ARC Mini-review: Pomegranate Seeds by Melissa Jennings

I was sent this book by the author as an advanced copy for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: A collection of 6 poems about finding out how much the heart can take and where it truly belongs. The poetry collection also explores the author’s personal journey towards realising that they are polyamorous.

This micro-chapbook discusses polyamphobia, internalised polyamphobia, sexual imagery, and emotional self-harm.

Release date: June 21st

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★★★★.5✩

This short poetry book features poems about the author’s experience being polyamorous.

Like with all personal poems, it’s not easy to talk about them if you don’t share the same life experiences or identity, but even without being able to relate to them on a personal level, and even as someone who doesn’t read much poetry lately (and generally doesn’t have much experience reading poetry in English), I loved the imagery used and I could really feel the author’s feelings coming to life on page.

Short review for a short book, but I think polyam people will be able to find a piece of themselves here more than I could, and everyone else will be able to enjoy (and discover, if this is your first work by Melissa Jennings) the author’s vivid style.

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ARC Mini Review: Honeybee by Trista Mateer

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary:

You will meet people in your lifetime who demand to have poems written about them. It’s not something they say. It’s something about their hands, the shape of their mouths, the way they look walking away from you. Honeybee is an honest take on walking away and still feeling like you were walked away from. It’s about cutting love loose like a kite string and praying the wind has the decency to carry it away from you. It’s an ode to the back and forth, the process of letting something go but not knowing where to put it down. Honeybee is putting it down. It’s small town girls and plane tickets, a taste of tenderness and honey, the bandage on the bee sting. It’s a reminder that you are not defined by the people you walk away from or the people who walk away from you. Consider Honeybee a memoir in verse, or at the very least, a story written by one of today’s most confessional poets.

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★★★✩

This poetry collection is essentially about the author’s life after letting go of the woman she loved. It’s always hard to judge the content of such personal poems so I’m trying not to go there, I’ll just say that what kept me reading was the style of the poems more than the concepts. It’s just, the author’s feelings either will resonate with you or they won’t, and for me they mostly didn’t, but that’s something I need to have in order to really love poetry.

My favorite poems were the ones that talked about bisexuality (even if this book is not for you, you must read the poem called “A Brief Note on Biphobia”). They meant a lot to me.

I think this is an important book for queer women regardless of your own feelings while reading it, but definitely be aware that it’s very heavy on breakup and heartbreak themes as well as homophobia and biphobia.

ARC review: The witch doesn’t burn in this one by Amanda Lovelace

I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

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Summary: The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.

Release date: March 6th

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★★★★

This was amazingly powerful and empowering. It was emotionally hard to read at times, like all good thought-prokoving literature is.

Full disclosure, I still haven’t read Lovelace’s first poem collection fully, but I have read many of her poems (I follow her on twitter and she often RTs people sharing their favorite poems of her, so that way I got to read a few) and I feel like I have at least some understanding of what The Princess Saves Herself in This One is about.

From what I understand, this second collection is much less personal than the first one and it focuses more on women experiences as a whole. I think it does a great job at embracing women of all kinds and from all times, however I found that a few poems that tried to be “true” in a timeless way instead focused more on things that are historically only true in modern times and in western society. This is just a minor detail and it didn’t affect my enjoyment of the book.

The poems were powerful and evoked vivid images of the witches, the match-boys and of fire. I think everyone should read it, and especially the people who complain about modern poetry, because it will prove to them that this is Poetry under every definition.

ARC review: DROPKICKromance by Cyrus Parker

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I was sent this book as an advanced copy by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes, but all opinions are my own. 

Summary: A collection of autobiographical poetry about healing and learning to love again from professional-wrestler-turned-poet, Cyrus Parker.

The first half of DROPKICKromance focuses on a toxic, long-distance relationship the author was involved in for several years, while the second half focuses on his current relationship with poet Amanda Lovelace. Ultimately, the collection tells about a profound journey of healing.

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Release date: March 6th 2018

TW: abuse by a partner

★★★★✩

This is a poetry debut I was highly anticipating and I wasn’t disappointed.

I don’t really know how to rate and especially how to review modern poetry other than by gut feeling, and this collection/memoir was so honest and raw that I couldn’t help but empathize with the author and what he went through. No matter who you are or what medium you use, it takes courage to open up as much as he did, especially when it comes to the first part of the collection.

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The story begins while the author is in an abusive relationship with a woman and through his poems he describes all the phases they went through and how he was constantly made to feel like he was not enough and he still hoped that everything would fix itself.

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He clang to the happy moments and the promises that this woman made, he kept forgiving her for the things she did and putting up a strong facade for the rest of the world while he worked as a pro wrestler.

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I also think at least part of the relationship (if not all) happened long-distance, and a few poems also touch on that aspect.

After many years he finally managed to leave her for good, and as with all relationships ending his world was completely changed, plus he came to fully realize how much this woman had abused him and his feelings. At some point during this fase, he met the now-poetess Amanda Lovelace and they fell in love, and the rest of the collection is about the initial part of their relationship.

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Reading this second part was cathartic because although it’s by no means says that “love fixes everything”, it does describe that, through a healthy relationship, they both managed to face their demons, together or on their own, but always supporting each other and being open about everything.

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I don’t really want to judge the style of this kinds of poems because I feel like it’s not my place, besides I think they manage to get to the point and they’re powerful that way and more accessible to anyone. I did find that a few were a little too simple, but overall it was a great and honest collection.