Another poetry review? How exciting! I seem to be doing a lot of these in recent months, however is that so much of a bad thing?
Customary warning: This is a reminder that these are my personal opinions. My thoughts and feelings are not your thoughts and feelings. I may not always be the target audience for a book; sometimes I am. If I do not like a book, that doesn’t mean you’ll dislike it. If I love a book or simply like a book, you may hate it. Take everything I say with this knowledge. If it sounds interesting to you despite what I’ve said, then go ahead and read it. You’ll only know you like something if you read it yourself.
That being said… Spoilers ahead.
Where I Ache by Megan O’Keeffe
Synopsis From The Book
Where I Ache is broken up into six chapters ranging from themes such as depression, jealousy, death, and strength. These are delicate subjects to talk about and most people avoid them because of the uncomfortable vulnerability. I’ve always written and shared my poetry with the hope that readers would relate and feel less alone. I hope you feel a sense of community to all of those connected throughout this collection.
Initial Thoughts Before Reading:
A few weeks back I was contacted by Megan O’Keeffe about reading this poetry collection. She provided me an eARC and asked for me to review it honestly. I was ecstatic to even have someone reaching out to me to be honest. This collection comes out JUNE 10TH, so if my review has you in the general mood to go ahead and read it, pick up a copy! Now to initial thoughts.
Upon looking at the poetry collection I found a trigger warning in the beginning. This is wonderful for those who are worried about triggers that the poetry may hold, keep that in mind. I skimmed through this (random scrolling as I was bored at work) and saw some interesting formatting (bolding, Center vs Left aligned), and art. Since it is electronic I can’t get a complete vibe from the book outside of these scrolling moments, but I have high hopes.
Initial Thoughts After Reading:
It was great! And as a note I didn’t realize until I was done that many of these are collection exclusive. Since the author posts her poetry on her blog, many of them came from there. But not all. In fact many of the ones I noted below are exclusives.
I’ve said before that reviewing poetry for me is difficult because of how subjective it is. I love poetry, so chances are I am more likely to love poetry collections. I found that I was pulled in by the poems and the art. I am a bit hesitant these days for poetry with rhyme schemes because of how little I’ve interacted with them recently, but this collection was great. (Including giving me the names of two different forms that I did not know.) I liked this. Did I love it? No. Some of the poems didn’t land for me, but I did like it.
This collection was split into sections, which I think I would have mentioned in the likes if it weren’t for the fact that almost every collection of poetry I’ve read recently was sectioned off. I like sections, for the sake of keeping a solid mood and then moving on (like a story). This collection does that well, however since I have seen it in other collections, I have not mentioned it as it was not something particularly unique to this set. That being said:
What I Liked:
Art; I’ve seen art used in different ways through poetry and this art was used sparingly, which was nice and refreshing. It was beautifully detailed and used when it helped with impact.
Themes; It is a dark to light sort of progression in themes touching on depression, grief, and the touch of PTSD. There is strength, and wisdom in many of the later poems, aiming for an uplifting, sort of personal growth story that I did find myself empathizing with.
Rhyming; It’s not often I see this, and so I will give it the praise I think it deserves. I didn’t like it for all the poems, but I did think it was used well. I also know that not everyone sees freeform poetry as poetry, so poetry like this (with more structure and the rules and forms) lands better as poetry.
Use of Bold and Italics; yes. Just yes. There is a difference between using bold and using italics. It just feels different. You know what I mean? Bold feels more like a statement, a fact, an emphasis. Italics feel fluid, stressed, an emotion laying within the words. It may just be me, however, and, in which case, ignore me.
What I Would Have Liked or Changed:
Not much I can think of. Some of the poems just weren’t for me.
Time Taken To Read
This is difficult because I really loved this collection at times, and then at others the poems fell flat for me. I want to give it a five, for the amazing poems, but I can not.
“We’re making angels out of monsters / in the dark.” – pg 6 (Please Don’t Sugar Coat This For Me)
“If You Don’t Like Me Now / Then You Never Really Liked Me / I haven’t become anyone / who I wasn’t already.” – pg 137
Other Poems of Note: Flying or Falling*, Never Meant to be Mine, The Evil Dies With Me*, Buried, Shedding*, The Forgotten Second Lesson*, The Enemy*, Worthy*, Grasping the Pieces I Have of You*, In Threes*, Forest Fire, Love the Artist not the Art, Dream*, I Am Here
*Notates that this poem is exclusively in this collection.
Remember that this Collection comes out June 10th! So if you are interested, be sure to check it out!