Poetry

All posts in the Poetry category

The Sun And Her Flowers – Rupi Kaur

Published June 23, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

From Rupi Kaur, the #1 New York Times bestselling author of milk and honey, comes her long-awaited second collection of poetry. A vibrant and transcendent journey about growth and healing. Ancestry and honoring one’s roots. Expatriation and rising up to find a home within yourself.

Divided into five chapters and illustrated by Kaur, the sun and her flowers is a journey of wilting, falling, rooting, rising, and blooming. A celebration of love in all its forms.

What did I think?:

Hello everyone and welcome back to another review on bibliobeth today. I’ve been away for a little break, perhaps longer than I would have liked as I’ve had some life “stuff” to deal with that has led to me being offered a new job. It’s been a tough decision for me to make as it involves uprooting myself from a place I love working, but practically and health-wise it’s going to be the best move to make as it will involve a reduction in both travelling and travelling costs! Anyway, today I’m here to talk about the second volume of poetry by Rupi Kaur who also wrote the astounding Milk and Honey (which I’m a huge fan of). Let me be frank, I’m not any kind of poetry connoisseur and I know the author has had a lot of criticism about her poetic style but all I’m here to say is, different things work for different people and personally, her poetry DEFINITELY speaks to me.

Rupi Kaur, author of the poetry collection The Sun And Her Flowers

Unlike most fiction/non-fiction books I review, it’s going to be pretty hard to give a synopsis regarding the particular content of The Sun And Her Flowers but there are overlapping themes between Rupi’s first collection and this, her second. It is divided into five chapters, all in turn connected with the growth cycle of flowers so we have: Wilting, Falling, Rooting, Rising and Blooming. As you may have suspected (or if you read the author’s previous collection,  we start out on a somewhat darker note with Wilting and Falling where the author explores more heart-breaking nods to her life experiences so far. This includes her struggles with insecurity and body image, the break-up of relationships, her relationship with her mother and emotional and sexual abuse. Rupi uses her own simple but effective illustrations to complement her poetry which varies in length from a few paragraphs to merely a few lines but it seems every word is chosen so methodically in this latter case that just one sentence can be devastatingly moving.

After the initial few chapters, The Sun And Her Flowers embodies a much more positive message than Milk and Honey which at times, went into some very terrifying emotional places. The author focuses much more on learning to love yourself as a woman, accepting yourself for who you are, connecting with family and friends more often and accepting your past whilst trying to move on. The messages in her poetry that promote self-worth are dazzlingly effective and something I can see myself re-visiting myself if I’m having a bad mental health day and need a little boost. She still goes to some murky places and if you’re particularly sensitive to the topics I mentioned in the above paragraph, I would approach this collection with caution but generally, I could feel the optimistic change in her writing compared to Milk and Honey.

It’s almost as if Rupi Kaur has got everything out of her system, released a lot of anger and negativity regarding her past and although she understandably still has demons that haunt her, she is managing her own emotional well-being a lot better. She is able to discuss things that have happened to her in her past, confront the debilitating emotions that she suffered (and still continues to suffer on bad days) but can see the light at the end of the tunnel and approaches things with a much more positive outlook. For me, after Milk And Honey, my expectations were exponentially raised and although it isn’t the five star read that Kaur’s debut collection was and didn’t have as much of an emotional impact on me, it’s still a moving piece of work that I would be happy to read through again in the future, especially when I’m having particularly trying points of my own life.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

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One – Sarah Crossan

Published May 20, 2018 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

Grace and Tippi are twins – conjoined twins.

And their lives are about to change.

No longer able to afford homeschooling, they must venture into the world – a world of stares, sneers and cruelty. Will they find more than that at school? Can they find real friends? And what about love?

But what neither Grace or Tippi realises is that a heart-wrenching decision lies ahead. A decision that could tear them apart. One that will change their lives even more than they ever imagined…

From Carnegie Medal shortlisted author Sarah Crossan, this moving and beautifully crafted novel about identity, sisterhood and love ultimately asks one question: what does it mean to want and have a soulmate?

What did I think?:

I’ve been a little bit worried about writing this review. I’ve written a couple of more critical reviews recently and to be honest, I find those a bit easier to write as I find you can really focus on the aspects you found more difficult in a novel and discuss them more extensively. Sometimes I feel there’s only so many times you can say the words: great, amazing, touching, beautiful etc, etc before they become meaningless and don’t adequately convey the depth of emotion that you felt about a book. One is a book just like this. Told entirely in free verse, this story made my heart swell, burst rather painfully and moved me beyond the point that I ever thought I could be moved. I wasn’t sure I was going to connect with it at all considering I haven’t had that much experience (if any!) with novels told in this style but boy, was I wrong!

Irish author, Sarah Crossan, author of One.

One is the story of conjoined twins, Grace and Tippi, both very much individuals mentally speaking, but physically, from birth they are forced to share vital organs in their body, keeping each other alive in the process. Life isn’t easy for Grace and Tippi. All they want is just to be like any other teenager, going to school, hanging out with friends and having relationships with boys. However, as their bodies are permanently entwined, there are obvious difficulties of them doing these things alone which makes life highly stressful. Coupled with this is the stares they get just from walking down the street and the hungry media at their door, particularly when the girls decide they’ve had enough and they want to be separated. This is the tale of their daily struggles with their rare condition, of two very different girls with such a special sisterly bond it will not fail to break your heart.

American conjoined twins Abby and Brittany Hensel.

Wow, this book. It made me feel so many emotions that I never ever thought I could experience from this particular style of writing. For it is the free verse that makes this book so incredibly unique. Sarah Crossan manages to say so many things with so little words and each word appears to have been chosen so methodically that it reads like a dream., smooth, unfaltering and utterly gut wrenching. I fell completely in love with the characters of Grace and Tippi, especially in the way they faced their struggles head-on independently and bravely. Obviously they don’t have any idea of what it’s like to be apart, they’ve been joined together their whole lives so have got pretty used to their situation. However, you can see their frustration and upset when they realise how their condition may prevent them from having a “normal” life like other girls of their age. I don’t want to say too much more for fear of giving something away but if you like YA fiction, you’re interested in trying something a bit different and you’re in the mood to be emotionally torn apart, you simply have to give One a try. I’d love to know what you think!

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Baltic Books Blog Tour

Published April 9, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to a very special post on my blog today. From the 10th-12th April, The London Book Fair will be taking place at Olympia in London. The fair focuses on all parts of the publishing industry and is the perfect marketplace for rights negotiation and sale and distribution of content across all forms of media. Exhibitors from every part of the globe are welcomed and the fair itself is packed full with exciting content including seminars, interviews and workshops. In fact, there are over 200 seminars packed into three days of the fair and with titles such as “From Promotion To Pitching,” and “An Introduction To Kindle Direct Publishing: How To Get Started,” there’s sure to be something for everyone interested/part of the industry.

In 2018, the London Book Fair is choosing to showcase Baltic literature, that is, authors from the countries Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania and I jumped at the chance to feature one such author on my blog. Kārlis Vērdiņš is a Latvian poet and I would like to feature one of his poems, Come To Me on bibliobeth today.

“Writing poetry has always been at the core of Lativan literature and at the heart of our country, but when I was beginning to write in the nineties journalists would often query if the form was as popular as it was in the Soviet times. Now, I understand the different role that poetry has had to play in Latvian life across our county’s history, from oppression to freedom and now, as we celebrate 100 years of our independent state. The role of the poet has evolved. Contemporary poetry still engages with the history of Latvia, the formation of our identity and all that lies in between, but this is alongside work that explores sexuality, gender, body. There is still the political, as there ever will be, but so much more than before there is the personal. Actually one might say: poetry is the way how Latvians think, speak and see the world. Actually there is nothing but poetry in our minds.” – Karlis Verdinš 

Come to me by Kārlis Vērdiņš 

I was bringing you a little cheese sandwich. It was two in the

morning, everybody sleepy, shops closed but in the I Love You bar

they gave me a little cheese sandwich.

I was in a taxi bringing you a little cheese sandwich ’cause you

were lying there sad, perhaps even ill, and there was nothing good to

eat in the house. Was real expensive, around one lat, but that’s OK.

So I was in the taxi with my little iluvu, all squished, practically

cold. But for some reason I didn’t make it home. Somehow I ended

up where all were merry and witty, and starving. So I drank, I sang,

but I saved my little sandwich.

Must have been the third day when I could finally treat you to it,

you were so angry, you ate the sandwich hardly looking at it. Had I

had more courage, I would have said: but you know I love you, you

know I admire you. Don’t make me say it again.

Kārlis Vērdiņš

Come to me by Kārlis Vērdiņš was chosen as one of the greatest love poems from the last 50 years by the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Love.

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Karlis Verdinš was born in 1979 in Riga. With an M.A. in Cultural Theory and a Ph.D. in Philology, Verdins is the author of many academic papers (including a book on prose poetry, Bastarda forma, (2010)) and essays on literature, both Latvian and foreign, as well as a prolific literary critic. He has published four volumes of poetry – Ledlauzi(Icebreakers / Riga: Nordic, 2001, 2nd ed. 2009), Biezpiens ar krejumu (Cottage Cheese with Sour Cream / Riga: Atena, 2004), Burtinu zupa (Alphabet Soup, for children, 2007), and Es (I / Riga: Neputns, 2008), all to a great critical and popular acclaim and fetching top literary awards. Verdins has also written librettos and song lyrics and has published translations of American Modernist poetry (T. S. Eliot, W. C. Williams, H.D., et al). His most recent collection is Pieaugušie (Adults, 2015). His own poetry has been translated in many languages, including collections in Russian and Polish.

The poetry anthology Come to Me by Karlis Verdinš (Bilingual English / Latvian edition) is published by Arc Publications, translated & introduced by Ieva Lesinska

The Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – will be the Market Focus for the London Book Fair 2018 (10th – 12th April).

A big thank you to Hannah McMillan at Midas PR for inviting me to take part in this blog tour and Karlis Verdinš for allowing his poem, Come To Me to be featured here today.

Mini Pin-It Reviews #19 – Four Author Requests

Published March 25, 2018 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four author requests for you – please see my pin-it thoughts below!

1.) The Spirit Guide – Elizabeth Davies

What’s it all about?:

Seren has an unusual gift – she sees spirits, the shades of the dead.
Terrified of being accused of witchcraft, a very real possibility in twelfth century Britain, she keeps her secret close, not even confiding in her husband.

But when she gives her heart and soul to a man who guides spirits in the world beyond the living, she risks her secret and her life for their love.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

four-stars_0

2.) I Once Knew A Poem Who Wore A Hat – Emma Purshouse, Catherine Pascall-Moore (illustrator)

What’s it all about?:

Looking for a book packed with begging-to-be-read-out-loud poems and joyful pictures? Look no further! Come inside and meet Figment (of the Imagination). Discover poems about a grandad with big ears, an invention for recycling belly button fluff, Jeevan’s quest to find his Opal, teeth, dinosaurs, cats, dogs, dragons and lots, lots more!

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

3.) Return To Glow: A Pilgrimage Of Transformation In Italy – Chandi Wyant

What’s it all about?:

In her early forties, Chandi Wyant’s world implodes in the wake of a divorce and traumatic illness. Determined to embrace life by following her heart, she sets out on Italy’s historic pilgrimage route, the Via Francigena, to walk for forty days to Rome.

Weakened by her recent illness, she walks over the Apennines, through the valleys of Tuscany, and beside busy highways on her 425-kilometer trek equipped with a nineteen-pound pack, two journals, and three pens.

Return to Glow chronicles this journey that is both profoundly spiritual and ruggedly adventuresome. As Chandi traverses this ancient pilgrim’s route, she rediscovers awe in the splendor of the Italian countryside and finds sustenance and comfort from surprising sources. Drawing on her profession as a college history instructor, she gracefully weaves in relevant anecdotes, melding past and present in this odyssey toward her soul.

This delightful, transporting tale awakens the senses while inviting readers to discover their own inner glow by letting go of fixed expectations, choosing courage over comfort, and following their heart.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

4.) Trudge On: The Poetic Works Of Shawn Worth

What’s it all about?:

American Poet Shawn Worth explores themes of nature, class, depression, technology, and human interaction though the use of free verse and structured poetry.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

COMING UP NEXT TIME ON MINI PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four YA Books.

 

Milk And Honey – Rupi Kaur

Published December 20, 2017 by bibliobeth

What’s it all about?:

milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. It is about the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity. It is split into four chapters, and each chapter serves a different purpose, deals with a different pain, heals a different heartache. milk and honey takes readers through a journey of the most bitter moments in life and finds sweetness in them because there is sweetness everywhere if you are just willing to look.

What did I think?:

I’m finding this such a tough review to write on so many levels so I do apologise if my thoughts are even less coherent than usual but this book had such an enormous impact on me that to be honest, I’m not quite sure where to start. I’m not particularly well versed in poetry to be fair – I studied some in my English Literature A Level but it was mainly classical poetry rather than anything contemporary. With poetry I think it’s such a personal thing sometimes, what works for one person might not work at all for another but if you do find that style that fits your particular niche, it’s so worthwhile all the searching that you might have done and that’s what I found with Milk And Honey.

I had heard so many great reviews about this collection from other blogs, bookstagram and book tube and although I knew it was going to be quite hard-hitting, I was determined to discover it for myself and form my own opinions. Well, it hit me with a sledge hammer with all its rawness and pure honesty and I found the simplicity of the prose not only beautiful to read but very effective, especially in eliciting such a range of different feelings (bad and good) that I felt quite emotionally drained at the end of it. I posted a couple of the poems that spoke to me personally on my bookstagram as I was reading it and developing those strong feelings, and without going into too much detail (because…DIFFICULT!), I’d just like to share a couple of those now:

it is your blood

in my veins

tell me how i’m

supposed to forget

and:

a daughter should

not have to

beg her father

for a relationship

There are so many more I could show you but these are the two that had the most powerful affect on me. So simple and succinct yet they gave me the most dramatic sentiments that at times, I felt I had to take this book quite slowly for fear of breaking down completely. The collection is divided into four sections namely The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking and The Healing and each short poem slots perfectly into these categories and is so amazingly poignant. They aren’t necessarily always sad, there’s a great amount of positivity, optimism for the future and a strong, feminist message in the poems (which I always appreciate) but it just so happened that the ones that had the biggest impact on me happened to be a little bleaker than others.

This collection isn’t going to be for everyone. I understand the author has received a lot of stick over whether these are genuinely good poems or just great Instagram/Tumblr posts. As I mentioned before, poetry is such an individual thing and if you find an author that speaks to you, like I’m sure she speaks to many others, hang on to that and enjoy it. There’s always going to be people who don’t connect with certain things like others do and that’s absolutely fine, wouldn’t the world be so boring if we all liked the same thing? This is certainly a book for my favourites shelf that I’ll be dipping in and out of again and I’m really looking forward to reading her second collection, The Sun And Her Flowers which I bought recently.

Please note: Be aware, there are trigger warnings in this book for rape and sexual abuse if you are particularly sensitive to these topics.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

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Mini Pin-It Reviews #11 – Four Author Requests

Published July 29, 2017 by bibliobeth

Hello everyone and welcome to another mini pin-it reviews post! I have a massive backlog of reviews and this is my way of trying to get on top of things a bit. This isn’t to say I didn’t like some of these books – my star rating is a more accurate reflection of this, but this is a great, snappy way of getting my thoughts across and decreasing my backlog a bit. This time I’ve got four author requests for you – please see my pin it thoughts below!

Huge thank you to all the authors for providing me with copies of their books – I really appreciate it.

1.) To Sea – Michael LoCurto

What’s it all about?:

The sea is dead—fishless—and Long Island fisherman Jon Brand is to blame. With his greed of overfishing for years—he is surely the cause of the current famine. According to Jon Brand, that is. Elea, Jon’s wife, sees things differently. An oceans-worth of famine cannot be pinned down on one man alone. And she wishes Jon would man-up and find work inland if the sea can no longer provide for the family. But Jon has faith in the sea. His sea. And he cannot simply turn his back on Her. To Sea explores numerous beaches spanning across the Island where Jon seeks the answers of his fate—of his dry ocean—of his God. But the sea is silent. Time after time. Visit after visit. And with each trip to a differing shoreline passing, Jon finds himself closer and closer to a life changing revelation: To land, or, to sea.

Would I recommend it?:

Maybe!

Star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

2.) The Little Black Dress – Linda Palund

What’s it all about?:

The brutal murder of a beautiful girl in a little black dress sparks our teenage heroine’s quest to find the killers. But what was the secret of the little black dress? Why did the gorgeous Carmen wear that dress to school every single day?
Her best friend Lucy is determined to solve the riddle of “the little black dress” as well as solve Carmen’s murder. She risks her life and the lives of her friends in her search to find the savage killers.
The setting is West LA, an area of privilege, where wealth rules under sunny skies.
This is a short novel, but it has everything in it, sex, drugs, gruesome murders and even a ghost.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

3.) The Girl With The Blue Umbrella – Heather Awad

What’s it all about?:

This is the author’s first collection of poetry. In her poems, she incites the mind with crisp and prose-like descriptions. She has a craft for peering into the human spirit and capturing it in moving depictions. Along with touching the heart, she will make you smile with just the right amount of whimsy to keep it moving and light. This is a poetry collection for anyone who has been intimidated by poetry. Its uncomplicated, crystal-clear imagery will change your mind about poetry forever. It’s poetry for the poet in us all.

Would I recommend it?:

Probably!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

4.) Necropolis – Guy Portman

What’s it all about?:

Dyson Devereux works in the Burials and Cemeteries department in his local council. Dyson is intelligent, incisive and informed. He is also a sociopath. Dyson’s contempt for the bureaucracy and banality of his workplace provides ample refuge for his mordant wit. But the prevalence of Essex Cherubs adorning the headstones of Newton New Cemetery is starting to get on his nerves.

When an opportunity presents itself will Dyson seize his chance and find freedom, or is his destiny to be a life of toil in Burials and Cemeteries?

Brutal, bleak and darkly comical, Necropolis is a savage indictment of the politically correct, health and safety obsessed world in which we live.

Would I recommend it?:

But of course!

Star rating (out of 5):

3-5-stars

COMING UP SOON ON MINI PIN-IT REVIEWS: Four Random Books.

Banned Books 2016 – JULY READ – A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

Published July 25, 2016 by bibliobeth

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What’s it all about?:

Josie, Nicolette, and Aviva all get mixed up with a senior boy-a cool, slick, sexy boy who can talk them into doing almost anything he wants. In a blur of high school hormones and personal doubt, each girl struggles with how much to give up and what ultimately to keep for herself. How do girls handle themselves? How much can a boy get away with? And in the end, who comes out on top? A bad boy may always be a bad boy. But this bad boy is about to meet three girls who won’t back down.

bannedbooks

Logo designed by Luna’s Little Library

Welcome to our seventh banned book of 2016! As always, we’ll be looking at why the book was challenged, how/if things have changed since the book was originally published and our own opinions on the book. Here’s what we’ll be reading for the rest of 2016…

AUGUST – Bless Me Ultima- Rudolfo Anaya

SEPTEMBER – Bone- Jeff Smith

OCTOBER – The Glass Castle- Jeanette Walls

NOVEMBER- Gossip Girl- Cecily Von Ziegesar

DECEMBER – My Sister’s Keeper- Jodi Picoult

But back to this month….

A Bad Boy Can Be Good For A Girl by Tanya Lee Stone

First published: 2006

In the Top Ten most frequently challenged books in 2013 (source)

Reasons: drugs/alcohol/smoking, nudity, offensive language, sexually explicit

Do you understand or agree with any of the reasons for the book being challenged when it was originally published?

BETH: Like many of the other novels in our series of frequently challenged/banned books this year, this is a fairly recent release and I don’t believe too much has changed in our attitudes to books (either for the worse or the better) in the past ten years. This is one of those books where I can see why people may have had problems with it, mainly due to the sexual content. In that way, I can’t really see it being taught in schools (I can imagine a few red faces, including the teachers!) but I see no reason why it can’t be stocked in a school library for teenagers to read on their own time as I do feel it has some important messages.

CHRISSI: I was surprised at how recent this book was. I don’t know why, but I thought it had an ‘older’ feel to it. As I was reading the book, I realised that it wouldn’t be a great classroom read. It is indeed, sexually explicit. That’s not to say that I don’t think it should be available to teens. I do. As Beth says, it would be great to be stocked in the library. Sadly, I don’t see that likely to happen in many school libraries due to its content.

How about now?

BETH: See previous answer! I probably don’t agree with ALL of the reasons for challenging this book to be honest and as I mentioned, I do believe it’s important for teenagers to have access to it but I can’t remember any instances of offensive language or references to drugs. Everything mentioned in this novel I feel is part of a normal, curious adolescence and will be things that teenagers are likely to come across during this period in their lives. Wrapping them up in cotton wool and shielding them from the cold, hard facts of life I feel will do more damage than good in the long run.

CHRISSI:  As I said, I can see why this book wouldn’t be used in the classroom. However, I think it’s an accurate representation of adolescence and certainly think it should be available for teenagers. I think all too often teenagers are shielded from this kind of read and there’s no reason for that!

What did you think of this book?:

BETH: There were lots of things to like about this book. Firstly, it’s a very quick read, partially because the entirety of the novel is written in prose which makes it both interesting and easy to whizz through – I think I finished it in about an hour? We get to hear three teenage girls points of view when they meet, date and in some cases sleep with the notorious “bad boy” of the school and how this affects them emotionally as a result when he gets the only thing he really wants from their relationships – sex. I think it’s really important for teenage girls struggling with new, very adult emotions and who may be feeling particularly vulnerable to reassure them that they are not alone and that they don’t have to do anything that they may not feel ready for.

CHRISSI: I really enjoyed this book. I didn’t expect to whizz through it as much as I did. It helps that the book is in prose as it really picks up the pace of the book. It’s one of those where I kept thinking ‘just one more snippet’ and before I knew it I was finished. I don’t think it’s an overly memorable read, but I think it’ll be relatable to so many teens!

Would you recommend it?:

BETH: Probably!
CHRISSI: Yes!

BETH’S personal star rating (out of 5):

3 Star Rating Clip Art

Join us again on the last Monday of August when we will be discussing Bless Me Ultima by Rudolfo Anaya.