Review | Letters to Jupiter by Lotté Jean

Letters to Jupiter is a poetry collection that explores a tale of the fragility of the mind. With each poetic letter, written by an unknown narrator seeking to let go of the past, we see life at its darkest time, brightest, and examine how much a person can grow after a life-changing event.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

This poetry collection is another example of the type of modern poetry that I do enjoy. The length of the poems vary depending on the subject matter and there is a definite progression of the poems throughout the collection. Many of them when you sit with them for a minute are poignant and touch on deep emotional experiences. Some of them weave together truly beautiful phrases and language, and even have a lyrical feel to them. All in all I really enjoyed this collection and the progression and growth that was represented within it.

Happy reading!

Review | Home is Not a Country by Safia Elhillo

Nima doesn’t feel understood. By her mother, who grew up far away in a different land. By her suburban town, which makes her feel too much like an outsider to fit in and not enough like an outsider to feel like that she belongs somewhere else. At least she has her childhood friend Haitham, with whom she can let her guard down and be herself.Until she doesn’t.

As the ground is pulled out from under her, Nima must grapple with the phantom of a life not chosen, the name her parents didn’t give her at birth: Yasmeen. But that other name, that other girl, might just be more real than Nima knows. And more hungry.And the life Nima has, the one she keeps wishing were someone else’s. . .she might have to fight for it with a fierceness she never knew she had.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

I was instantly intrigued by this title when I saw it was compared to Elizabeth Acevedo and Jason Reynolds so I wanted to give it a read. It’s similar in style as it is a story told in verse and features and American born Sudanese (I believe) girl trying to find her place and also trying to figure out her own identity and being comfortable in it. She faces a number of instances of hate due to how she is perceived and is caught in between being an American and identifying with the country her mother came from. The examination of place and identity was definitely poignant and raw and when we got the magical aspect that was a nice surprise. I really felt that that was when her exploration of self and place really came to a climax and loved how it was handled. It’s a beautiful story that is so valuable right now.

Happy reading!

Review | For a Rose That Blooms in Fire By Isabel Rocio

“For A Rose That Blooms In Fire” is a collection of poetry that explores the reality of abusive relationships, and one’s infinite capacity for healing. The collection shatters the rose-colored glasses society tends to unconsciously associate with “chaotic romance”, and paints a clearer view into the power of self-reclamation.

Through a graceful balancing act between the darkness and the light that comes with healing, Isabel invites you to take the first step towards the most important relationship you will ever know-the one you have with yourself.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I had to sit with my thoughts on this one for a bit before writing up my review, because this is the type of modern poetry I enjoy and I wanted to be able to articulate what I was really feeling and thinking after reading this.

This collection is not for the faint of heart and is going to mean different things depending on what you’ve experienced in your life, but it’s raw and full of imagery that is powerful. The sequence of the poems themselves is definitely a progression from experiencing abuse (among other things) and then getting out of that situation and discovering yourself/rising above it as life goes on.

I definitely recommend reading the foreword from the author as that contains more information and clarification on their experience. There are definite trigger warnings for abuse, gaslighting, rape, depression and more, so if those are triggering for you be aware and exercise self care when approaching this read. As a survivor of an abusive relationship myself there were parts of it that were hard and too real to my own experience, but also it proved to be soothing since it felt like someone else understood some of the things I experienced myself, which in and of itself can be therapeutic and freeing.

Thanks to Isabel for sending me a copy of her book so that I could check it out!

Happy reading!

Review | Shine Your Icy Crown by Amanda Lovelace

“Make them rue the day they underestimated you.”

This is a story about not letting society dictate the limits of your potential. it’s time to take back your power & realize that you don’t need a king in order to be a queen.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

I’ve enjoyed all of Amanda Lovelace’s poetry collections that I’ve read before but this one may be my favorite by far. There are obvious trigger warnings with all of her work, but this one especially touches on a number of topics such as abuse, self-harm, depression, anxiety and more. There is a list of content warnings in the beginning of the collection which I do recommend reviewing before reading. I really enjoyed the empowering tone in this collection, the overall theme of finding your own voice and accepting your own power. All in all I recommend all of her poetry, but definitely check out this series of collections.

Happy reading!

Review | Dog-Eared by Duncan Wu

Dogs are at once among the most ordinary of animals and the most beloved by mankind. But what we may not realize is that for as long as we have loved dogs, our poets have been seriously engaged with them as well.

In this collection, English professor Duncan Wu digs into the wealth of poetry about our furry friends to show how varied and intimate our relationships with them have been over the centuries. Homer recounts how Odysseus’s loyal dog recognizes his master even after his long absence. Thomas Hardy wrote poems from a pooch’s perspective, conveying a powerful sense of dogs’ innocent and trusting nature. And a multitude of writers, from Lord Byron to Emily Dickinson, have turned to poetry to mourn the loss of beloved dogs. Rich and inviting, Dog-eared is a spellbinding collection of poetic musings about humans and dogs and what they mean to each other. 

Rating: 3 out of 5.

I always enjoy poems about animals and had previously enjoyed other collections I found, so I was excited to see this one pop up. I really enjoyed the biographical information about each author and the animals that they had in their lives, but I was somewhat disappointed when a good number of the poems weren’t necessarily about dogs, and maybe had only a few lines or a mention of dogs. I was really hoping all of them would have dogs as the central subject, but I did enjoy the variance between styles and subjects overall.

Happy reading!

Review | Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back by Alicia Cook

Sorry I haven’t texted you back, (I’ve been so anxious and depressed) I haven’t had time to catch my breath, you know how life gets!

Returning to the form of Stuff I’ve Been Feeling Lately, Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back is a poetic mixtape dedicated to those who struggle or have struggled with their mental health. Divided into two parts, “Side A” holds 92 poems, titled as “tracks,” and “Side B” holds the “remixes,” or blackout-poetry versions, of  those 92 poems. The book includes the evergreen themes of love, grief, and hope. Named after Cook’s viral Instagram poem, Sorry I Haven’t Texted You Back lands in the crossroads of self-help and poetry.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

First and foremost, be aware that there are trigger warnings for anxiety, depression, talk of suicide and death. This was definitely a collection of poems that I had to take in multiple settings as to me they rang extremely true.

I really enjoyed the format of this collection, with the first half being more traditional poem formats and the second half being black out or other styles that isolated specific words of the poems. Both halves went really well together and captured the feelings invoked in the collection as a whole. Each poem also comes with a song – which if you don’t know the song listed I highly recommend looking them up since they add another layer to the experience. It’s definitely an emotional read, but the language used and the way the poems flow just add beauty to the overall collection.

Happy reading!

Review | September Love by Lang Leav

A book that will change the way you think about love, relationships, heartbreak, and self-empowerment. Breaking the rules, challenging perceptions, and exploring the secret desires we keep hidden from the world. 

Beautifully composed and written by international bestselling author Lang Leav, this new collection of poetry and prose will positively influence your life.

September Love captures the magic of each passing season, a pearl of wisdom waiting to be discovered with every page turned. A book that will inspire you to reach for the stars.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

As soon as I saw that Lang Leav had a new collection on NetGalley I knew I wanted to pick it up, I have enjoyed her poetry in the past and was eager to check out this collection. I have to say that this is probably my favorite of what I’ve read from her. There was a lot of self exploration and I could feel the rawness in her words. It’s a quick read, as most poetry collections can be, but it is full of impact and emotion.

Happy reading!

Review | Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

Award-winning poet Danez Smith is a groundbreaking force, celebrated for deft lyrics, urgent subjects, and performative power. Don’t Call Us Dead opens with a heartrending sequence that imagines an afterlife for black men shot by police, a place where suspicion, violence, and grief are forgotten and replaced with the safety, love, and longevity they deserved here on earth. Smith turns then to desire, mortality the dangers experienced in skin and body and blood and a diagnosis of HIV positive. “Some of us are killed / in pieces,” Smith writes, some of us all at once. Don’t Call Us Dead is an astonishing and ambitious collection, one that confronts, praises, and rebukes America–“Dear White America”–where every day is too often a funeral and not often enough a miracle.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

With current events I’ve been hearing more and more about this poetry collection, so I knew I had to check it out. Be forewarned, this collection is not for the faint of heart. Smith’s use of language and the raw imagery created is amazing, heart wrenching and very in your face real. The collections takes on a lot of current and continuing issues in society regarding racism and prejudices. The collection in and of itself is beautiful, but at times hard to read emotionally – which I think it should be. This is the type of writing where you should slow down and actually absorb what is being said. All in all it’s an amazing collection of poems that definitely shouldn’t be missed.

Happy reading!

Review | Crown Noble

Crown noble, the breathtaking debut by Bianca Phipps, navigates the crossroads of familial ties and forgiveness. Phipps ruminates on the ways we are shaped as humans. Is it nature or nurture? Is it fate or a happen chance? What teaches us to love our generational inheritance, no matter how harmful? Phipps takes us to the most intimate parts of family matters in hopes of underantdatning conflict as a means of overcoming. 

This poetry collection was an interesting mix for me. A lot of it is very stream of conscious style poetry, which I often enjoy. Some of those included in this collection didn’t flow for me, which can make this style quite hard to read. The content of the poems were written beautifully and had great metaphors and imagery, but the enjoyment was dampened when they became a little clunky in flow. That being said, if you enjoy poetry that really examines difficult familial relationships and how our upbringing can shape us, this has a lot of good content surrounding that.

Happy reading!

Review: Love Looks Pretty on You

Filled with wisdom and encouragement, every single page is a testament to the power of words, and the impact they can have on the relationships you build with others. And most importantly, the one you have with yourself.

Lang Leav captures the intricacies of emotions like few others can. It’s no wonder she has been recognized as a major influencer of the modern poetry movement and her writing has inspired a whole new generation of poets to pick up a pen.

Love Looks Pretty on You is truly the must-have book for poetry lovers all over the world.

Here’s the story of my life. Hoping they would care about me or wishing they wouldn’t care so much.

I’ve never heard of Lang Leav before, but when I saw the cover of this book I was immediately sucked in. I picked it up on a whim and am so happy I did. While the writing perhaps isn’t as atmospheric or lyrical as a lot of other poets, it is very raw and compelling.

The poems and prose in this collection are empowering and honest while they cover a number of subjects such as love, loss, growth as we move through life and the relationships we build with others – especially females.

Leav’s poetry and prose were so easy to read and have a great flow. I will definitely be picking up more of her books in the future!

Happy reading!