Rating: ★★★★ (4 stars)
Title: Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe
Poet: Flose Boursiquot
Where to buy: Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe
Summary: “Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe offers poetry that is defiant, pained, evocative, visceral, and emotionally charged. It covers everything from childhood sexual trauma, politics, love, culture, feminism, loss, and nature with moving imagery.” (Source: Goodreads)
Content warnings: blood imagery, death, sexual abuse, mention of rape, violence, mention of suicide, racism, mention of machete, mention of gun, war, expletives, suicide imagery.
What I liked…
Flose Boursiquot’s debut poetry collection is intense, it addresses a variety of issues which are often difficult to read, but Bourisquot ensures you read on. The poetry collection is described as “a memoir salted in fiction” in the preface, which I found to be a rather accurate illustration. Although Close Your Eyes, Now Breathe is defined as autobiographical, the poet draws on issues which affect people from all walks of life. However, I must stress that the collection is a must read in terms of intersectionality.
Boursiquot mystifies me with some of her lines, but in a good way:
some places are darker than others,
but i hear it’s better to be someplace
rather than no place.
Boursiquot’s poem, Places, undoubtedly stands out due to its ambiguous quality. The “places” may be people, realities, or even simply a space. When I read “someplace”, I originally thought it was a spelling mistake, but then I thought that it could pertain to a specific location. Also, notice how “no place” is spaced; in contrast to “someplace”, the spacing between the words is significant. The lack of spacing in “someplace” portrays an idea of closeness, safety, or perhaps intimacy, as the speaker suggests that it is better to be there. Whereas, in the last line of the poem, the spacing (which you wouldn’t normally pay attention to) of “no place” suggests a sense of isolation, loneliness, or even silence. But if you look at the poem in its entirety, the speaker favours the “darker” space which is “someplace”. Why does the speaker favour the darker place? Are other places too bright? (I am perplexed, but that is a good thing!)
Ambiguity is a prevalent theme of Boursiquot’s collection. Here are some other lines that have stayed with me:
It hangs from my heart like a nightmare
Reading this line was like seeing myself.
A line hidden under my pillow
Yet again, I identified with Boursiquot’s words. I am often inspired late at night, and sometimes it upsets me.
What I disliked…
The collection is written from personal experiences, so I found some of the poems unintelligible. Also, some of the poems did not move like the others, but that happens.
Why did I read it?
I am in love with poetry and I believe it is important to support indie authors!
Does the poet have other works?
I do believe Flose is working on her next poetry collection.
If you enjoy authentic, stirring poetry that takes you to another “place”, then this is for you.
– Melissa Jennings