Review: Peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Humorous and biting, personal and communal, self-deprecating and unapologetically self-loving, peluda (meaning “hairy” or “hairy beast”) is the poet at her best. The book explores the relationship between femininity and body hair as well as the intersections of family, class, the immigrant experience, Latina identity, and much more, all through Lozada-Oliva’s unique lens and striking voice. peluda is a powerful testimony on body image and the triumph over taboo.

“the loser of the war: has the best memory.
the winner: gets to forget.”

What originally caught my attention with this collection was the vibrantly powerful book cover: Peluda-- bookspoilsThen, as always, I looked the author up online to see if any memorable quotes of hers were shared. And was taken back by quite a gripping one:

I continued on with raised expectations that were mostly met with the occasional poem here and there in the collection. Such as:

Peluda 2-- bookspoils

The highlighted responses made my mouth drop with surprise. An utterly strong poem from start to finish.

Peluda 1-- bookspoils

Peluda 3-- bookspoilsThis one poem cemented my decision to check out the first season of Jessica Jones.


This collection full of creativity, feminism, love, bodies would be recommend for anyone looking to spruce up their poetry shelf.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: September 26th, 2017

3/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Peluda, just click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

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Review: Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

Waking up to the news that Sabrina Benaim had released a poetry collection genuinely put a smile on my face this morning.

Depression & Other Magic Tricks-- bookspoils

Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 50 million views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

I was pleased to find that her voice, both written and spoken, is so distuigished that it’s impossible not to hear it while reading. However, unlike her live slam poems where you can feel her passion translate over onto you, in Depression & Other Magic Tricks I failed to experience the same.

While reading this collection there just wasn’t ever that moment of epiphany of “YES! I can relate and understand because I feel that way too.” My attention was solely focused on trying to decipher what each poem meant and also who it’s supposed to be directed at. I never really felt like we got a solid look into the themes promised in the blurb above, rather just mentions of it. I feel like most of the pieces were more on loneliness and breakups and romance, as opposed to a sharp focus on mental health. So I repeatedly felt as if I’d missed something major upon completing each poem and like I was in way over my head with this.

Still, I’d like to include three works that sparked something indescribable in me:

Depression & Other Magic Tricks 1-- bookspoils

 

Depression & Other Magic Tricks 2-- bookspoils

 

Depression & Other Magic Tricks 3-- bookspoils


Overall, though my expectations for Sabrina Benaim’s poetry collection weren’t quite met, I’m still glad I got the chance to read new works by her.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: August 8th, 2017

3/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying Depression & Other Magic Tricksjust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!

Review: So Much Synth by Brenda Shaughnessy

So Much Synth first caught my eye back in April with its dynamic last line of the introducing poem titled, I Have a Time Machine“the past is so horribly fast.” I hurried on to request it from the publisher (Copper Canyon Press); and was beyond ecstatic and grateful when my copy finally arrived in my hands at the start of this month.So Much Synth- bookspoilsSubversions of idiom and cliché punctuate Shaughnessy’s fourth collection as she approaches middle age and revisits the memories, romances, and music of adolescence. So Much Synth is a brave and ferocious collection composed of equal parts femininity, pain, pleasure, and synthesizer. While Shaughnessy tenderly winces at her youthful excesses, we humbly catch glimpses of our own.

Though I caught myself feeling a bit over-my-head with some poems at the start, the pace and momentum returned with the piece “Is There Something I Should Know?,” which at a whopping 30 pages never lost me for even one sentence. It succeeds immensely in capturing numerous themes of adolescence over the course of time, including periods (“blood and mess and cramps and hormones”), Judy Blume, books, angst, anxiety, catcalling, body-image and more.

On that note, I think it’s best now if I let the words and pieces speak for themselves with these quote excerpts:

“Adolescence is all absolutes: if bad, one must be the very worst
to avoid being mistaken for average.”

“I’d hide and lose and seek and find myself in every page:
laughing, rereading and then re-rereading out loud, disbelieving the details till my system could absorb them like the nutrients they were.”

“I’m not even sure anything happened to me.
Or to whom everything happened.”

And the fact that I read “Oh god, is there any music as good as what you heard
at fourteen?” the day I rediscovered this emo band I used to listen to at exactly that age was astronomical for me. [gets war flashbacks from the emo days]

I think it goes without saying that So Much Synth was not only beautiful and raw but real and aware of pain.” And I’m eager to continue on with Shaughnessy’s past and future works.

ARC kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Expected publication: October 10th, 2017

4/5 stars

Note: I’m an Amazon Affiliate. If you’re interested in buying So Much Synthjust click on the image below to go through my link. I’ll make a small commission!