Wahey there! I like doing mini-reviews for poetry anthologies – just because they’re usually under or over 100 pages and I don’t have enough thoughts to say about it for a full-fledged review. Today I’ll be reviewing FOUR anthologies. Because why post four separate reviews when you could just write one big one?
Disclaimer: I received these e-arcs through Netgalley and the publishers in exchange for free and honest reviews. The image header and the quote edits used is my own and the link in the books’ details is to the book’s Goodreads’ page and stores to buy the book. All quotes given in the review are from the e-arc and therefore might not be accurate. The summary is my own (well, I summarised the Goodreads description). All opinions expressed are my own.
Title: Worlds of You: Poetry and Prose
Author: Beau Taplin
Year Published: 2018 (Netgalley says 2018, Goodreads says 2017)
Genre: Poetry ~ Romance
Taplin’s second anthology is all about love. Love in all shape and forms.
This is a very much romantic anthology. It speaks for itself. You can feel the love with every verse. But it’s part love and part loss. And there’s no separate parts like Part 1: Love and Part 2: Loss. They just blend together and it’s both love and loss. And it’s very interesting because normally you would definitely have those two conflicting themes separate, but Taplin just puts them together and somehow it works.
As well as being both love and loss, the anthology also shows the bad side of love alongside the good side. How love can be amazing and beautiful but also deadly and dangerous.
Yes, I did rate it 3 stars. Sometimes I felt it went too mushy with the love. Not that there’s anything wrong with mushy love (well, unless you’re not interested in that mushy love 🙋🏻♀️). Taplin is one of the Instagram poets, I believe. Actually 3/4 (sort of with the one) of the poets in this review are Instagram poets – it does show a bit. The simplicity of it and some poems sort of felt like he was pandering to Instagram followers – writing poems about love that they want to read.
Title: Old Soul Love
Author: Christopher Poindexter
Year Published: 2018
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Combining both new and old pieces, Poindexter crafts a beautiful collection of love, love, and love.
I know I spoke about Beau Taplin being an Instagram poet and his collection being a bit too mushy – and while Poindexter is definitely very mushy too, I just love Poindexter’s work.
When I got back into poetry I of course looked for modern poetry. A lot of modern poetry is indeed ‘instagram poetry’ – short poems usually on a filtered background or so. Which doesn’t mean that it can’t be good or meaningful poetry. And Poindexter shows that. I’ve always enjoyed reading his work. Which is why I was happy with Old Soul Love as it was both his old and new work – meaning I could recognise his old work – some of them being ones I really really loved.
Again, I’m not a huge fan of love poetry (I do prefer the hard-hitting poetry – which I’ve found is a lot in slam poetry). But Poindexter makes me want to go back to reading romantic poetry. When I read his poems I want to find love, to be in love with someone (and then I remember I mostly like to be alone. Or with my cat). And that’s a testament to how good of a writer he is – that he can make you feel emotions that you didn’t necessarily think you really had.
Title: If My Body Could Speak
Author: Blythe Baird
Year Published: 2019
Publisher: Button Poetry
Genre: Poetry ~ Feminism ~ Mental Health
A beautifully striking collection about being a feminist amongst everything and learning to love yourself.
I’m taking you back to like 2016!DB (with long hair 😀). A friend told me I should watch a Youtube video so we sat next to each other and watched it. It was a slam poetry piece, something about economy and patriarchy and feminism. I don’t recall the title now. But that was my introduction to slam poetry (other than 22 Jump Street). And I fell in love. I loved it since it was both poetry and drama combined.
I quickly found Blythe – as she is a popular one. I loved how she took topics straight on and wasn’t about to let things lie down. She was ready to stand in front of the microphone, speaking her heart out and I was ready to sit and watch her.
My favourite poem has to be GIRL CODE 101 because it rings so true. As girls, we are expected to be kind and gracious, but boys can be rude and do what they want. We have to be demure and not speak up but boys seem to get a pass at whatever they want. Pocket-Sized Feminism is my other favourite one as the verse:
We text each other when we get home safe and it does not
occur to us that not all of our guy friends have to the do the same.
because that’s true – my friends and I do text each other, saying we’re safely home. And yes, our guy friend in the group also does that, but he has grown up with 4 sisters and he’s been in the friendship group for a long while. And we basically wait for everyone to sound off, saying they’re home safely and about to get into bed, and then we all go to bed. And does a group of (mostly) guys do this? Are they required to do this? Do they sit up in their beds and think why their friend hasn’t texted yet since they left 15 minutes ago and it takes 10 minutes by car from your house to theirs?
Title: the mermaid’s voice returns in this one
Author: Amanda Lovelace
Year Published: 2019
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Genre: Poetry ~ Feminism
Links: Goodreads || Book Depository
CW/TW: There is a list in the front of the book (something we need more) but I’ll write in here anyway. child abuse, gun violence, intimate partner abuse, sexual assault, eating disorders, self-harm, suicide, alcohol, trauma, death, violence, fire, & possibly more.
In the third book in the Women Are Some Kind of Magic series, Lovelace writes a story about not silencing yourself and remembering you are a wonderful mermaid (that is very important).
It always amazes me how poetry can manage to get me feeling angsty for the character even if it’s not in story format like other books.
I love the Homage poems because it’s sort of an answer to another poem so you can feel the other poem in the poem, but you still feel like it’s wholly Lovelace’s poem. And you also get a feeling for which poems Lovelace thinks about – which I like.
This book is about re-finding yourself, which probably doesn’t make sense (the word, re-finding, I’m not even sure it’s a word); but you see Princess was about finding yourself and then Witch was about standing up.
Out of all three books in the trilogy, Witch is definitely my top. One thing I’ve always liked with Lovelace’s writing is the theme about self-love and self-acceptance, and I could probably not get enough of either one of the themes.
There you go! Hope you enjoyed reading this! Have you read any of these collections? And do you use the term anthology or collection when talking about poetry? Sorry, I’m random 😁