Review: Build Yourself a Boat

Build Yourself a Boat
2019 National Book Award Nominee

Synopsis: This is about what grows through the wreckage. This is an anthem of survival and a look at what might come after. A view of what floats and what, ultimately, sustains.

Build Yourself a Boat, an innovative debut by award-winning poet Camonghne Felix, interrogates generational trauma, the possibility of healing, and the messiness of survival.

Build Yourself a Boat redefines the language of collective and individual trauma through lyric and memory.

I picked this one up hoping that I would be able to find more contemporary poetry that I enjoyed and I was not disappointed. In this collection Felix explores a wide range of topics that could be very triggering or hard to read. Her writing is very raw and heavy, but in my opinion her voice is clear.

The styles of her poems do vary, but perfectly fit their subject matter and as you progress through the collection you can see the story that she weaves through her words. The content is very charged and speaks of pain and struggle, packed with so much emotion it will take your breath away.

If you’re sensitive to subjects such as sexual assault, self harm, suicide and harsh language, keep in mind that there’s definite trigger warnings for those subjects and more before picking this up. It can be difficult read, but there needs to be more literature and poetry that touches on the hard subjects because they shouldn’t be ignored.

Happy reading!

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