s book tour will continue at Bound to Happen Books in Stevens Point, and will later have stops in New Orleans. 

Opposite of a Suicide Note: An Evening of Poetry will take place at A Room of One’s Own (2717 Atwood Avenue) on Tuesday, July 9 at 6 p.m.