Books · Poetry · Reviews

(Poetry) Book Thoughts: Violet Bent Backwards Over The Grass (Lana Del Rey)

★★★★★★☆

Title: Violent Bent Over The Grass Backwards
Author: Lana Del Rey
Genre: Poetry
First published: 2020
Edition: Hardback, published by Simon and Schuster in 2020

“Violet Bent Backwards Over the Grass is the title poem of the book and the first poem I wrote of many. Some of which came to me in their entirety, which I dictated and then typed out, and some that I worked laboriously picking apart each word to make the perfect poem. They are eclectic and honest and not trying to be anything other than what they are and for that reason I’m proud of them, especially because the spirit in which they were written was very authentic.” —Lana Del Rey

🌸🌸🌸

I bought this poetry book on a whim. I have been listening to the author’s music quite a lot lately. It always touches me, so I figured maybe her poetry would as well. It did.

There is something very lyrical, but real and heartfelt about her prose. It took me a few poems to get used to the rhythm and feel of her writing, but by the end I really loved it. I loved how her poems are irregular and almost jarring at times. It made sense in the themes of this work, which seems to be an exploration of life and self and maybe acceptance as well, her place in this immediate world she is existing in.

I enjoyed this thoroughly and the photographs scattered throughout and the way her typed pages are printed in the book give it a great feel. The hardback was a joy to read.

I definitely want to listen to her reading this work, but as a poetry book it already hit the right spot for me.

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Poetry · Reviews

(Poetry) Book Thoughts: Lines by Leon (Leon Stevens)

Stevens, Leon - Lines by Leon

★★★★★★☆

Title: Lines by Leon: Poems, Prose and Pictures
Author: Leon Stevens
Genre: Poetry   Pages: 90
First published: 2019
Edition: E-book, kindly sent by the author

Lines by Leon is a selection of poems, prose, and short stories that address the subjects of loss, struggle, and reflection. Inside these thoughtful contemplations are original observations about ego, behavior, human relations, places, and the environment. 

🤍

I loved this poetry collection. It is only short and quite light-hearted, even if it deals with some deeper subjects. To be honest, I found it a breath of fresh air and it was a joy to read.

I liked the cadence of the poems a lot. The author is a musician and songwriter as well and I think some of that is reflected in the poems, which sometimes feel like pieces of lyrics in the best possible way. It was easy for me to connect to them and to visualize what the poet was talking about. A lot of them made me smile, mostly in recognition!

There are some illustrations scattered throughout that add a nice touch. At the end of a book the addition of a graphic novel element and some fragments of short stories should feel out of place, but somehow do not.

I will give you a short poem from this collection that made me smile:

Ego
Sorry, I don’t have room for your ego
Maybe, if you got rid of most of it
You might fit
Into my life
– but probably not

I thoroughly enjoyed this collection and I will be buying myself a physical copy. I will keep an eye out for anything else Leon Stevens publishes in the future.

Highly recommended!

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Poetry · Reviews

Poetry Review: In The Dark, Soft Earth (Frank Watson)

Watson, Frank - In The Dark, Soft Earth

★★★★★☆☆

Title: In The Dark, Soft Earth
Author: Frank Watson
Genre: Poetry   Pages: 232
First published: to be published 7 July 2020
Edition: E-book, kindly sent by the author

Vignette verses explore the workings of love, nature, spirituality, and dreams with sprinklings of tarot symbolism and jazzy blues. Together these verses contemplate the subtle underpinnings of a soft earth.

*

Poetry is very personal. Something one person loves, may not work for another. Poems that do not work when you read them internally, may suddenly make sense when you read them aloud.

This collection for me was a little bit hit and miss. There were poems I absolutely loved, like the title poem, which really struck a chord. But there were some that just felt like a collection of sentences that did not necessarily make sense to me as a whole. At times the poems went somewhere I really did not expect and sometimes that worked, but at other times they lost me completely.

I found I especially loved the poems that had imagery of music and nature. Those crept into my heart and i found myself thinking about afterwards. I also really enjoyed the series of poems under the heading of An Entrance to the Tarot Garden.

There was some phrasing that felt a bit repetitive. I am not sure whether this was deliberate, but it was something I noticed a little too much, especially in the first half.

Would I recommend this collection? I think I would. I did feel there was a deeper meaning to these than I have not quite grasped on first read. This is a poetry collection I will come back to at some point in the future.

An example of one of the shorter poems I really liked in this collection:

jazz notes

jazz notes
blue totes

cold air
and sudden stares

as bebop blew
the ragged zoo

of thin-skinned moats
and sinking boats

until we knew
our time was through

5 out of 7 stars

Books · Poetry · Reviews

Poetry Thoughts: Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis (Wendy Cope)

Cope, Wendy - Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis

★★★★★☆☆

Title: Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis
Author: Wendy Cope
Genre: Poetry   Pages: 69
First published: 1986
Edition: Paperback, published by Faber and Faber in 1986

Making Cocoa for Kingsley Amis

It was a dream I had last week
And some sort of record seemed vital
I know it wouldn’t be much of a poem
But I love the  title

I don’t read poetry that often, but this was a fun one. The poems are mostly modern in feel, some written from the poet’s point-of-view, others from a man’s perspective. There are poems of observation, some love poems, even some haiku and some seem to simply exist because it sounds pretty. I am perfectly fine with all of those.

The rhytms worked well and a lot of these sound great read out loud.

As a collection of poems I enjoyed most of these and they did not feel too simple or too high-brow. In fact, there was a good sense of humour throughout.

If you like poetry, I highly recommend this one.

5 out of 7 stars

Books · Poetry · Reviews

Book Thoughts: Nocturnal (Wilder Poetry)

Wilder Poetry - Nocturnal

★★★★☆☆☆

Title: Nocturnal
Author: Wilder Poetry
Genre: Poetry
To be published: 7 May 2019 by Andrews McMeel Publishing
Edition: E-book courtesy of NetGalley and the publisher

A collection of words and imagery inspired by darkened skies and sleepless nights. it is a journey of healing and self-discovery whether love stays or leaves. it is dreaming with your eyes wide open while the rest of the world is hiding.

I love the word ‘nocturnal’. I have no idea why, but I do, and that is why I chose to review this poetry collection. That and my desire to read more poetry. It was the title and front cover that caught my eye.

Let me start by saying that the artwork is stunning and I absolutely love it. It is worth purchasing a copy of this collection for that alone.

I have mixed feelings about the poetry itself. Some of the poems were really close to my heart and others were just a bit meh. There were too many poems of only a few short sentences in my honest opinion. I preferred the slightly longer ones.

The short sharp ones can work, but too many of them and I feel the collection loses its power. I felt this one suffered a bit from that.

Having said that, as a whole I did enjoy the poems, especially in conjunction with the artwork. Were these poems eye opening and absolutely brilliant? No, but they did express emotion quite well and sometimes that is all you need.

4 out of 7 stars

Books · Children's Books · Poetry · Reviews

Children’s Book Thoughts: The Truth Pixie (Matt Haig)

haig, matt - the truth pixie (children's)

★★★★★★☆

Title: The Truth Pixie
Author:  Matt Haig   Illustrator: Chris Mould
Genre: Children’s Fiction / Poetry Pages: 119
First published: 2018
Edition: Hardcover, published by Canongate Books Ltd in 2018

Wherever she is, whatever the day, She only has one kind of thing to say.
Just as cats go miaow and cows go moo, The Truth Pixie can only say things that are true.

Having read my first adult book by Matt Haig in 2018, I was keen to try some of his children’s fiction on my six-year-old daughter, so I bought her The Truth Pixie.

I read it with her and we both really enjoyed it. She liked the illustrations by Chris Mould and the story of the Truth Pixie. True to a six-year-old’s nature, her favourite bit was the mouse poo in her hair!

As an adult, I appreciated the rhyming and the powerful message that is at its core. For me, like Julia Donaldson’s books, this one was a joy to read, because of the rhythm of the words. It is the kind of story that I would be happy to read to my child again and again, but that I can also see her reading herself (she was reading along with me).

A big thumbs up from me!

6 out of 7 stars

Books · Poetry · Reviews

Poetry Thoughts: Wild Flowers (Michelle S Smith)

smith, michelle s - wild flowers

★★★★★★☆

Title: Wild Flowers
Author: Michelle S Smith
Genre: Poetry    Pages: 124
First published: 2018
Edition: e-book, provided by author

This collection of Poetry and Prose is an explosion of femininity, empowerment, and personal growth. Michelle celebrates her triumph over mental illness and promotes resilience and self-love in her readers. 

I always forget how much I love poetry and this collection reminded me.

This collection feels very real and raw. It is not flowery or overdone. These are simply poems from the heart, from that emotional place that we all have inside of us. These are poems that will speak to a lot of people, because a lot of us will recognise the feelings the author expresses. I certainly did. As the author writes her way through anguish, memories of love, depression and healing and then finding self love again, I felt those emotions through her words, There is also some LGBTQ+ representation here, which is a bonus.

I can only imagine how cathartic it must have been to commit these thoughts to paper. I like the overarching narrative of this collection and how it ends on  a positive hopeful note.

6 out of 7 stars