Review: You Sad Feminist – Megan Beech

050 - You Sad Feminist

Rating – 5*

Last year, when I read When I Grow Up I Want to be Mary Beard I thought I had found my perfect poetry collection, the one I’d keep coming back to again and again, that was until I read this. Megan Beech surpassed herself in this second collection, and I don’t even know how to put in to words what I am feeling after reading You Sad Feminist because it was amazing, and I feel amazing after reading it.

In You Sad Feminist there is not only hard hitting feminist poetry (what isn’t to like in that sales pitch?) but also it explores her personal experience, and feelings, about mental illness. That was a theme in her previous collection, but it was more pronounced in this second helping of her work. This last year I’ve really struggled with my mental health, and I am so proud of myself for where I’ve got to in just a year, and in this collection I found myself identifying even more with what she was saying. This is the sort of poetry I wish I could write, because every word of this collection was incredible and resonated with me. It put in to words my feelings about myself, my mental health, and even the world in general in the most eloquent way and I found myself reading, and rereading poems in this book throughout a day. I probably read it in it’s entirety about 3 times over the course of a Sunday, and I’ve dipped in and out of it since just revisiting favourite lines.

In my review of her previous collection, I touched on the fact she was a performance poet and how that doesn’t always translate well to the written word – once again she nails it. Since reading this I’ve looked on youtube, found a few clips of her performing poems form this collection and while the words are a lot more hard hitting when read aloud, the meaning isn’t lost when just reading to yourself.

One of the bits that hit me most was in the last poem The Workshop. This wasn’t only because I’m the biggest Wizard of Oz fan, but also because it put in to a few short lines the last year of my life:-

This greyness, this staleness will not last.
You do not have to suffer.
Like Dorothy in Oz, your life that was can wash from greyscale to technicolour.
From this, your spirits can lift and your body can recover.
There is another road, a life of yellow brick gold in which you can find health and heart and home.

I sincerely urge people to look this woman up because she’s incredible. There are plenty of clips of her performing on YouTube – and I hope one day to be lucky enough to see her perform in person. In the mean time, please read or watch her work.

Naturally, this is a 5/5 read and one I have left copious amounts of post-it notes in so I can revisit as and when I wish to.

Review: Hold Your Own – Kate Tempest

17 - Hold Your Own

Rating – 4*

In absolutely no way am I an expert on poetry, but it is something that once in a while I do enjoy. This book has been everywhere in the bookish community, but I was unsure if I was capable of appreciating this. I read some of the first poem, which spans about 20 pages in all, and I just fell in love.

The theme of this is that it’s based around the myth of Tiresias, a young prophet in Greek myth who was transformed in to a woman by the Gods, only temporarily. It’s simply inspired. The collection is split in to four sections, inspired by the stages of his/her life: childhood, womanhood, manhood, and “blind profit”.

This poetry is easy to get through and it’s relatable. And while there were some which I just couldn’t get in to, I think that’s the beauty of poetry though because even though I couldn’t get the rhythm of some of them, I still liked what they were saying. For me, there were a handful of standout poems in this collection, but my favourite in the entire book was On Clapton Pond at Dawn. This one I found myself reading several times, flicking back to to re-indulge myself.

Honestly, I think this collection has made me more likely to pick up poetry as a whole, but also I really want to pick up more by Kate Tempest, both Brand New Ancients and her novel which came out in the past week or so! This is a very solid 4*; I don’t feel I can give it 5* because I’ve not got much poetry to compare it to!

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Review: Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense – Lewis Carroll || Blogmas Day 12

jabberwockyToday I bring you a review, and it is of Jabberwocky and Other Nonsense, a collection of the poetry of Lewis Carroll. I’ve learnt one thing while writing this review and it is simply that reviewing a poetry collection is quite difficult. I’ll start by saying that I loved this book but I’ll follow that up with a disclaimer of I’m not good at reviewing poetry!

Firstly, I have to say the title of this book is somewhat deceiving – there isn’t all that much nonsense! A lot of the poetry is quite serious and melancholic and I actually really enjoyed it on the whole. It’s a nice blend of the nonsense and the serious poetry in this edition (Penguin Clothbound). Carroll was famous for making up words and what I really appreciated was the notes on the text which explain at least some of those words.

My favourite sections were those from Alice (both the first book and Through the Looking Glass) and the poetry that I was already familiar with. I remember loving Mouse Tails as a child because I adored the formatting! There are also a lot of riddles in this book which I had fun with and made me think. While a lot of this poetry is nonsense and a little childish I got just as much out of it as an adult – in fact I thoroughly enjoyed it!

I’m not a poetry expert by any stretch of the word. I just like reading it once in a while and this book was pretty good for me. It was fun and really quite charming to read. I think this is really a book that the whole family could enjoy as kids love rhyming poetry and nonsense! I have to give this a 4* review because I really enjoyed it, even if I have very little constructive to say about it.