Hello everyone! Today I want to share with you my thoughts on my latest obsession, poetry. While working on my Creative Writing and English degree, I have had to take some poetry writing classes. During that time, I had the opportunity to discover how pure and beautiful poetry can be. I started to fall in love with both writing and critically reading poetry. Half of these books came at recommendation and the other half came from watching and loving spoken word poetry by the writers. I now have a habit of watching a spoken word video and immediately buying the poet’s book if it’s advertised!
I’ve placed the reviews in order from least favorite to favorite. But I honestly have a hard time saying that I didn’t love all of these books as they were so full of truth and open honesty and gut wrenching experience.
the princess saves herself in this one is a very raw look at the author’s experiences, which I can’t describe anymore clearly than the Goodreads description of “love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, and inspiration.” Like the other poets I will mention, Lovelace laid her whole heart out in her poetry. Her poems are often short and to the point, which is very reflective of our society today. A way I looked at the poetry was in terms of Pinterest. You could put any of her poems on a floral background and it would be pinned by any girl with a “Words to Live By” Pinterest board.
Although I loved the very modern way Lovelace chose to write her poetry, as well as the fact that you understood her story so clearly as it wasn’t hidden behind over reaching metaphors or flourished writing, I do think that sometimes it did feel too much like Pinterest and less like poetry. However, unlike some reviews I have read, I do understand the creative freedom poetry allows, and that in poetry books like this, it’s the book as a whole you should be looking at and not each individual poem. Her poems, put together, tell a story.
You may have seen Olivia Gatwood’s video of her poem “Ode to my Bitch Face” (if not, it’s linked). This is the spoken word that lead to me waiting very impatiently for her release of New American Best Friend, which contains the poem. I do love her poetry. She is a feminist and the queen of taking back what we as women have been taught to be ashamed of. Her poetry is certainly empowering for young women, and I love that about it.
The only issue I had, and this could be completely me, is that I never really got a rhythm down with her book. I did love the story element of the princess saves herself in this one and I was lacking that in New American Best Friend. It felt much more like a collection of good poetry than a collection with a climax or a layout with a purpose. Still, I will always recommend reading poetry that empowers and lifts up women.
I have written a short review about Milk and Honey before, but there’s more that I wanted to say. Kaur does an amazing job at making sure the reader knows what she has been through. The details she is willing to put out there are so raw. For someone who hasn’t experienced what she has, they might feel a bit too much, but for those who have been through it, they will understand. And I honestly think she will heal a great deal of young women with her poetry.
Something that I absolutely love about Milk and Honey is that it reminds me of a grown up version of Shel Silverstein’s work. Kaur pairs drawings with some of her poetry, something that I have occasionally attempted in my poetry classes, and I think it really adds something to her work. Poetry is not just words on a page, it’s a full experience, and I think Kaur did absolutely everything to create that for readers.
Our Numbered Days is my favorite poetry book. As the very unhelpful Goodreads description states, “OCD” (which I linked) went viral, which is exactly how I discovered Neil Hilborn. I immediately bought his book. Where the other poetry books were very female based, Hilborn’s is centered a great deal on mental health, which is relatable to such a large crowd. His poetry is humorous, and often contains a darker humor. Hilborn has found a way to laugh at the harder things in life, if not a laugh tinged with a bit of pain. If you haven’t seen “OCD” I seriously recommend watching it. It’s beautiful and funny and heart breaking, a wonderful representation of his poetry book.
Do you have a favorite poet or poem? Leave them in the comments!