Review: The Purple Palace (and other poems) by Shayna Klee

April McBride, Staff Writer

The cover for the book comes from Shayna’s performance art titled “Help!” that was preformed in Paris in 2018. (Credit: Shayna Klee)

The Purple Palace (and Other Poems) is the debut poetry book of Paris based artist and youtuber Shayna Klee. This book comes after building a reputation for herself both online and in the European art world as a cloudy force. Known for her fantastical and colorful paintings, sculptures, films and performance art. Post- graduating from art school in the fall of 2020 Shayna released her collection on Apr. 6 2021. It quickly became the #1 bestseller in the U.S. for women in poetry. The book is separated into two distinct sections that follow Shayna. The first set in northern Florida where she spent her childhood and tumultuous teenage years. The next sees her through a move to Paris, France in her early twenties where she worked as a babysitter and sees herself through art school, marriage, and divorce. 


Shayna being profiled as artist of the moth for Females BOLD Media in August 2020. Writer Mariah Colon writes “She has an extraordinary childlike and nostalgic feel in her paintings and sculptures. Shayna offers a different perspective on the world with her art, encapsulating you into her quirky universe. Her art showcase the beauty of the world and depict the exceptionally magical, surreal realm of life”. (Credit: Shayna Klee)

The book is also illustrated by Shayna in black and white pen-line black drawings. This contrasts to her editorial and professional artwork that usually are bright, textured and large abstract sculptures. These drawings are portraits of everyday life mixed with fantasy elements of her usual artwork, following the content of the poetry. There is a single balloon flying in a living room, a girl stuck inside her giant shell on the beach, and a messy apartment. 


This book has exceeded expectations for sales, sending itself to #1 in women in poetry after 3 days on the market. This puts Shayna placed next to Rupi Kaur, one of Shayna’s idols, “It’s so cool to see myself next to her, knowing how much she opened the world for women and women of color in poetry” (The Purple Place on Youtube).  


Shayna working on her sculptures on youtube in 2019. She graduted from Ateliers Beaux Arts school in Paris, France in fall of 2020 with notable work on her physical sculptures that are shown through their childlike and magical feeling, covered in bright colors and patterns. She now occupies a sought-after residency at the nun’s studios in Paris. (Credit: Shayna Klee)

This work is a beautiful debut that captures the spirit of Shayna’s artwork, video work, and her personal journey (that she has fully documented on Youtube). It all gets at our everyday childish fears that reside far past coming of age. This also shows an honest and realistic view of the pain that is occurring moving from our teenagehood and young adulthood to being settled into a rhythm and a relationship as time moves forward. We can maintain our ability to run and dance as children and still we have to deal with the little technicalities of adulthood and marriage.