Crying in Color By Amanda Lucinda Review!

Crying in Color: A poetry chapbook

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:

For more about Amanda Lucinda and her work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19705687.Amanda_Lucinda

My Poem Strength Was Read On The ReadByLyn Podcast!

Putting a Poetry Collection Together | SelfPublishBooks.ie

My poem Strength was read on the latest episode of the amazing podcast ReadByLyn. If you haven’t checked the podcast out by now, you should, it’s amazing. 🙂

My poem appears alongside the wonderful poem I Cannot Sing by Edward Nathaniel Harleston. The episode is brilliant and I was really chuffed that my poem was a part of it.

Strength is about my experiences of losing my confidence in myself due to gaslighting and prejudice and feeling so low that I wanted to kill myself because I thought I couldn’t be myself and I thought I couldn’t be myself, be happy and live. I was wrong because things do get better, they get really amazing on the other side even though it doesn’t always feel like that. It’s about the strength that saved me from somewhere within me and how I will never let that go.

I hope you all like the poem and thank you Lyn once again, I appreciate my poem being included very much. 🙂

To listen to the latest episode of ReadByLyn and to the podcast in general go to:

https://anchor.fm/readbylyn/episodes/Will-you-take-the-leap-ejcst2

Poem: The Body On The Road

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Sunlight lit up the shadows

as dawn approached,

a body lay on the road,

no one knew what had happened this person

but the police would be around later in the morning,

theories would abound,

interviews done and press conferences air.

 

But this case would never be solved,

years later the killer would stand at this spot

casually smoking a cigarette

and thinking with happiness about that night

that they had taken the life of that stranger

whose name they didn’t know

until all those news reports aired,

their first kill.

Poem: Karen & Mitch

(This poem is inspired by two of my characters Mitch and Karen. Mitch has been a prominent character in some of my books and Karen has featured in some of my books as well though I have had an idea for a while about a book where she is the protagonist and in part of the book, I want to explore the friendship she and Mitch have because one of the things I love about their friendship is how 70% of what they think about social issues is probably the same but 30% isn’t. They differ on the approach side of things but they are always respectful of where the other is coming from and I find it very beautiful to think about. Personally, I do find if more people were like them, the world would be much better for everyone of all approaches.)

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Karen

I work as a psychologist and I spent the morning helping a man

to see that it was ok

to not want his son to be trans,

this father was 74 and deeply religious,

I understood how he found it difficult

to understand the new world,

I tried to encourage him to see things differently,

talked about how it could save the relationship

he and his son had

but I understood it would take time

and a lot of relearning to get to that stage

for him.

 

Mitch

I had a cigarette as I waited for Karen,

Seen the bigoted father go to his car,

Karen doesn’t tell tales from the office

but I know of him misgendering his son

and playing the victim while his son gets

mental health issues he didn’t need to have,

oh I can’t stand him,

makes my skin crawl.

Karen comes out

and we head to lunch.

 

Karen

‘So how has your day been Mitch?’,

I ask while munching a bagel.

‘Oh, you know the usual,

wrote a blog post that probably

annoyed Trump’s America and well Nate,

but whatever.’

I smile,

sounds about right,

I would be worried if he hadn’t.

‘Someone called me hostile in the comments,

said I wasn’t understanding of people and the usual.’, he shrugs.

I laugh,

that’s one of the things I love about him,

no matter what is said he always stays true

to what he believes and fights what he sees as bigotry

with a heart filled with good.

 

Mitch

‘And yourself Kar?’, I ask

while trying to much down on a piece

of hard tomato.

‘I read an article on the train this morning

about a mother trying to come to terms with her

daughter being a lesbian, I felt for her as she knows

no better and seems to really love her daughter but

then the comments underneath were a debate where

one poster uttered my sentiments and another said they

were not understanding to the daughter’s feelings.’, she replies.

She sighs,

one of the things I love about Karen is how she does

feel for both sides and continually fights to bring families

together in a way that she sees it as bringing them together

with a heart filled with good.

 

Karen

Back at home later in the night

I can’t help thinking about Mitch’s blog post

and how him doing something with obvious kindness

for people facing injustice is met with negativity,

it disgusts me on different levels,

most importantly because my best friend is

most certainly not hostile,

his goodness comes from a different place than mine

but that doesn’t mean it’s badness

and I’m annoyed that this commenter

has views similar to me and is making

people like me look like something

I would hate to be like.

 

Mitch

I lay in bed thinking about

how Karen was made feel

like she didn’t care about the daughter

when I know she did and it makes me angry

because she is incredibly caring,

she just cares in her own way and

there is nothing wrong with that

and that person on the train

has views similar to me and is making

people like me look like something

I would hate to be like.

Poem: Communication

(This poem is from the perspective of my character Darnell in my current WIP Darnell & Dylan.)

 

How real people communicate | The Psychologist

We could never communicate

and not much has changed

even though over a decade has passed.

Never were we on the one page,

we would talk and talk at each other

but not listen much

but now I am trying to listen

but you won’t

and I am lost.

I want to save this,

won’t you help me to?

It requires you listening

and understanding me too, you know

even if we agree to disagree.

It can’t go on like this though

or we will destroy each other,

love is not enough,

we need to communicate,

we need to respect each other babe.

Lighthead By Terrance Hayes Review!

Lighthead

 

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.

 

To get your free copy of Lighthead by Terrance Hayes go to:

https://largepdf.com/lighthead/

For more about Terrance Hayes and his work go to:

https://terrancehayes.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

Poem: Mr “I Meant No Harm”

This poem is not about everybody who falls into all these identities or one or more of these identities which Mr “I Meant No Harm” falls in. In fact, I believe the majority of people who do are not anything like the character in this poem but a certain amount of people are and that’s what this poem is about.

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Mr “I Meant No Harm”

sat in a cafe with a friend

having breakfast,

he was speaking about a show

he was watching where there was

“an actor and a black actor”,

when his friend said they were

either “two actors” or

“a white actor and a black actor”,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

told him he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

sat across from a new colleague

in his his office job,

he was speaking about his love life

when his colleague mentioned that

his partner and he were going to dinner later,

“What’s her name?”, asked Mr “I Meant No Harm”

to be informed of what his name was,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

told him he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

got chatting with the barista at lunch,

the barista mentioned how he and his girlfriend

were expecting a baby,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

asked “When is she due?”

to which the barista replied that

he was giving birth in seven months,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

told him he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

was back at work debating

some work matter with a long-time colleague,

“I graduated from Oxford”

Mr “I Meant No Harm” informed

his fellow colleague to which he replied

that he had been offered a place too

but couldn’t afford to accept it,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

told him he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

was speaking to another colleague

later in the afternoon debating

another work matter when he said

“Are you not being irrational about all this sweetheart?”

to which she made her excuses and walked away,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

called after her that he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

was speaking to the new colleague again

near the end of the work day,

he pointed to another fellow colleague

and said “Is she trying some weird fashion statement?”

to which the colleague wondering what he was working with

replied that she was a Muslim,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

told him that he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

went to the shops

to get a few bits in after work,

he stood behind an old woman in the queue

and whispered to the middle-aged man behind him

that “the poor dear is out on her own”

to which the older woman called back

that she was well capable of being out on her own,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

told her that he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

was walking home with his shopping,

he met his friend Tina who was going

to meet her boyfriend Cormac down at the shops,

“Try getting him out of the drinks aisle Tina”,

Mr “I Meant No Harm” laughed,

“The Irish eat too.”, Tina grinned through gritted teeth,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

told her that he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

was on the phone to a friend,

his friend made a stupid remark

to which Mr “I Meant No Harm”

replied “You’re retarded mate”,

his friend replied that using that word

was offensive to which

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

told them that he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

went on the internet,

seen a tweet about

someone who was depressed,

replied that

“You just need to try harder to break the cycle”,

when Twitter users disagreed,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

told them all that he

“meant no harm”.

 

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

sat watching television,

he noticed a man talking about body positivity

and wondered how he could be positive about his body

when in Mr “I Meant No Harm”‘s eyes he was too fat,

though no one was there to say anything no prizes for guessing

what his reply would have been,

Mr “I Meant No Harm”

would have told whoever that he

“meant no harm”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Night Before Christmas By Clement Clarke Moore/Henry Livingston Jr. Review!

The Night Before Christmas | Book by IglooBooks | Official ...

 

The Night Before Christmas (1823) by Clement Clarke Moore/Henry Livingston Jr. is a wonderful classic poem.

There has been first of all debate over who wrote this poem. Some think Clement Clarke Moore, others favour Henry Livingston Jr. Most do attribute it to the former but it’s not completely clear who actually brought this poem to household status.

I think many of us grew up hearing the opening lines of this poem but not having read the whole text so it was wonderful to recently get around to reading it in full. The rest of the poem is as wonderful as those famous opening lines. The scene is really vividly painted throughout and is very heartwarming. The plot goes that a father is watching Saint Nicholas in his sleigh been pulled by the reindeer. Saint Nick then comes down the chimney with the toys and fills the stockings before leaving again.

Very understated and wonderfully put together, this poem brings the magical feeling of Christmas and the traditional image of Santa Claus to life. While it is a Christmas poem, it is such a classic that you can enjoy it at any time of the year. The detail in it is fantastic, Santa is given many personality traits and it is just a very joyful, happy poem which makes you smile.

 

To get your free copy of The Night Before Christmas by Clement Clarke Moore/Henry Livingston Jr. go to:

https://largepdf.com/the-night-before-christmas-the-classic-account-of-the-visit-from-st-nicholas/

For more about Clement Clarke Moore and his work go to:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/clement-clarke-moore

For more about Henry Livingston Jr. and his work go to:

https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/henry-livingston

Poem: Beats To The Sound Of Silence

This poem is inspired by Dami Im’s Sound Of Silence which was the runner-up in the Eurovision in 2016 for Australia.

 

The world is going at a fast rate,

so often I am in shock at how easy

it is for people to give their opinions

like they are having a snack for breakfast

and yet shocked as I am I sit in admiration,

sometimes I have my say,

sometimes I don’t

and I have to live with that on a daily basis

if I can’t change it.

 

But there is an area where I always have my say

and in consequence my writing is not as bland

as well I sometimes am,

my writing is fearless

in a way that I as a person am not always,

my writing is present in a way that I don’t

always seem to be,

my writing is caring, engaged, strong

and I know I don’t always appear so,

that’s why writing has never been

simply a job to me,

it is freedom from suppression,

from the fear of speaking out

which has been instilled in me

and I can’t manage to completely shake off.

 

Often I am that person who sits and says nothing

but goes home and writes a book on what I should have said,

I don’t know if that helps,

I hope it does,

fear and insecurity

often overtake my inner confidence

but my writing breaks through these

walls of silence in a way that blows my mind,

when I write,

I’m who I wish I was in real life

but it can be scary

and maybe I’m not as brave as my wonderful characters

all the time.

 

In a strange way,

my heart beats to the sound of silence

because those moments of silence build up

and build up to what I believe is something

better than I could ever say in any given situation,

life is strange,

maybe that is the role I am meant to have,

write write write out the pain the world and I face

no matter who it pisses off

because breaking through silence

always pisses someone off.

 

So I say it in my writing,

you are you,

you are equal,

you are special

and whether you say your opinion or not,

never believe the garbage they say,

just remember their egos are fragile as fuck

and enjoy your day.

 

 

 

Six Centuries Of English Poetry: Tennyson To Chaucer By James Baldwin Review!

Six Centuries of English Poetry from Tennyson to Chaucer: Typical Selections from the Great Poets (1892)

 

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.

 

To get your free copy of Six Centuries of English Poetry: Tennyson to Chaucer by James Baldwin go to:

 

For more about James Baldwin and his work go to:

https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/3463650.James_Baldwin