Posted in poetry, review

Lord Of The Butterflies – Andrea Gibson

“I think I might be trapped
in a miserable person’s body.”

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Blurb:”In Andrea Gibson’s latest collection, they continue their artful and nuanced looks at gender, romance, loss, and family. Each emotion here is deft and delicate, resting inside of imagery heavy enough to sink the heart, while giving the body wings to soar.”

Trigger Warnings: talks of depression, depictions of panic attacks, mentions of blood and school shootings.

Like with all my poets lately, I discovered Andrea Gibson through the YouTube channel Button Poetry. I became absorbed by the way she talked passionately about mental health, gender and politics. Her performances always left me completely stunned when she stepped away from the microphone at the end. So when I heard that she actually has a book, it was an absolute no-brainer.

Unlike the other poets I’m familiar with, Andrea Gibson is a very hard hitting poet. Often at times she doesn’t resort to pretty images to convey the real tragedy of what she’s trying to say. She speaks it with the blunt truth which can sometimes make  her poems incredibly hard to read and listen to; but that in itself is important. We can’t keep turning away from certain situations. What makes Andrea stand out to me is her performances: she has this passion and rage that just can’t escape attention.

Lord of The Butterflies is her latest collection and covers a range of topics from gender, to her sister, to mental health, growing up, and politics. She speaks in such a captivating and eloquent way in every single poem. I found myself having to sit back for a moment and process her words.

My favourites from this book included:

“Orlando” which pays homage to the Pulse LGBT nightclub mass shooting in Florida. It was a harrowing, heartbreaking read but some of the stanzas were so powerful that they had a lasting impact.

“Ode To The Public Panic Attack” depicts the random places a panic attack can happen along with how isolating it can feel due to the ever present stigma around anxiety and panic. This was a poem I could really relate to.

Andrea Gibson continues to be one of my favourite poems and I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next.

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Posted in feminism, poetry, review

Nothing Is Okay – Rachel Wiley

“There will be years when you feel bruised like worlds collided.
So, when they ask (and they always ask) what you are
Tell them that you are made up of whole worlds collided
Supernova beautiful in its violent right to exist.”

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Blurb: “Nothing is Okay is the second full-length poetry collection by Rachel Wiley, whose work simultaneously deconstructs the lies that we were taught about our bodies and our beings, and builds new ways of viewing ourselves. As she delves into queerness, feminism, fatness, dating, and race, Wiley moulds these topics into a punching critique of culture and a celebration of self.”

Trigger Warnings: eating disorders, body shaming and rape.

Rachel Wiley has been one of my favourite poets ever since I first saw her performance of 10 Thoughts On Being Loved By A Skinny Boy on the Button Poetry Youtube Channel. I just simply adore the “no-BS” manner she exudes during her readings and it’s actually taken me quite a while to find out that she has not one, but two, poetry collections. Nothing Is Okay features a lot of well-known poems (to those familiar with her work) such as Belly Kisses, Fat Joke, and Glory In Two Parts. The overall theme of the collection ranges from female empowerment, body image and loving yourself unapologetically.

This collection is absolutely brilliant. Rachel Wiley’s attitude just leaks from the pages and I could perfectly picture all the ways she would perform every poem in this book. So many lines and full stanzas stuck out to me that I ended the reading experience having highlighted nearly the entire collection. She has this magical way of using just the right images to convey the intended message and it’s often something the reader could never have conjured on their own. And the overall arc had the perfect mix of serious and funny.

A lot of my, already firm, favourites were in this collection but I came away with new ones such as “The Opposite Of Up” which is reverse pick-up lines and had me laughing so much I thought I might break a rib.

If you’re new to poetry, Nothing Is Okay will be the perfect way to dip your toe in the water. If you’re familiar with poetry, well it can’t hurt to indulge in this one too!

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For bookish photographs follow my instagram: @charlottereadsthings