My new book Diverse Poetry is now available to purchase on Amazon and Payhip. This was a collection of fifty poems I put together about people from many different backgrounds and about numerous aspects of life and love. I wanted many different people to have a poem which reflected their experiences or at least elements of their experiences. The world is so wonderfully diverse and it is hard to fit everybody and every experience you want to fit into a book of fifty poems so this is only going to be the first book in this poetry series.
I really enjoyed putting it together. Poetry can be really relaxing to write and it was wonderful to be able to write about so many wonderful characters. I look forward to writing the second collection at some stage in the future but in the meantime, thank you to anyone who chooses to buy the book. I hope you all like it. 🙂
Poems About Us (2015) by N.E. Wilson is a great poetry collection.
N.E. Wilson is a pseudonym of Vera West and a previous book I read by her called Define was brilliant so I was looking forward to reading this book and it didn’t disappoint.
The book is a collection of ten poems which deal with numerous important issues like depression, racism and how so many aspects of life all combine together to cause pain and frustration. All the poems are amazing but two stand outs for me were Bite and Don’t. Both highlight racial inequality but very different aspects of it but you can see how the everyday racism in Don’t feeds the vicious racism in Bite but how both are as dangerous as each other because they feed off each other.
It is a deeply thought-provoking collection. Gorgeously put together. Very conversational, down-to-earth slices of life and everything is described brilliantly throughout.
I loved it. It’s a must-read.
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Define (2017) by Vera West is a great collection of micro-poetry.
Structured in the style of a dictionary, West writes short poems in alphabetical order and covers the vast majority of the spectrum of emotions in the course of the book. The poetry is really great and I love the creativity and freshness to how this book is all put together. It’s a very clever idea.
I also love how it’s kind of saying we all define words and what they mean in our own way. That’s how it came across to me in any case, I’m not sure if that was the poet’s intention or not but if it was I thought that was cool. The imagery is brilliant too. Very vividly painted poems in so few words. Brevity is definitely not a strong point of mine so I was very impressed with that. An author who I will read more from in the future for sure but this was a really great and inventive introduction to her work.
A great read.
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Crying in Color (2020) by Amanda Lucinda is an amazing poetry collection.
The poems deal with important themes like racism and the way it can have detrimental impacts upon peoples’ lives in numerous different ways. The poet speaks about racism in all it’s ugly forms from the subtle, everyday racism people of color face to the murdering of people of color. The poetry is honest, raw and thought-provoking. It is also very down-to-earth and accessible. This is totally the kind of writing I love. There’s an honesty, there’s a message, there is a hope for change and it’s all very conversational, very much written from the heart. I love how the writing in this collection doesn’t pander to the masses and is so truthful. I just adore that kind of writing.
Every poem here is amazing but I just want to draw attention to a poem called RIP, my son. (A poetry tribute to Ahmaud Arbery). I hadn’t heard about the case prior to reading the collection and afterwards I looked it up. The poem is about a young African-American man Ahmaud Arbery who was shot in Georgia in February of this year. The poem in this book is both a beautiful and poignant tribute to his memory.
A really brilliant collection. I definitely intend to read more by this writer in the future. A must-read.
To purchase Crying in Color By Amanda Lucinda go to:
Lighthead (2010) by Terrance Hayes is another wonderful collection of poetry by the poet and was deservedly the winner of the National Book Award for poetry in 2010. It is Hayes’ fourth poetry collection.
There is forty-two poems to read here spread across four sections. The poetry is full of depth and is visually painted in a very lyrical way. Wonderfully conversationally, the poems take on huge topics like racism and patriotism. My favourite poem is The Avocado which speaks about racism in America during the post-Civil Rights Black Power period. I also really like the pecha kucha style which is inspired by a type of Japanese slideshow. That was really original and inventive. Two of the things I absolutely adore about Hayes’ work is how accessible and down-to-earth it is and how it has so much depth and passion. It’s meaningful and down-to-earth and that is exactly the type of writing I love so this collection totally works for me. Also the storytelling element I adore too.
The collection is very poignant but also has a lot of humour in it. It is a great balance. Hayes’ sense of humour does shine through but never to the detriment of showing how serious the issues present are. For many authors, finding that balance is probably difficult but it seems effortless here. I don’t obviously know how effortless the process was for the poet but it appeared effortless. Very natural. There is an originality to the poetry and I love the way the poems seem to be written from the heart and are written with great honesty. There is definitely a slice-of-life feel to the book with the good, the bad, the inbetween and the downright ugly at times of life present and every bit of it is done amazingly and fearlessly and I absolutely love that.
A must-read. Amazing.
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How to Be Drawn (2015) by Terrance Hayes is a wonderful poetry collection. The collection is the National Book Award-winning poet’s fifth collection and was the winner of the 2016 NAACP Image Award for Poetry.
The poetry in this collection is vivid and interesting throughout. I love the clever and innovative ways these poems are laid out. There is a police report and charts for example adding an extra level of visual interest to the written words. A really powerful read filled with poetry that has great storytelling in them as well as a mixture of a lyrical rhythm combined with an accessible, conversational tone. The book is split into three sections: Troubled Bodies, Invisible Souls and A Circling Mind. This collection speaks about many important issues like racial and social issues and injustices, police brutality, loss, violence, self-care and family problems. Written in free verse with excellent wordplay, the book has amazing poems from beginning to end.
My favourite is How to Draw an Invisible Man which talks about being made feel invisible. It is a very powerful and passionate write about racism and making people feel like they are not seen, heard or treated the same and the negative impact that can have upon people. Gorgeous job. A few other favourites of mine include How to Be Drawn to Trouble and the three parts of Portrait of Etheridge Knight in the Style of a Crime Report. I will definitely be checking out more work by this amazing poet.
Excellent. A must-read.
To get your free copy of How to Be Drawn by Terrance Hayes go to:
Six Centuries of English Poetry: Tennyson to Chaucer (1892) by James Baldwin is a wonderful collection of poetry by many poets of the past.
This collection includes many poets including William Wordsworth, Samuel Coleridge, Robbie Burns, John Keats, Alexander Pope, John Skelton, William Shakespeare, William Cowper, Percy Shelly, Geoffrey Chaucer and Alfred, Lord Tennyson among others. The book has poems and parts of poems and goes in a backwards order starting at the 19th century. There is notes to explain words and parts accompanying many poems which is very helpful and interesting biographical information about each poet who is included in the book. There is also a section on ballads which was very interesting and entertaining. It is a wonderful overview of many amazing poets, the times they wrote in and their work. The book certainly encouraged me to read more work in the future by a lot of these poets. I loved reading about the biographies and seeing the different perspectives the poets wrote from. That was really interesting.
There is downsides to the book. It isn’t very diverse in the choice of poets and therefore doesn’t show ideas or the times from a lot of different perspectives. There is also a certain amount of classism in this book and is present in Robbie Burns’ biography with some of the language used.
A really great read but definitely has problematic elements.
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My new book Lockdown Poetry is now available. It is basically me writing poems and rambling during Lockdown and trying to keep sane! There is 30 poems in total and I have a lot of memories jotted down here, mostly about family life but a bit of everything.
I enjoyed writing it. It helped me through a lot and I hope you all like reading it if you give it a chance.
Words From An Unlikely Poet (2017) by Charlie Hasler is the poet’s debut collection of poems.
Hasler’s poetic style is very accessible and is spoken from the heart. The poems have a lot of depth and are very authentic to life’s ups and downs. They are at times dark but that’s true of life sometimes. It is a perfectly paced and put together collection which delves into themes such as depression, self discovery, love, religion and life. The tone is very matter-of-fact but heartfelt. A very touching collection of poetry.
This is a powerful and thought-provoking collection. As the poet goes through questions about himself and life in general, the reader is swept into thinking about their own thoughts on the issues presented. It is a sensitively written collection which explores many important themes with honesty and care. The poems deal with life in an honest portrayal where there are good times, bad times, mundane times and always a ray of hope and survival even against the harshest storms.
Hasler’s openness creates a gorgeous collection. It is raw and has real personality and humanness flowing through the entire collection. The order in which the poems appear is organized well too and make the journey of the poems feel like a short story in poems that are very relatable and beautiful. The language throughout suits the tone of each poem and is well thought out. The repetition technique works very well to create atmosphere and mood and the images are vividly painted.
It is a stunning collection.
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