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.

Uncanny Magazine Poetry Roundup [14/06]

I managed to read a good few poems today, yay! (/◕ヮ◕)/

Uncanny Magazine Issue 3: March/April 2015

First, the cover of this issue is *everything*!

‘Cloudbending’ by Jennifer Crow was wonderful.

If mortal hands could map the skies,
make clouds into countries
or sunsets into salvation,
what strange markets would open

I loved this part especially. The whole poem just flows so well. Read it for yourself here.

‘Deep Bitch’ by C. S. E. Cooney was also very striking and had some great lines.

She tuns her blunted head my way.
Nips me, rips me open slightly.
Her smile is all teeth.

*chills* Read it for yourself here.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 8: January/February 2016

‘tended, tangled, and veined’ by Kayla Whaley was beautifully intense and raw. It’s a story in a poem and I love the imagery Whaley uses!

she practiced her girlhood with heat–stricken hair, sheared nails, scrubbed skin.
she baptized herself with fat wrung from beans and battered into butter.
she oiled her joints with poise,
scented her flesh with propriety,
and clothed herself in performance.
she practiced girlhood,
but she never quite perfected it.

I thoroughly recommend this poem and I can’t wait to read the rest of this issue. Some seriously good writing here. Read it for yourself here.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 9: March/April 2016

OH MY GOSH ‘FOXGIRL CYCLE SONG: 1‘ IS SO GOOD.

Trap her in thorn, and she’ll slip her skin
Drown her in water, she’ll learn to swim
Burn her, she’ll turn into smoke and wind
Think you can catch her?
Well, think again

This poem is by C. S. E. Cooney and I’m SHOOK. What a fantastic poem! Read it for yourself here.

‘The Book of Forgetting’ by Jennifer Crow was also great!

You taught me heaven is not a place, but
the magic circle drawn around two souls

I loved the emotion in this one. Read it for yourself here.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 11: July/August 2016

I started this issue with ‘The Persecution of Witches’ by Ali Trotta. It gave me chills.

Tell me what ‘legitimate’ means—
how much proof do I need
to convince you
that blood is blood
and bruises are bruises?
Why is my voice a casualty
of violence you won’t examine?

It’s a commentary on modern rape culture and I recommend everyone read it. Very strong, very poignant. Available online here.

Read any poetry lately? I’d love some recommendations!

Films, Poems and Currently Reading Roundup and Review Post [02/06]

JONAS (2018) | lgbt+, french, drama

Jonas [aka I Am Jonas] is a gut-punching, haunting addition to lgbt+ films. The film follows the eponymous main character Jonas after he’s arrested on night out at a club, Boys. One of the police officers knows him from school and they reminisce for a little while in the back of the car. The film then begins flashing from the past to the present and we learn how Jonas ended up so angry and adrift. We see Jonas as a teenager meeting Nathan, a new boy in school. They quickly fall in love and, despite homophobic peers, start a relationship that’s kind, sweet and supported by Nathan’s mother, who also welcomes Jonas into her home.

Back in the present, Jonas follows a man around the city, keeping his distance until he goes into a hotel where the man works. They talk a little. The man doesn’t know him, but it’s clear Jonas knows the man. After setting off the smoke alarm in his room and getting kicked out, the pair start to talk in the lobby. When Jonas is invited to go drinking, he accepts, and we slowly start to learn more.

The story moves along with slow determination. There’s clearly some mystery to be unfolded. This is definitely a heavy kind of drama. Prepare for tears. I do recommend it, though. Félix Maritaud is an incredible actor and I really want to see him in more films! A very well done film over all.

Mr. Right (2015) | action, comedy, romance

Okay, I honestly really liked this one. It’s silly and over the top and implausible and ridiculously good fun, and it is totally worth a watch! The movie follows Martha (played by Anna Kendrick), a risk-seeking woman who’s allergic to good advice and wise decisions, and Francis (played by Sam Rockwell), a notorious killer for hire, apparently (?) and former spy, allegedly (?). Basically, you’re not sure what’s up with Francis for most of the movie, or whether he’s good or bad, but he’s clearly had a lot of training and is good at dancing and has enemies coming out of his ears. Oh, and he wears a clown nose. You’re just not told why for a good bit. You only know that he’s kind to Martha and completely honest with her. (She thinks he’s joking when he talks about his job and how he got his scar.)

I think what I liked so much about this one was how honest and straight to the point all the characters were. There was no side-stepping around topics or slow, predictable build up. It’s kind of like when you’re watching a movie about someone first learning about magic and they keep denying it and you’re like, c’mon, just believe in it already. This movie isn’t fantasy, it’s action, but it’s great that the characters just jump straight to the point.

Martha and Francis are clearly made for each other (and clearly on a frequency that no one in their lives finds normal), but they suit each other. And their chemistry is fantastic. If you like fun, romance and action, I recommend giving this one a shot!

POEMS POEMS POEMS (/◕ヮ◕)/ Seriously, why don’t I read poetry more often? I’ve read so many poems this weekend and I have missed poetry. *chef’s kiss* These poems are all from Uncanny Magazine Issue 21.

‘Found Discarded: A Love Poem, Questionably Addressed’ by Cassandra Khaw was absolutely breath-taking.

The Greeks believed
that a human being
is one entity unseamed at the spine,
opened at the breastbone, parted at
the lips, which is why we spend all our lives pressing
together at the hips, at the fingertips

RIGHT?! How lush. I’m in awe. Read it here.

‘The Fairies in the Crawlspace’ by Beth Cato is so dark and twisted and really, really well done. If you like Grimm’s faerie tales, this one is for you.

the fairies needed no web
to snare the girl

Read it here.

די ירושה by Sonya Taaffe is short and poignant. I really liked it!

History drops a hot potato in your hands,
tells you to walk uphill with it, both ways.

Read it here.

I also quite liked ‘The Sea Never Says It Loves You’ by Fran Wilde. Poems about the sea are some of my favourites.

But the water is warm and the salt spray tastes your lips
And you say yes.

Read it here.

I hope everyone has a lovely week. Stay safe out there, my friends.

Poetry Roundup & Mini Reviews [01/06]

Uncanny Magazine Issue 26

I’m definitely on a poetry kick. There are some seriously wonderful poems published by Uncanny! I do find there’s not enough poetry these days. Which is such a shame. Poetry’s so fantastic. #poetrystan

In this issue, I’ve so far read ‘Steeped in Stars’ by Hal Y. Zhang, which was beautiful. Some great turns of phrase!

but the ghost
of the old stone wall still
streams your meteor shower

Read it for yourself here.

Jennifer Crow’s ‘Red Berries’ was also wonderful.

Tell me what the winter whispered to you

Read it for yourself here.

Cassandra Khaw’s ‘A Letter from One Woman to Another’ was fantastic. This one was probably my favourite from this collection! There’s something very raw and brutal about it.

not love he proffers, but lies
by the dozen, semen-thick and
serpent-slick.

Read it for yourself here.

I also read ‘The Watchword’ by Sonya Taaffe.

a song must outlive its singer
or it dims bitter in a land of milk and honey

That line really struck me. I kept rereading it. Read the whole poem for yourself here.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 27

The poems in this are beautiful! I’ve read three so far and I recommend them all! The word play is just lovely.

a city whose heartbeat I’m learning to carry
in a pocket left of a sound like the word home

‘things you don’t say to city witches’ by Cassandra Khaw. Read it here.

I never liked the trick
with the girl and the swords.

‘Other Forms of Conjuring the Moon’ by Chloe N. Clark. Read it here.

aromas of caramel arnibal mingle with
the tangy bite of auburn dust

‘Taho’ by D.A. Xiaolin Spires. Read it here.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 28

The fire is her mother’s arms, it is the love
in her mother’s breast, as hot as a train furnace.
If you have that kind of love, not even death
can defeat it.

AMAZING POEM IS AMAZING.

Theodora Goss’s ‘The Cinder Girl Burns Brightly’ is definitely worth a read. It’s Cinderella with a twist. Read it here.

Uncanny Magazine Issue 30

I started with ‘Monsters & Women—Beneath Contempt’ by Roxanna Bennett.

Dismiss reversal of promises & missing curatives,
who notices holes in the old narrative

Read it here.

I really liked all of the poems I read from these issues. It’s reminded me that I ought to take the time to read more poetry. Let alone write more poetry.

Also, aren’t these covers so beautiful?

Anyone have any favourite places to find current poetry? 🙂