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!

Mini Review Roundup [07/06]

I am playing let’s-read-all-the-books-at-once, apparently, and keep picking up and putting down really great books that I’m just not in the right mood for, but one that I devoured this week is The Poet X. I wholeheartedly recommend it! The story follows Xiomara Batista, a budding poet stifled by her super religious family and is told in verse.

‘This is where the poems are,’ I say, thumping a fist against my chest. ‘Will you burn me? Will you burn me, too? You would burn me, wouldn’t you, if you could?’

It’s very poetic and poignant, and if you listen to the audiobook version, the author herself reads it. 🙂 I’m definitely going to be picking up Clap When You Land and With the Fire on High.

I also watched 13th, which is Ava DuVernay’s documentary on the history of the prison system and slavery in the United States. If you haven’t seen it, make sure you watch it! Very harrowing, but very important stuff.

Currently reading;

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? 🙂

Mini Review Roundup [30/05]

I’ve been having trouble with longer fiction novels of late. Being elbow deep in study definitely affects that, as I went through quite a bit non-fiction this week. I do really love reading old newspapers and archives, but I am missing fiction! I combed through two memoirs, this week, though. Both are from the Korean War.

I am really enjoying Days Without End on Audiobook. And Humankind, which is so darn optimistic and upbeat. I totally recommend it given what I’ve listened to so far. Bregman reframes so many moments and shows a different take on the narrative that makes headlines. It’s very hopeful.

mini reviews;

Little Free Library by Naomi Kritzer

If you can bring me more such books, I will leave you every scrap of gold I can find.

Oh my goodness, I really liked this one. A little free library becomes a way to correspond with a mysterious, grateful seeker of books. J’adore!

3 a.m. Blues by Joseph Fulkerson

doing the backstroke in the ocean of other’s opinions, navigating the minefield of could’ve and should’ve

This was quite a good collection of poetry, I only wish it were longer!

When Two Swordsmen Meet by Ellen Kushner

It’s a beautiful fight. They each want the other to win. Not so much duel as duet.

Ooooh, this was goooood. Something very lyrical and fanciful about this one. I definitely recommend it. Available here

What’s everyone reading this week? 🙂

Mini Review Roundup [25/05]

This was an audiobook and poetry weekend, to be sure! After finishing Gold Rush Manliness and Everything You Love Will Burn, I decided to pick up some romance and poetry. I have a lot more nonfiction on my list, but mixing it up definitely keeps things interesting. I’m also enjoying Cage of Souls by Adrian Tchaikovsky, an epic sci-fi book.

Almost Love by Louise O’Neill

All she wanted to do was stand there and look. Being by the sea always made Sarah feel small. Insignificant in a way that was comforting somehow.

I’m actually setting this one aside for now. About halfway done, and whilst I really do like O’Neill’s writing and I’m definitely going to try one of her other books, I’m not in the right mood for this one. I think what the book is trying to depict is an important topic to discuss – how bad relationships can become – but I don’t think I’m in the head space for it. As well, Sarah is a character that I’m struggling to connect to. I’ll probably come back to this at some point though. The story certainly does draw you in.

I also picked out a few poems to read this week as I was definitely missing poetry. Uncanny Magazine has a lot of great poetry, so I checked out some of their recent issues

Issue 31 / Issue 32.

I started with ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ by Ada Hoffmann.

Have you ever torn through a forest of books, trawling the half-naked
flotsam
of dream and the tarnish of myth, desperately seeking
a memory?

Pretty, right? I liked this one. What a lovely poem. Available here.

Followed it up with Brandon O’Brien’s ‘Elegy for the Self as Villeneuve’s Belle’, which was brilliant.

Wanting pretty things is hunger, too,
and having is feasting, denied by few.

Available here.

I also read Annie Neugebauer’s ‘The Wooden Box’. Really liked this one!

It’s a wooden box,
ornately carved, beautifully
stained a dark mahogany.

It’s dry as I lift it up
and gently slide out the
tongue-and-groove top.

Gave me chills, to be honest! Read here.

  1. Cage of Souls | science fiction, dystopian
  2. A Small Revolution in Germany | lgbt, fiction
  3. Agnes Grey | classics, fiction
  4. The Curse of the Black Cat | fantasy, lgbt

What’s everyone reading this week?

Mini Reviews & Reading Roundup [23/05]

Today I finally finished Gold Rush Manliness. It was really good, I just kept getting sidetracked. It was a great examination of how race and gender impacted the gold rushes in California and British Columbia. This line really stuck with me: In short, the notions of white manhood established in the nineteenth century persist today, and their legacies can be seen everywhere, from the least-threatening practical joking to the most menacing expressions of white male superiority. There were loads of things in this examination that really wow’d me. Definitely recommend!

I also read Warm Up, which is a prequel story to V. E. Schwab’s Villains and Vengeful. I really liked it! If you’re curious, the book is available on Tor, here. It was dark and eerie and very well done. I loved this quote: It didn’t catch fire. Nothing ever actually caught fire. No, it all simply burned.

Beyond the Dragon’s Gate by Yoon Ha Lee is a new Tor original. Read it online, here. I quite liked it! The new issue of Uncanny Magazine is also out and I’ve started with poetry this time!

Girl, you best stop setting yourself on fire,
you may be the phoenix,
but these bones aren’t kindling
to keep others warm—

Ali Trotta, ‘Athena Holds Up a Mirror to Strength’, here.

Currently reading;

Still working through Everything You Love Will Burn, Agnes Grey and A Small Revolution in Germany, all of which I’m liking, although Everything You Love Will Burn is something I have to listen to in small doses. I also started Cage of Souls. It’s my first Adrian Tchaikovsky. He’s such a big name in the science fiction genre, so I’m glad to have finally picked up one of his. I’m also about halfway through Louise O’Neill’s Almost Love. The prose is really good and the storyline sucks you in, but I’m having trouble liking the main character.

What’s everyone else reading? Have you read any of the above? What’d you think?