Review: Lace Bone Beast by N.L. Shompole

Here is emptiness. Here is a mouth after a recent excavation, black with soot, devoid of kisses. Here are hands, trembling against the soft ache of morning, here are eyes, wet, wide, half-full of sky and loneliness. Here is belly, back, femur, spine, ragged and smooth all at once, all at once. Here are dreams, ink black and speckled, lost behind the eyes. Here is a muted elegy, crow’s feet feathered over the eyes like lace. Here are the last strains of a dirge, wild, discordant, free.

This collection of richly layered poems discussing forgiveness, self-worth, survival, healing, love and sorrow was a mixed bag for me. Some I liked and felt deeply in my heart, while others went completely over my head. As a result, I ended up loosing my interest bit by bit, until I’d stumble upon a new poem that resparked my love…

On that note, here are the pieces that left me with a profound feeling inside:

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That last sentence pierced right through my heart.


If nothing else, Lace Bone Beast managed to remind me of how much I love poetry collections, which I’m grateful for I’m excited to pick up more in the near future!

Oh, and I also listened to this amazing song thanks to Skam:

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

4/5 stars

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Review: Why God Is a Woman by Nin Andrews

Two things instantly convinced me to pick this up:

  1. Why God Is a Woman is a collection of poems written about a magical island where women rule and men are the second sex. Exploring that concept seemed to be right up my alley.
  2. Also, that stunningly beautiful cover:

Going into this, I was hoping for a collection focused heavily on equal rights, pay, respect, and representation, but Why God Is a Woman didn’t really know where to put its focus. It rather relies more on the superficial side of the movement: barbies (or Boberto dolls as they’re called in this collection), weddings, genital tattoos (for real), Angelina Jolie, wingspan (I’m???)… And I was left feeling quite disappointed.

Maybe it was just that I had such different expectations going into this, but Why God Is a Woman did not live up to the hype I had set up for it in my mind.

I did, however, enjoy a few poems and quotes that I would like to share next:

On the Island where I come from

parents worship their daughters. They invest all their hopes for the future in their girls, spoiling them rotten, letting them do and have whatever they wish. When I was a boy, my family was no different. While my sisters were allowed to go out night after night, I was never out of my parents’ sight. Like all proper Island boys, I knew I had to remain a virgin. I had to keep my reputation as clean as freshly bleached linen. But by the time I was twelve, I wanted to go out on the town. I wanted to fly around after dark. It’s not fair, I complained. My sisters don’t have to abide by the rules. Why do I? My father said what he always said. You aren’t a girl, son. God didn’t make us equals.

Until I was eighteen, my father kept me indoors, checking on me after he turned out the lights. A homemaker and charm-school graduate himself, he was forever tidying the kitchen and garden as well as my hair, my wardrobe and my changing moods. He knew when the first sign of desire crossed my mind, and when I kissed my neighbor, Angelina, on the sly. He knew when I smoked my first cigarette and drank beer with the cool kids after school. And he knew when anger flared beneath my obedient smile. Anger, he said, is unbecoming of a proper Island boy.”

“Alone, he stared at the wall, and when asked if he was okay, he didn’t answer. He couldn’t. He was drowning in a sorrow so deep, the words would not rise from his throat.”

On the Island where I come from

the first signs of puberty happen at night. A boy wakes to feel a fire inside him, like an ache, a hunger, an indefinable wish, followed by the first prickling of wings. It hurts so much when the wings break through the flesh, each wing-bone a knife in the skin. (Picture it as the sharp beak of a baby bird pecking its shell. Only the shell is a skin full of nerve-endings.) Then there is the blood, the shame, the need to cover it up so no one will know. This, the boy learns, is how it feels to be a man. Nothing he does, says, or prays can ever make him feel safe from what he has become.”

Why God Is a Woman

“When I was a boy, did I already tell you this? I had an ongoing conversation with God. I spoke to God loudly at the end of each day, complaining about the women who ran my life: my sisters, my mother, my aunt. One day my mother told me that God is a woman. She said someday I would understand.”


Overall, this collection was a bit of a let down because of its huge potential to succeed with a fascinating question such as: Why God Is a Woman. But you can’t always get what you want. And I’ll still be on the look out for more feminist poetry to enjoy.

3/5 stars

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Review: Poisoned Apples by Christine Heppermann

This poetry collection takes a honest look on love, sex, food, and bodies. And it does so with dark, unsettling imageries that ultimately made it so unique.

Though it was brilliantly exceptional and bizarre, it ultimately failed to impress me save for a few poems:

If Tampons
Were for Guys

“Of course there are no pink wrappers,
only camo.
Forget Gentle Glide and pictures of pearls—
the box reads Smooth Ride across
the hood of a bitchin’ red Porsche.

For pads with Wings, Kotex shows jet fighters.
For Heavy Flow, ninjas surf a tsunami.
For Scented, smiling blondes in bikinis
enjoy sniffing a crotch.

Panty Shields are now just Shields
or maybe Boxer Armor.
On the commercial, tanks roll through the bathroom,
manned by scowling marines in white pants.

Then it’s back to Monday Night Football,
where both starting quarterbacks are on the DL.
“Dysmenorrhea,” mutter the trainers.
In other words, cramps.”

The Little Mermaid

“Even before I found the globe in his study
and realized that this endless land
is really just a few stray crusts drifting
through the blue, my world had shrunk

to the size of my tender new feet
on the dance floor, each minuet
like a harpooning,

to the size of the satin pillow he lets me
sleep on beside his bed,

to the size of his eyes reflecting my eyes
begging lovemeholdmedon’tleaveme,

to the size of my mouth, this dead
eel’s nest, open now while he feeds me
oysters, or, as I used to call them,
friends.”

Rapunzel

“How foolish I was to believe that
crooning my name from below meant something
more than pressing an elevator button.

They all want to feel themselves rising
higher. They all want the girl in the tower
to pour herself into their hands.

Who’s to say that, given a chance
at lower altitude, I would be different
from the rest?

Today will be the day I refuse
to lift my head from this damp pillow,
far away from the comb and the brush and the pleading
bodies always luring me down.”

Nature Lesson

“The dress code says
we must cover ourselves
in
ample pants,
skirts that reach well below
our lascivious knees,
polos buttoned over
the rim of the canyon,
a glimpse of which can send a boy
plunging to such depths
he may never climb back up
to algebra.
We say
that if a hiker strays
off the path, trips, and
winds up crippled,
is it really
the canyon’s fault?”


Overall, Poisoned Apples was a quick read, but failed to leave a lasting impression. However, the photographs scattered throughout really made for a more fascinating and haunting read: poisoned-apples-1-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-2-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-3-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-4-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-5-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-6-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-7-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-8-bookspoilspoisoned-apples-9-bookspoils

3/5 stars

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