Sarah Jean Alexander’s debut poetry collection Wildlives digs deep into the fathomless depths of emotions that is found between two people in what often seems like a very small world. This scrapbook of poetry contains Alexander’s questions about love, loneliness, and how difficult it is to survive in the 21st century. Whether it is a tender love letter that is so sweet it will make your heart ache or a poem based on a terrifying nightmare that will leave you shaking, there is no doubt that this fledgling author’s work is compelling.
Some pieces will leave you trying to tease out the meaning behind her metaphors while other poems will have you stunned at the raw and heavy emotion lurking behind her words. But more importantly, there’s a sense of panic to Wildlives that urges readers to go out there and truly live their lives. Alexander wants you to experience every single moment and emotion, because that is what it truly means to be human.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, June 10th, 2015||No Comments »|
Unlike most other sappy YA novels, Marie Jaskulka’s The Lost Marble Notebook of Forgotten Girl and Random Boy is a realistic love story set to poetry. Forgotten Girl is a poetry-loving teenager who is going through a rough patch in life: her parents are getting a divorce and her mother is struggling with depression. However, she meets a good-looking popular teen named Random Boy who also secretly writes poetry in an attempt to make sense of his life. Their star-crossed love story is told in heart wrenching poems, and even if you’re not a teenager yourself, you can’t help but get swept up in their tale.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, June 3rd, 2015||No Comments »|
New York-based poet and belly dancer Evie Ivy’s Living in 12-Tone and Other Poetic Forms is a dreamy introspective collection on human nature and the uncertainties of life. Her writing swirls through each of the 12-tone poems, which is a form that consists of six couplets with 12 syllables in each. Since the pattern can change, Ivy’s poems are fluid, and if you look closely, you can see the almost-music in her writing flow through the entire collection.
Some pieces, such as “Letters That Flew” and “Tea by the Window,” bring to mind restless nights where you’ve stayed up pondering mistakes from years past or simply can’t sleep because you wonder if your tiny little life has any meaning. Others, such as “Rolling Dreams” and “Rude Lady,” show off Ivy’s acerbic wit. Whether the poem has a funny retort about slapping former President Nixon in a dream or is a snarky examination of a rude woman who has finally shown her true colors to the world in all her stuck-up glory, the variety in the author’s work will leave you riveted.
Living in 12-Tone and Other Poetic Forms is a soulful examination of life’s uncertainties and the joys that can be found in reflecting upon the inner wonders of the human mind.
Top image by Julie Jordan Scott.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Wednesday, May 27th, 2015||No Comments »|
Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar is a classic in the literary world, but despite the acclaimed reputation that grew around her because of this novel, it is her poetry that defines her the best. Plath’s story ended tragically when she took her own life, and the young age at which she passed away (at only 30 years old) has left her name with a haunting and ghost-like aura surrounding it. Perhaps that’s why it comes as such a shock to listen to this recording of her reciting her own beloved poem, “Daddy.”
Perfectly performed, this audio recording gives me the goosebumps. Plath’s tone and stylized reading gives off precise sentiments that work to cement the already daring poem. Press play, close your eyes, and focus your attention on this rare and beautiful reading. Sylvia Plath may have left us way too soon, but at least her work can live on forever.
|Recommended by Chelsey Grasso||Monday, May 18th, 2015||No Comments »|
Jamie Sharpe’s second poetry collection Cut-up Apologetic explores our society’s fear of aging and the reasons why we constantly mourn our lost youth. With brutal honesty, his poems point out how our fear of aging is linked to a fear of immortality. As people, we want to leave our mark on the world—a mark that would allow us to live forever, long after we’ve shuffled off this mortal coil. In the collection, the author uses finely honed sarcasm when he explains why we, as a society, are so insatiable in terms of buying material goods: we’re afraid of being forgotten and we consume without a second thought in an attempt to soothe our souls.
Despite the author’s honesty, he is not above critiquing his own lifestyle and freely admits that he’s often fallen prey to corporate America’s arbitrary rules about aging and discrimination as well. In the end, Cut-up Apologetic is a melancholic look at the foibles of modern society, and it explores our struggles, fears, and our desire to be remembered for ages to come.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Friday, May 15th, 2015||No Comments »|
Clementine von Radics’ poetry collection Mouthful of Forevers perfectly captures the Millennial experience and brings to life what it means to be young. With brutal, unflinching honesty and a rare gift for engaging verse, von Radics muses on topics such as love, loss, uncertainty, while reveling in life’s simpler pleasures. Millennial readers will find a voice who has spoken up about the many fears and doubts they have in their lives: finding a job in an unstable economy, the struggles of dating, and finding their own identity as they grow up.
von Radics’ poetry is sometimes as sharp as a knife and her brutal words will force her readers to examine the trajectory of their own lives. There are no rose colored glasses on the eyes of this author, as she captures youth’s beauty in all of its vibrant kaleidoscope of colors and honors both the joy and the pain of growing up.
Mouthful of Forevers is an ode to anyone who remembers the ghost of their youth, regardless of age.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, May 4th, 2015||No Comments »|
Too often, we look back at the past and beat ourselves up over events that can no longer be changed, but in Sarah Manguso’s memoir Ongoingness: The End of a Diary, she learns how to stay in the present instead of fretting about situations that have already occurred.
Ongoingness revolves around Manguso going back and re-reading a diary that she had kept for 25 years after she had recently become pregnant and given birth to a child. Before becoming a mother, she was obsessive about keeping a journal to make sure she didn’t forget the events that had happened to her over the years. However, after the birth of her child, Manguso realizes that our memories and their impact appear to us differently after we’ve hit a different period in our lives. Memories that once seemed so traumatic now appear insignificant in hindsight, and the author learns the value of living in the present and keeping yourself focused on the here and now.
|Recommended by Amanda Ferris||Monday, April 27th, 2015||No Comments »|