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Award-winning poet and author J. Ivy’s new book addresses an all too familiar story of how the absence of a father has an impact on a child’s life even through adulthood.

In Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of PainIvy not only addresses the void of growing up without a father, the poet offers his own story as a blueprint to help others heal from that pain.

Ivy recently sat down with Roland Martin, host of NewsOne Now, to talk about his new book and the One Million Letters Written, One Million Hearts Healed campaign.

The Chicago native explained his father and mother separated when he was approximately twelve years of age. For about eleven years, he did not communicate with this father.

At the age of 23, Ivy said they reconnected. He told Martin he was grateful he was able to get a point where he could forgive his father for being absent. A year and a half after their reconciliation, Ivy’s father passed away.

Going through this “rollercoaster of emotions” led him to write a poem as an outlet for the pain.

Even though they were able to reconcile, Ivy’s father never explained why he was absent despite living “up the street.”

When asked what he would say to a man who is not in their child’s life, Ivy said, “It is very important that you connect with your child no matter what the circumstance is, no matter what the relationship is with the mother.”

He continued, “It is so important and vital to the future of your child that you’re there in their life — they need that, they need that love. They need those lessons, they need that guidance that only that father can give them.”

In speaking about his letter writing campaign, Ivy said they are looking to get any and everyone involved, regardless of their relationship with their father, to write letters “to help inspire healing and forgiveness through the art of letter writing.” 

A statement on explains this practice “can help reconnect families and communities” with the hopes of preventing the cycle of imbalance from being passed to the next generation.

Watch Roland Martin and award-winning poet J. Ivy discuss his new book, Dear Father: Breaking the Cycle of Pain and the One Million Letters Written, One Million Hearts Healed letter campaign in the video clip above.

Watch NewsOne Now with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes.


Author/Poet J. Ivy’s New Book & Initiative Addresses The Impact Of An Absent Father  was originally published on