Poetry Reviews | July 2017

So, I like poetry. I write a little, but mostly that’s for school. But this month, I got inspired to start reading poetry by my hch Karla! I read three poets this month, and I have at least two more planned for August! This is sans gifs because poetry. Wow, you must be impressed. Also, I am really behind on my review and I’m trying to whip a bunch out really fast.




Rating: ★★★★ | 4.5 stars

Release Date: October 6th, 2015 (OG Createspace, 2014)

Genre: Poetry, Non-Fiction, Feminism

Page Count: 204 pages

Dates Read: July 11th, 2017

milk and honey is a collection of poetry and prose about survival. About the experience of violence, abuse, love, loss, and femininity.
The book is divided 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.

– Goodreads 2017

This was absolutely beautiful and heartbreaking. I wanted to throw this book across the room, because of how emotion it was making me. But I can’t because (a) I’m borrowing this book from Hannah and I am not a heathen (b) It’s like 11:45 PM and I’m in a dorm room, and you can totally here through the walls (c) I will not stoop down to that level.

are your own
soul mate.”

Thank you, Rupi Kaur, for sharing this gem with us.

I like poetry but usually, it doesn’t hit me in the gut. I loved this so much, not only because of the emotions, but also the style. I am not good at telling you what a poem is supposed to symbolize, but I can tell you what my favorite book mean to mean, and I feel as if the format worked so well to present the raw emotion that Rupi’s story is built upon. Nothing is hiding under flowery language – it’s raw and straightforward. She gets raped. She finds love, that love turns abusive, and she learns to heal. She doesn’t try to excuse or put it lightly, especially the part about the rape. While she isn’t overly descriptive, she states it, and I think that was more effective in getting a gut reaction. Just by honestly stating her experience in simple terms, it demands a gut reaction.  I liked the addition of the art, it was simple but satisfying like the writing style, and reminded me of You Are Here in that respect. I’m super happy I finally read this! Thank you to Hannah for letting me borrow your copy, and I need to buy my own copy ASAP. I’m so happy that Rupi has a new poetry book coming out in October.

“i don’t know what living a balanced life feels like
when i am sad
i don’t cry i pour
when i am happy
i don’t smile i glow
when i am angry
i don’t yell i burn
the good thing about 
feeling in extremes 
is when i love 
i give them wings 
but perhaps 
that isn’t 
such a good thing 
cause they always 
tend to leave and 
you should see me 
when my heart is broken 
i don’t grieve” 

“The thing about writing is I can’t tell if it’s healing or destroying.

in love
with your solitude” 

“i am hopelessly 
a lover and
a dreamer and
that will be the
death of me”

“The kindest words my father said to me
Women like you drown oceans.” 

“if you were born with the weakness to fall you were born with the strength to rise” 

“do not look for healing
at the feet of those
who broke you” 

“he placed his hands
on my mind
before reaching
for my waist
my hips
or my lips
he didn’t call me
beautiful first
he called me
exquisite “

“how is it so easy for you to be kind to people he asked milk and honey dripped from my lips as i answered cause people have not been kind to me” 

“every time you 
tell your daughter
you yell at her
out of love
you teach her to confuse
anger with kindness
which seems like a good idea
till she grows up to
trust men who hurt her
cause they look so much
like you”

“i am a museum full of art
but you had your eyes shut” 

Also, I’d like to add how much this made me think about Farya & Murad’s relationship from MCK and how much it is toxic. They’re a really cute couple, but it’s so damn toxic and this poetry collection really made me realize, and stop shipping it – despite its cuteness.



27213961Rating: ★★ | 2.5 stars

Release Date: May 3rd, 2016

Genre: Poetry, Non-Fiction, Sex, Relationships

Page Count: 80 pages

Dates Read: July 14th – 15th, 2017 (I started at like 11pm and finished about 12:03 am.)

“The most potent ingredient in virtually every one of Bob Hicok’s compact, well-turned poems is a laughter as old as humanity itself.”—The New York Times Book Review

“Hicok’s poems are like boomerangs; they jut out in wild, associative directions, yet find their way back to the root of the matter, often in sincere and heartbreaking ways.”—Publishers Weekly

In Sex & Love &, Bob Hicok attempts the impossible task of confronting love and its consequences, in which “everything is allowed, minus forever.” Switching gracefully between witty confessions and blunt confrontations, Hicok muses on age, distance, secret messages, and, of course, sex. Throughout, poetry is discovered to be among our most effective tools to examine the delirium of making contact.


The sexiest thing a woman has ever done
to or with or for me—while wearing the loose breeze
of a dress or standing inside its red zero on the floor—
while bending over and pulling her shorts down
on a racquetball court or to reach the water
shutoff valve behind the fridge—as Satie
whispers against our thighs or humming
her brain’s native tune as we touch
the smudged glass protecting extinct beetles
in a museum—with her lips swaddling my tongue
or finger up my ass—is tell the truth—
which makes my wife the hottest woman
I’ve ever known—her mouth erotic every time
she speaks—she is an animal when it comes to sex
and love—comes to us—in that she doesn’t primp
in front of the mirror of what she thinks I want
her to say or be—the only real flesh—only naked
that matters––how she looks at me
Bob Hicok‘s poems have appeared in the New YorkerPoetry, and the American Poetry Review. His books have been awarded the Bobbitt Prize from the Library of Congress and named a “Notable Book of the Year” by Booklist. Hicok has worked as an automotive die designer and a computer system administrator. He is currently teaching at Purdue University.

 – Goodreads 2017

This poetry collection just wasn’t for me. But what did I truly expect – I honestly don’t know. This is a collection of poems about having sex with his wife over the years, written by an older man. Okay, nothing I can relate to. Not that I need to relate, but the whole subject matter just weirded me out slightly from the beginning. But thank you to Karla for letting me borrow this book, so I didn’t have to buy it. I’m so happy I didn’t. There were a few poems that had lines that I liked, thus the 2.5 I probably could round it up to 3 stars, but most of the poems just weirded me out. Not my cup of tea.

“Pussy sounds like porn, or a twelve-year-old boy trying to act fifteen. Vagina only feels right if I wear a doctor’s smock and make people wait in a room with ancient magazines. Recombing them Pussina seems like a princess or a former Soviet bloc country, vagussy sounds like something vegans put on the table … I’ve tried addressing it as Ma’am or Your Secretiveness, really it reminds me of dawn, of dew on the lawn. Do you do that? Get on your knees  around 6 am.” – Aubade

It’s funny but weird.

“The Study of Geometry pays off —

“It’s surprising how much difference an inch or two makes —

the change in angle when she pulls her legs back a little more —

to how deeply I disappear inside her breath –

what is my heart then –

 a zoo from which the gates have been torn and melted into spoons for all the first graders to eat as much ice cream as they want – or a lion

 – wtf? This poem is super weird because I had geometry last year, also I’ve seen a lot of first graders eating at the zoo. It’s weird to think of math applying to sex.

“I pause for menopause”

“A woodpecker 

with a bit of red

in its array

the feeder.

The blood of it

comes and goes

 on the clear ocean.

My wife’s period 

is gone.

I didn’t get

to say goodbye.

Now all

the children

we didn’t have

are older and never


“She saw a fox. I was driving and saw a road. As soon as I could, I pulled over and kissed her eyes.”

You were driving and you saw a road. wow, what a concept.

Just some of the language was super weird and made me uncomfortable like “dick storm” and “genetic soup” being in the name sentence. Also, why on earth are we talking about cheating and making possum babies in a poem title wedding vows? That makes zero sense. Or “kissing lesbian through heterosexual proxy,” what does that even mean?

weird concept. weird execution – I’m very meh upon this book.




Rating: ★★★ | 3.5 stars

Release Date: November 8th, 2016 

Genre: Poetry, Non-Fiction, Feminism

Page Count: 110 pages

Dates Read: July 24th, 2017

“Compelling, appealing, cinematic . . . Rekdal refreshes the meaning and the image of being displaced in this world.” —The Boston Globe

“Rekdal’s work deeply satisfies, for it witnesses and wonders over the necessary struggles of human awareness and being.” —Rain Taxi

“In acknowledging the disappointing facts of our existence and singing her way into its amazement, she has created poetry that lives alongside the misery we sometimes witness—and sometimes cause.” —Slate

Paisley Rekdal questions how identity and inhabiting metaphorically and personified “vessels,” from blown glass and soap bubbles to skulls unearthed at the Colorado State Mental Institution. Whether writing short lyrics or a sonnet sequence celebrating Mae West, Rekdal’s intellectually inquisitive and carefully researched poems delight in sound, meter, and head-on engagement. Illustrated with twelve Andrea Modica photographs.

From “You’re”:

Vague as fog and turnip—hipped, a creel of eels
that slithers in stains. Dirty slate, you’re
Diamond Lil. She’s you, you say. You’re her. She’s I. O
Mae, fifth grade, we dressed in feathers and our mothers’ slit
pink slips, dipped into your schema and your accent,
aspiring (like you) to be able to order coffee and have it
sound like filth . . .

Paisley Rekdal is the author of four books of poetry, a book of personal essays, and a mixed media book of photography, poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. She lives in Salt Lake City and teaches at the University of Utah.

– Goodreads 2017

“Don’t be a noodle: be cool and collect.” – possibly the best advice ever.

My friend bought this volume of poetry the day previous and it looked interesting. Also, this cover makes my mouth water from its pure beauty.

I always appreciate the word canoodle being used, partially because It’s currently my favorite strange word, that and copulate because it doesn’t sound like what it is.

I really liked the selection of poems about the skull pictures. There were so great one liners you could pull out of there.

dragged from his spider hole in Iraq.

the minds that syphilis and violence ravaged marked by fissures the intern notes,

like the sonogram a friend has sent, her first child flickering the blizzard of her womb

Also that poem about Thomas Jefferson and Monticello. Also, the history the name Paisley fascinating – I loved the references to Indian mythology with Shiva and Parvati. Just so cool.

I read this as part of BookTube – a-thon. This completes my challenges for reading a book in one day, reading a book entirely outside and reading a book you bought because of the cover. It is also my second book I’ve finished for this read-a-thon. You can find my Booktube-a-thon stuff here &  here!

I’m definitely into reading more Paisley Rekdal’s work. I am impressed. This is her seven book and fifth volume of poetry. Currently, I am most interested in picking up Girls Without Pants and  A Crash of Rhinos.


Petyr Baeish Books  © 2017 by Tova Portmann-Bown

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