Literature Reviews

Review: Semicolon ; by McKayla Debonis

semicolon ;

Rating: ★★★★★

Title: Semicolon ;

Author: McKayla Debonis

Genre: Poetry

Publication, 2017, Amazon Createspace

Content Warnings:  “anxiety, descriptions of panic attacks, sexual abuse/harassment, depression, suicidal tendencies, self-harm, body dysmorphia.” (Source: Author)

Summary: “A Collection of poetry that uncovers the raw and heavy emotions that come with anxiety, trauma, and other experiences.

Part two takes you into the healing, bringing the light, the meditation, the beauty in finding oneself after all the chaos has passed.

& finally, you’re left wanting to start your next chapter; the one that comes after the semicolon.” (Source: Goodreads)


My thoughts

I had the honour of being a beta reader for McKayla’s latest collection, and let me tell you, folks, YOU ARE IN FOR A RIDE. Semicolon is a beautiful poetry collection. Truly. However, do not be mistaken when I say “beautiful”, I do not mean the kind that is pleasing to the eye, I mean the kind that stares right into your soul and wakes you up.

The poetry collection is divided into two sections, or rather two separate “sentences” which are connected by a semicolon. The first section/sentence concerns a painful, numb existence. McKayla’s descriptions are tangible to the point you feel as if you are a spectator. There is haunting imagery throughout the first section, so please make sure to read the content warnings above. There are some poems which just blew me away upon first reading, I just stared at the page in awe. McKayla’s writing comes from a place of truth and that is evident.

i folded each edge seamlessly

carefully crafting my points

hiding myself away from the world

– in perfect creases, p.32

I connected with the majority of McKayla’s poetry. The collection ebbs and flows, just like a sentence. The collection transitions into a much brighter place where you feel yourself being repaired as each poem goes on. You are enchanted and uplifted into this new existence, but also reminded to remember that healing is not linear, that we must always remember to continue after a “semicolon”.

i’m falling back in love with the big heart

inside my chest

– loving myself all over again as if it’s brand new, p.55

This particular line in the second section struck a chord with me. I love this notion of falling in love with yourself and your heart, it is not something society teaches us explicitly. Having read the previous dark section of the book, this particular line felt like the “heart” of the collection. Pun intended!

This collection was so beautiful to read that I had a good cry after it, and some of McKayla’s words have stayed with me long after reading.


Why did I read it?

I loved McKayla’s first collection, Bones in the Garden, so I knew I had to be one of the first to read the latest poetry book!

Do I recommend this?

If you love cathartic, deep poetry, then this is for you. I loved reading this!

Does the author have other works?

YES! McKayla has written another poetry collection which was published earlier this year, titled Bones in the Garden. I reviewed it here.


Until next time,

Melissa (1)


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