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Since I’m not going to be able to read a classic this month (preparing for book festivals!), I thought I would read some poetry—April is National Poetry Month.
I was never a very big fan of poetry. Honestly, it made me feel kind of dumb; I never understood the symbolisms and thought they were flowery mess of words, strung together to make “poems”. Junior year of high school, I slowly started opening myself up to more poetry. We had a whole unit on Edgar Allen Poe that I loved; his short stories and poems were so dark and eerie. I then got into an Ellen Hopkins kick and I read a bunch of other books in verse. In college I backed off again, though I do attribute that to my Old English class that really ruined all literature for me for a few months.
It wasn’t until seeing excerpts from Lang Leav’s poetry making the rounds on Tumblr. They were simple and relatable, something I had previously never connected with, even through novels told in verse. Then Rupi Kaur’s book, Milk and Honey, became such a huge hit that I began to look at poetry in a different way. Poetry started targeting a younger audience and became modernized in a really significant way.
“once upon a time, the princess rose from the ashes her dragon lovers made of her & crowned herself the mother-fucking queen of herself.
— how’s that for a happily ever after?”
A few months a got around to the much hyped The Princess Saves Herself in This One, by Amanda Lovelace. I read it in one sitting. I couldn’t stop annotating every poem that directly affected me. When the companion piece in “The Women are Some Kind Of Magic” series, The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One, came out I immediately purchased the gorgeous red cover copy from Target. This collection was no different from the first. I, once again, read it in one sitting and I could not stop marking my favorite poems. There are many trigger warnings in both books, something the author provides many times upfront: different types of abuse, trauma, death, eating disorders, etc.
“To be a woman is to be warbound, knowing all the odds are stacked against you.
—& never giving up in spite of it”
I liked both books for different reasons. I felt much closer to The Princess, relating to more of the poems on a personal level, and while I really enjoyed The Witch, it was more from a detached level. The poems were rough and visceral, every page a gut punch. This type of modernized poetry isn’t for everyone. Some people would rather have the old-school styling or structure, but for me, I prefer this simplistic nature. There is so much story being told very simplistically. I highly, HIGHLY recommend this series and I can wait for the third, The Mermaid’s Voice Returns in This One, published in spring of 2019
Here are some of my favorite poems:
The Princess Saves Herself in This One:
“The pain did not make me a better person. It did not teach me not to take anything for granted. It did not teach me anything except how to be afraid to love anyone. i am far too young to be so goddamn broken & if i could go back in time & give myself her childhood back, i would
— what was the point?”
“i’m sick to death of everyone telling me how strong i am. me? strong? i only act strong because it’s the only distraction from the thoughts of my inevitable motherless life
—a feather disguised as steel”
The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One:
“Curves and fat and rolls are a colossal ‘fuck you’ to the patriarchy – our accidental rebellion.
—my body rejects your desires”
“forget being ladylike (whatever the hell that means) &and allow yourself to show the world just how unapologetically angry this inequality makes you. let it all go.
—throw flames like a girl“