Poetry Review: Scarlet Shadows (2019)

Scarlet Shadows by Scylla Grand

‘the woman fed us wine and bread
and hungry, I should eat my fill
but food so fine could not be mine
I ate, but I was starving still.’

All I could think about whilst reading this collection was John Keats and ‘Bright Star’, haha. Good poetry makes me think of good poetry, what can I say?

Like, I am absolutely in awe of Scylla Grand’s poetry. I mean:

‘I shudder and rip
the skin off my flesh –
illusory mesh
decided by script.’

How amazing are these quotes? I wanted to post more, but I think you should just get a copy and be as pleasantly surprised as I was! Honestly, I am blown away by this collection of poetry. It’s quite short, but the poems are positively exquisite. I’m a bit of a poetry fangirl anyways, but goodness, these are great. Definitely worth checking out!!

Thank you to the author for a review copy.

Poetry Review: Black Movie (2015)

Black Movie by Danez Smith

‘why does it always have to be about race?’ Because you made it that way! Because you put an asterisk on my sister’s gorgeous face! Because you call her pretty (for a black girl)! Because black girls go missing without so much as a whisper of where?! Because there is no Amber Alert for the Amber Skinned Girls! Because we didn’t invent the bullet! Because crack was not our recipe! Because Jordan boomed. Because Emmitt whistled. Because Huey P. spoke. Because Martin preached. Because black boys can always be too loud to live. Because it’s taken my father’s time, my mother’s time, my uncle’s time, my brother’s & my sister’s time, my niece’s & my nephew’s time… how much time do you want for your progress?

If I could quote this whole collection of poetry and prose, I would. Each one tugged at my heart and filled me with emotion. I read it pretty much start to finish, only pausing once. The words in here are achingly raw, poignant and beautiful. The prose is exquisite and painful and brutal. A must read for sure.

I thoroughly recommend everyone give this their time.

Poetry Review Roundup

Of Darkness and Light by Despoina Kemeridou

In rivers of hatred,
and oceans of lust,
I’ll roam forever,
until I am dust

Some really good poems in here! This was my first time reading Kemeridou’s poems, and I will definitely check out more by this author! Great stuff.

The Beauty of Words by Gary Pollard

We shouldn’t need to request
To be free.
But some leaders
Simply would disagree.

I stumbled across this little book of poetry completely by random, but I’m so glad I snagged a copy! It’s a really fun, magical (maybe magical realism?), wholesome little book and the rhymes are smashing! Definitely worth reading!

Poetry Review: Fairytales (2020)

Fairytales: A Poetry Collection by M.E. Aster

twisted lies and poisoned trees
you are more than that to me
a volatile orchard perhaps

This is a collection of introspective, emotive poetry and prose that is definitely worth checking out! I can’t wait to read more of Aster’s writing.

Review Roundup

Masquerade Season by ‘Pemi Aguda [short story]

This one really made me think and it hit me harder than I anticipated. Actually, Masquerade Season reminded me of The Giving Tree, honestly. One of those stories where the message makes you ache and it leaves you deeply melancholy.

The Sea Is Salt and So Am I by Cassandra Hartt [fiction]

I got a chapter sampler version, so I’m only reviewing the couple of chapters I read, but I really, really like the prose in this one. There’s a very distinct voice, which is so nice to find. The set up is very intriguing, and I’m really curious to see how it’s going to wrap up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC-excerpt. Excited to read the full book!

Dust Bowl Venus by Stella Beratlis [poetry collection]

Woe be unto us: We thought dancing did not matter.

I really do have, like, a thing for poetry. I truly do. Poems are so fly, and these ones are awesome.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

A Peek at Beaks: Tools Birds Use by Sara Levine [children’s books]

This is such an informative and awesome kid’s book! It’s interactive, which is great for teaching kids and getting them engaged with the material, and there are so many different birds that are described herein. It also delves briefly into how evolution and Darwinism work. A lovely, colourful book for young readers!

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Winter Soldier Vol. 1: The Longest Winter by Ed Brubaker [graphic novel/comic books]

I’m gonna admit, I picked this up because of the show. It’s awesome to finally have the focus on Bucky’s character, who I’ve always found interesting. This comic was quite compelling and I really liked the artwork. I was a bit confused? I feel like there was backstory I didn’t have, but maybe it’s just because I’m so used to the show/films universe. Like, I wasn’t expecting Bucky and Natasha to be so close! I liked them together, I was just a bit thrown. That said, I liked it overall. Definitely going to read a few more Winter Soldier tales. 

Mika and the Dragonfly by Ellen Delange [children’s books]

Do you need a spoiler warning for a kid’s book? It’s only 17 pages, so I have no idea! But, uh, spoilers? Haha. The artwork in this is absolutely lovely, and there’s a good message about being kind to insects and making friends. I’m a little unsure about the method of resolution, though: the dragonfly’s wing fell off and the kid ends up gluing it back on.

Adults don’t take kid’s books literally, of course, but I’d just be sure to tell the kid you’re reading this to not to attempt gluing a dragonfly’s wing back on. I really worry about the dragonflies, okay?! That’s my only nitpick, though. Overall it’s a very sweet little book and definitely worth picking up.

Thank you Netgalley for the ARC.

Poetry and Photography Review: Rhythm Flourishing (2020) and Seizing the Bygone Light (2021)

Rhythm Flourishing: A Collection of Kindku and Sixku
by Cendrine Marrouat and David Ellis

Today
questions still
haunt old stone.

Ooooh, I do adore photography blended with poetry. I’d never heard of Kindku and Sixku before, so learning about these types of poetry was very informative!

I loved so many of the poems, especially the one quoted above and the one inspired by William Ernest Henley, who is a personal favourite of mine. The photography in here is absolutely stunning, too! \o/

Seizing the Bygone Light: A Tribute to Early Photography
by Cendrine Marrouat, David Ellis & Hadiya Ali

I have seized the light! I have arrested his flight! The sun himself in future shall draw my pictures! – Louis-Jacques-Mandé Daguerre, 1839, quoted within.

Oh my gosh, the photographs in here are so stunning. I saw some familiar places, but so many new ones and it’s making my desire to travel so much bigger! Ugh, seeing beautiful pictures while locked inside during a pandemic is just MEAN (but in the best way, haha). \o/

Anyways, this is a lovely little collection of photography and poetry and I totally recommend it!

Thank you so much to the authors for the review copies!

Poetry Review: Emotionally Raw by Carlos Cabrera & Lovable Losers and Romantic Monsters by B.P. Learner

You guys know how much I adore poetry, and I was so fortunate to stumble across Emotionally Raw and Loveable Losers and Romantic Monsters this week! These two titles are by indie poets Leaner and Cabrera, and they deserve so much more attention than they’re getting! Man, poetry seriously does not get enough attention. Thus, allow me to shout from the rooftops POETRY IS GREAT AND THERE ARE MANY NEW POETS OUT THERE!

In Emotionally Raw, Cabrera writes straight from the heart, and you feel his words in every line. There are so many good lines in his poems, but here are some of my favourites:

This must be a dream, vivid as they come,
What did I do to deserve someone like you?
Whatever it was, I must have love from someone above.

If I could, I’d show you the universe
If I could, I’d leave the darkness for good

Land of the free, home of the brave
If you are not exploitable
You won’t be saved

So many of these lines just hit me. Such brilliant writing!

In Loveable Losers and Romantic Monsters, Leaner evokes emotion with every word, spinning lines beautifully and provoking introspection.

We are the creepers,
the weird, the strangers,
the witches and warlocks,
the monsters

the woods stretched infinitely into black oneness with all of us and our otherliness.

The most powerful thing you can do for yourself is to love all the ugliness in your soul.

Because art is telling us, whispering in our ears, warmly and congenially:
Come to me you hurt people.
I’ll give you all solace.

I love, love, love poetry like this. So impressed. Otherliness is a word I feel in my bones, yo.

I definitely recommend these poets! If anyone has any poetry to share, do link me in the comments!

Poetry Review: For Our Country by Shahein Farahani

‘For Our Country’ by Shahein Farahani

My greetings to you, women who are concerned
for our country
Women bewildered by all that they have learned
of our country

This is such a powerful poem. Wow.

I’d never heard of Shahein Farahani until I came across this poem. From what I’ve read, she published under the name ‘Shahein Farahani’ (I’ve also seen her name written Shahin Farahani, real name Fatemeh Farahani) and wrote poetry in 19th century Iran, focusing on women’s rights. I really liked this poem and I’m definitely going to check out more of her work asap.

If you’re curious to read this one, there’s a link here.*

*I’ve read the criticisms for republishing these works with the authors’ real names as opposed to the male pseudonyms they adopted, and those critiques are valid and make a lot of points I hadn’t considered. I’m sharing the link because I can’t find Farahani’s poetry elsewhere and I really did enjoy her poetry. If anyone has links to find more of Farahani’s works, please do link me!

In trying to find her works, I stumbled upon the upcoming The Mirror of My Heart: A Thousand Years of Persian Poetry by Women, which I’m now really looking forward to! The collection ‘examines the work of over eighty female Persian-language poets from the past thousand years’! Can’t wait!

Slam Poetry Mini Review: Something Else In My Veins (2020)

if you haven’t fallen in love with an addict
don’t talk to me about love
your husband’s friends may be a handful, it’s true
but I sometimes have to wonder if my man will make it home in a single piece, or maybe in two

This is a very raw, gritty book of poetry that deals with addictions and love. I definitely recommend giving it a go. ‘Don’t Talk to Me About Love’ and ‘Superman’ were my favourites.

Goodreads

Mini Review Roundup [17/06]

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

This was fast paced and brilliantly written, definitely worth a read. I did, however, spend 99% of this novel going:

flight is a magazine collection of poetry and prose. It’s going to take me a while to get through them all, but there are some great poems in here! I especially liked ‘Kite Flying’ by Arian Farhat. I love poems that can tell a story while weaving in lovely turns of phrase.

the golden eagle soared over
the dusty dry lands
perhaps my family looked
up once in a while and
saw it circling overhead,
a blessing, a curse, or a spell in reverse

Absolutely lovely writing! I can’t wait to check out the rest of flight. If you’re a fan of poetry, check this collection out for yourself here.