Literature Reviews

Review: All the Things I Never Said by Mae Krell

all the things i never said

Rating: ★★ (2 stars)

Title: All The Things I Never Said

Poet: Mae Krell

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: All The Things I Never Said is a collection of poetry and journal-like entries. Throughout the pages you will experience heartbreak, happiness, sadness, and be reminded of what it was like to be a teenager. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: body negativity, loss, substance abuse, self-harm, death, suicide, cancer, addiction, eating disorder.


My thoughts 

This collection was difficult to rate as due to its autobiographical nature, it was truthful, yet it lacked clarity, impact, and coherence. In their introduction, Mae Krell describes the difficulty of putting words down on paper and how we need to simply jot everything down for future reference, which is great advice in my opinion, however, the poetry/prose collection was simply not precise enough for me to connect to Krell’s thoughts.

(TW: suicide, self-harm, cancer) One of Krell’s poems stood out to me for all the wrong reasons:

All the suicidal kids
with all their cuts and pills
no matter how hard they try
they just can’t get it right
because they were born to live
All the cancerous kids
with all their smiles and tears
no matter how hard they try
they just can’t get it right
because they were born
to die

– Suicidal and Cancerous

Using cancerous as an adjective was not a good choice, Krell could have used destructive instead as my mind automatically went to cancer. As I read the last stanza, I was disgusted that the poet insinuated that people who have cancer “were born to die”. The word choice and construction of this particular poem was horrific and ultimately brought my rating down a star.

Why did I read it?

I am intrigued by the “unspoken” in poetry.

Does the poet have other works?

According to Goodreads, no.

Overall…

This collection needs a lot of editing as it was repetitive in places and lacking impact.

If you like autobiographical poetry, then this is for you.


What is your editing process?

Let me know below!


Connect with me:

 Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Ko-Fi


Literature Reviews

Review: You Are The Map by Michelle Tudor

you are the map (2)

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Title: You Are The Map

Poet: Michelle Tudor

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: In the winter of a love story, feelings become your guide. But as worlds shift and seasons change, memories last forever. Twenty-five poems follow this journey; a map to the heart of relationships. Through lust and love to despair and descent. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: themes of loneliness, loss, intimacy, depression.


My thoughts

I originally gave this collection four stars, but after returning to review it, I couldn’t believe the difference in how I felt – I think the variable was my mood. When I first read Tudor’s collection, I was settling down for bed and wanted to unwind, so I decided to read something short and sweet. Then, upon my second reading today, I was interested in why I gave this collection four stars as I don’t tend to give poetry collections four stars that often (I think anyway), so I reread and was moved deeply by this collection. I literally felt my heart ache with the speaker who was experiencing a breakdown of a passionate relationship. Tudor’s control of language was poetically devastating.

Here are some of my favourite lines from Tudor’s collection:

the rise and fall of your chest

like the waxing and waning of the

moon

– Tsuki

Moon metaphors are among my favourite, but this particular metaphor is stunning as it emphasises the intimacy of the relationship as well as its heightened/supernatural nature.

You walk like the sun bleeds only for you

(and I know that it does)

– Youth

Youth is one of Tudor’s most powerful poems in this collection. This line stood out to me due to the reply in the following parenthesis, it overwhelmed me. For me, the line articulates the idea of someone having such a strong presence that it is destructive, and this can be taken both literally and metaphorically. Although the line begins in a critical tone with the speaker commenting on the addressee’s arrogance, the speaker contradicts their criticism, which suggests the intensity of their feelings towards the addressee.

Why did I read it?

Michelle Tudor’s poetry collection was originally published by Platypus Press and I have enjoyed some of their publications, such as Prelude to Light by Venetta Octavia and Wishing for Birds by Elizabeth Hewer (yet to review).

Does the poet have other works?

Michelle Tudor has written a short story collection titled Miyoko & Other Stories, a chapbook titled The Quieting, and contributed to a short story anthology titled Tell Me a Tale. 

Overall…

Michelle Tudor is a powerful poet and I look forward to reading more of their work. If you enjoy fervid, gripping love poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings


What makes love poetry powerful for you?

Let me know below!


Connect with me:

 Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Ko-Fi


Literature Reviews

Review: Inky Black Woman by Mina Aidoo

inky black woman

Rating: ★★★ (3 stars)

Title: Inky Black Woman

Poet: Mina Aidoo

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: ‘Inky Black Woman’ is the debut poetry collection by London Based artist, choreographer and poet, Mina Aidoo. In this collection, Mina explores themes of identity, the body and gender. Her work considers humanity’s relationship with our environment, ourselves and our psyches. This poetry is for all those who are not afraid to play in the vast range of emotions that form the human experience. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: themes of gore, injury, pain, sexual language, sexual imagery, sexual objectification.


My thoughts

Mina Aidoo’s debut poetry collection had moments of stunning expression, but I struggled with the majority of the poetry book. I found Aidoo’s writing style rather erratic as some of the lines seemed abrupt and sudden; I felt myself having to reread over Aidoo’s poems.

There was one particular line that stood out to me and affected me greatly:

The light, wasn’t as bright

as I remembered.

– Easter

The placement of the comma creates a stillness in this observation, it is almost as if the stanza isn’t actually referring to “light” in a literal manner, but perhaps in a metaphorical way for the speaker. The line altogether is incredibly stirring and bittersweet.

Why did I read it?

I came across the collection on Kindle Unlimited and the cover was quite noticeable!

Does the poet have other works?

According to Goodreads, no.

Overall…

Inky Black Woman was, at times, all right to read, but it wasn’t my kind of poetry.

If you enjoy provocative, tumultuous poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings


What is your favourite style of poetry?

Let me know below!


Connect with me:

 Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Ko-Fi


Literature Reviews

Review: Through the looking glass by Leah Mainwaring

through the looking glass

Rating: ★★ (2 stars)

Title: Through the Looking Glass

Poet: Leah Mainwaring

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Amazon

Summary: Delve into the inner secret world of ” The looking glass “, this contemporary poetry Anthology uses reflections of nature and abstract concepts to convey our inner selves, introspection and worldly observations. An honest use of all ranges of self expression, from peaceful sunshine serenity to searing passion and morose melancholy. The imagery created through nature adds a refreshing quality throughout with insightful concepts of true depth. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: schizophrenia, themes of loneliness.


My thoughts 

For me, nature poetry has to do much more than descriptions, I have to connect with the imagery which this collection failed to do. I feel that Leah Mainwaring’s writing style would fit perfectly into a work of prose as the poems are rather personal and introspective and the thoughts in the poems could be fleshed out.

In addition, throughout the collection, there were also a few spelling and grammatical errors which were jarring to read. With regards to form, Mainwaring’s poetry would have benefitted with lesser rhyme schemes as the majority of their poetry felt forced.

Why did I read it?

Through the Looking Glass caught my attention while scrolling through Kindle. The title reminded me of Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

Does the poet have other works?

According to Goodreads, no.

Overall…

I just didn’t like Mainwaring’s writing style or poetry content. If you like rhyming nature poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings


Do you like poetry that rhymes?

Let me know below!


Connect with me:

 Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Ko-Fi


Literature Reviews

Review: on the border by Darshana Suresh

on the border

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Title: on the border

Poet: Darshana Suresh

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Payhip (it’s actually free!)

Summary: A collection of poetry about borderline personality disorder.

Content Warnings: mental illness, self-harm, suicide, suicidal ideations.


My thoughts

on the border is an incredibly honest collection of poetry from beginning to end. Although I do not have BPD, I identified with each poem and recognised myself within Suresh’s metaphors and precise thoughts; as someone who suffers from depression, anxiety, and mood instability, I felt so understood. I strongly recommend this collection to anyone who has mental illnesses and struggles with them every day, as this chapbook discusses the feelings of a person who endures mental illness every single damn day.

There are only ten poems in Suresh’s chapbook, but it has been one of the most impactful reads this year, for me personally. Poem #6 was a particular favourite as Suresh alludes to one of my favourite poems of all-time, ‘The Hollow Men’ by T. S. Eliot:

like eliot said,

this is the way the world ends

quietly, quietly, like leaves

turning away from the sun,

six, p.10

This particular poem was so immersive and saddening; a bittersweet thought of leaving the world quietly without anyone really noticing.

Why did I read it?

It was free and recommended on Tumblr.

Does the poet have other works?

Darshana Suresh has written other poetry collections, Sugarplum, Wolf Blood, and Fleur.

Overall…

Darshana Suresh’s words moved me to tears. I needed to read her words. If you enjoy honest, distinct poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings


What was the last poetry book to move you to tears?

Let me know below!


Connect with me:

 Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Ko-Fi


 

my poetry

Poem: Forgive My Hell by Melissa Jennings

FORGIVE MY HELL BY MELISSA JENNINGS.png

there is light buried in my ribcage

flowing and burning through the cracks

I feel so alive.

I feel like I’m on fire.

isn’t that the same thing?

This poem is from my next poetry book, Underworld, which will be released in 2018. Make sure to add Underworld to your TBR list on Goodreads!

If you would like to read some more of my poetry, check out my debut collection, Afterlife, which is available in paperback and in ebook on Amazon.


What do you think of ‘Forgive My Hell’?

Let me know below!


Connect with me:

 Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Ko-Fi


 

Literature Reviews

Review: Survive Like the Water by Lydia Havens

survive like the water

Rating: ★★★★★ (5 stars)

Title: Survive Like the Water

Poet: Lydia Havens

Genre: Poetry

Where to buy: Rising Phoenix Press

Summary: In her debut poetry collection, Lydia Havens explores how mental illness, grief, and abuse have correlated in her own life, and in the patterns, she observes in the rest of the world. Divided into four thematic parts, Survive Like the Water describes trauma using everyday occurrences and objects, and asks necessary questions about healing as a lifelong process. (Source: Goodreads)

Content Warnings: mental illnesses, intrusive thoughts, traumatic experiences, low self-esteem, death.


My thoughts

Oh my stars. I love this collection with all of my heart. As someone who suffers from depression and anxiety, I felt understood. As someone who isn’t always able to articulate their thoughts, I felt myself being expressed by someone else. How ridiculous is that? It’s a good kind of ridiculous. Reading Survive like The Water was incredibly nourishing.

What does it say about me, and the fact

that there are still mornings,

ten months later, where I wake up

and mistake the sound of my own breathing

for ambulance sirens?

– During the Worst of it, p.21

The way Havens’ articulates so much in little images and ideas is simply breathtaking. Literally, I never felt more understood by a poet or a person for that matter. In this particular poem, Havens discusses how health professionals often treat people with mental illnesses, even our own families, and the speaker is horrified more with them than their own mental health.

Why did I read it?

The title intrigued me. Anything linked to water gets me interested.

Does the poet have other works?

Lydia Havens has written GIRLS INVENT GODS, Warrior Worrier, and Evolution & Revolution.

Overall…

Havens’ collection is a favourite of mine. If you like dark, emotive poetry, then this is for you.

– Melissa Jennings


Have you ever felt understood by a poet?

Let me know!

Connect with me: Twitter / Goodreads / Facebook / Ko-Fi