Hey, y’all, it’s Lila! I love novels, but one of my other literary loves is poetry! Lately I’ve gotten more into the modern poetry “genre” and I’m loving it! Of course, naturally, I’ve been reading more modern poetry collections. There are definitely hits and misses, but overall it’s pretty wonderful genre/category! It’s hard to make a huge review for most modern poetry collections, as most of them are pretty tiny (the collections and the poems themselves), so I figured that when I do review a poetry collection, I’d do so grouped in mini reviews.
Most recently I picked up Nejma by Nayyirah Waheed and The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace and I definitely have some thoughts on them. So The following are my mini reviews for both…
Nejma by Nayyirah Waheed
Author: Nayyirah Waheed
Trigger Warning/Content Warning: N/A (PLEASE NOTE: Although I have not currently ascertained the need for any trigger warnings when it comes to this title, please inform me if have missed something and I will update this section)
unsleeping. gold sweeping. poems.
i have in my hands.
I’m not gonna lie, I was kinda disappointed with Nejma, Waheed’s sophomore poetry collection. While I loved Salt (her first published collection), I hoped to find some growth and development in style and theme in Nejma. Instead I got a lot of the same. In fact, in many ways Nejma felt more like an extension of Salt rather than a follow up to it. Same style, same metaphors, same themes–a repetition, an echo, a mirror, rather than a new path. It felt…safe. It felt like Waheed found what worked with readers and so she stuck with it, but in doing so, lost some of her “oomph,” some of her heart, and even a tad of her sincerity. I love Waheed’s poetry, but in the future, I do hope she branches off and takes some risks, because I think in doing so, she’ll not only develop as a poet, but also find a lot more depth and range in her voice.
⭐ ⭐ ⭐
The Princess Saves Herself in This One by Amanda Lovelace
Title: The Princess Saves Herself in This One
Author: Amanda Lovelace
Trigger Warning/Content Warning: Self harm, suicide, death, discussion of body image issues, depression (PLEASE NOTE: Although I have not currently ascertained the need for any trigger warnings when it comes to this title, please inform me if have missed something and I will update this section)
Goodreads Summary: “Ah, life- the thing that happens to us while we’re off somewhere else blowing on dandelions & wishing ourselves into the pages of our favorite fairy tales.”
A poetry collection divided into four different parts: the princess, the damsel, the queen, & you. the princess, the damsel, & the queen piece together the life of the author in three stages, while you serves as a note to the reader & all of humankind. Explores life & all of its love, loss, grief, healing, empowerment, & inspirations.
Please Note: As a disclaimer, I should mention that Amanda has been a member of the bookish community on Tumblr for an incredibly long time and while I do not and have never known her personally, I was a major fan of her Tumblr book blog. This in no way has affected my opinion and the following is an honest review of The Princess Saves Herself in This One.
Truthfully, I also found myself slightly disappointed with The Princess Saves Herself in This One. The collection doesn’t hesitate to tackle a myriad of difficult topics, from death to self harm to depression to body image issues and more, and all in the most sincere of manners. However, the collection, for me, lacked that certain spark. Perhaps it was because I could not fully relate to all of the topics discussed, but in truth, I’m not sold on that reason, as I think poetry is a vehicle of empathy and sympathy, making you feel even if you cannot relate to the circumstances which brought on the poet’s feelings. I think, for me it had more to do with the style, which I felt lacked a certain sophistication. For me, The Princess Saved Herself in This One felt a lot like a first try (which, in all fairness, it is, in fact, Lovelace’s first published collection). It felt like the wording and stylistic choices didn’t have a complete, thought out reason (be it emotional or logical) behind why they were made, more like Lovelace was just experimenting. And it was that feeling–that there was little reasoning behind stylistic and wording choices, just experimentation–that made the poems slightly fall short of creating a full emotional impact. I do see promise in Lovelace as a poet, however, and I think with more practice and refinement, she could become a really incredible voice in the modern poetry category.