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!

Review: We Were All Someone Else Yesterday

A hybrid text that deals most urgently in the articulation of growth and grief. After the loss of his mother, Omar Holmon re-learns how to live by immersing himself in popular culture, becoming well-versed in using the many modes of pop culture to spell out his emotions. This book is made up of both poems and essays, drenched in both sadness and unmistakable humor. Teeming with references that are touchable, no matter what you do or don’t know, this book feels warm and inviting.

This poetry collection hit me super hard. As someone who lost a parent to cancer some of the poems were truly heartbreaking. Each one was a vignette into another facet of experiences the author had, whether it be the loss of his mother, things that happened in his family, relationships or other important events.

The writing was beautiful, even when there were changing tones and themes. It’s very much a collection about human experience, grief and more. I would definitely recommend it, but take note that there is definitely a trigger warning for death of a parent.

Happy reading!

Review: Dear Girl

Aija Mayrock published her first book, The Survival Guide to Bullying, at just sixteen. A fierce advocate for women, girls, and all youth, Mayrock performs spoken word poetry as part of her activism work and has performed live to an estimated four million people. Dear Girl, her powerful debut poetry collection, includes some of her viral spoken word poems like “Dear Girl,” “Dear Sisters,” and “The Truth About Being a Girl,” as well as many never-before-published pieces. Aija’s poetry—fierce, conversational, inspirational—speaks to the pain and the beauty of being a woman in our society today. Dear Girl is a love letter to all women, amplifying Aija’s message of understanding, empowerment, and support.

If you’re looking for a poetry collection that tackles subjects such as rape culture, inequality between men and women and much more. Mayrock really takes on these subjects and addresses what many girls and women experience growing up. Not just in society but in their families, friend groups and more.

I really enjoyed this collection as it was filled with empowerment and understanding. There are definite trigger warnings as there is a lot of talk about rape culture (and the mentality surrounding it in society) and issues that face women in the workplace, school and everyday life.

Happy reading!

Review: Soul Land

This collection of poems is a result of the author’s spiritual journey and reveals a powerful personal account through a deep and profound connection to the land of Scotland. Both emotional and touching, with universal themes of nature and love at the centre, the author portrays a transformational effect of stunning Scottish landscapes on the soul and life as a whole. Engaging in an emotional struggle to bring spiritual and earthly together, this eloquent collection is written with devotion and reverence and offers an exploration of a spiritual identity through the land. Through the poems, the author shows how the beauty of natural places can be soothing and hopeful in times of turmoil. At its heart, this volume is a spiritual love story between the land and the author, exploring the elements of nature as they are in the wild, as well as in our souls.

This poetry collection really was a love letter to Scotland and how the author feels about Scotland. There was some beautiful imagery and wonderful phrases that painted a picture of the wildness and beauty of Scotland.

I did really enjoy the poems and language, but wished it was a little longer. I would have loved to read more since I did feel it was a bit short. Still, a lot of the images inspired by her words were wonderful and definitely make you feel like you can see the landscape she’s describing.

Happy reading!