A Stunning Story I’d Recommend to any Fantasy Fan!

The Bear and the Nightingale
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Title: The Bear and the Nightingale
Author: Katherine Arden
Type: YA Fantasy
Length: 368 pages
Published by: Del Ray
Pub date: Jan 10, 2017
Format: Paperback
Source: Fun story: I thought I had this one on my Kindle, so I requested it’s sequel from Netgalley. When my request was accepted, I thought, “Great, better start reading, then.” ONLY I DIDN’T ACTUALLY HAVE IT ON MY KINDLE! So, I kind of panic-bought a copy from Barnes and Noble, even thought the sequel doesn’t come out till December.

My Rating: ★★★★★

See other ratings and reviews on Goodreads, then check out the author’s website!


The short version: This story is original, lyrical, and darkly enchanting. I devoured this book in one sitting!Read More »

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Truly Praise-Worthy Poetry

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Title: Begin With a Failed Body
Author: Natalie Graham
Type: Poetry
Length: 90 pages
Published by: University of Georgia Press
Pub date: Sept 15th, 2017
Format: PDF
Source: A digital copy was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: ★★★★★

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The short version: This is a fantastic collection of poetry that absolutely deserves the award it was given! (Learn more about the Cave Canem Prize here.)Read More »

A Great Read for Those in Love With Poetry

The Hour Wasp
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Title: The Hour Wasp
Author: Jay Sheets
Type: Poetry
Length: 88 pages
Published by: April Gloaming Publishing
Pub date: May 28th, 2017
Format: PDF
Source: A digital copy was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating: ★★★★★

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The short version: This was a beautiful collection of art and poetry. While I wouldn’t recommend it to everyone, I think people familiar with the genre will love this book.Read More »

A Worthy Prize-Winning Collection

Tremulous Hinge
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Title: Tremulous Hinge
Author: Adam Giannelli
Type: Poetry
Length: 90 pages
Published by: University of Iowa Press
Pub date: April 15th, 2017
Format: PDF
Source: A digital copy was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

My Rating★★★★★

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The short version: This was an amazing collection of poetry! While there was a poem or two that kind of threw me off, it’s no surprise that Giannelli’s collection won the Iowa Poetry Prize.Read More »

“Wow” Doesn’t Begin to Cover It

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Title: Filthy Labors
Author: Lauren Marie Schmidt
Type: Poetry
Length: 104 pages
Published by: Northwestern University Press
Pub Date: Apr 15, 2017
Format: PDF
Source: A digital copy was provided via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review

See other ratings and reviews at Goodreads, then check out the author’s website!

 


The short version: If you only read one book of poetry this year, let it be this one. As someone who loves poetry, I cannot recommend it highly enough. It was beautifully written, and provides incredible insight to those who feel most forgotten in the course of humanity.

The long version: Let me first say, I am in awe of this book. The last poetry book that I read, I finished in a day. It was a quick, easy read that left me feeling pretty good about myself afterward. But Lauren Schmidt’s Filthy Labors, with its poems on family, religion, and the Haven House for Women and Children, didn’t allow me to do that.

Despite the fact that this book had less than a hundred pages of poetry, it took me four days to read it. It wasn’t that it was difficult to read or unenjoyable. The reason I read so much slower than usual was because so many of the poems were so beautifully written, that I was afraid of reading this book too fast; I didn’t want any of the poems to get lost amidst the rest.

When I say these poems are some of the most well-written poems I’ve read, there’s a lot that comes into play. Each section of poetry is prefaced by a quote from Walt Whitman, which sets up the perfect framework for the following poems. The lines are full of musicality and lyricism; there’s so much rhythm and internal rhyme and assonance that I actually had to read many of them out loud, because I just wanted so desperately to hear them instead of just read them. The structure of the poems is involved, too. There’s a healthy balance between free-form poems and poems that are more traditionally structured; you’ll see a smattering of villanelles, pantoums, and other poem formats. Line and stanza breaks are in the perfect places to imply double meanings, or to set the speed and tone of the poem. Even the order in which the poems are printed worked its magic on me, pushing me to read more right up to the end.

Despite how amazingly well-written these poems are, this is not a book to read if you’re looking for something that will allow you to sit there and feel good about yourself afterward. This is much more a call to action and, at the very least, contemplation. Schmidt doesn’t come across as preachy or judgmental, but in her explorations of her own dealings with family members and other people in her life, she challenges her readers to question how they themselves have treated and thought about their fellow humans. (There were several times when I was just sitting there thinking something like, “I can’t believe you would say that about your own grandfa– Listen, I may have thought it before, but YOU’RE the one who wrote it down and published it!!” But, of course, that’s pretty much what she’s getting at.) She also questions why we sometimes think of helping others as a sort of filthy chore, and what we are doing to change those thoughts.

Long story short, this was an amazing collection of poetry, and I can’t wait for its publication date so I can buy a hardcopy to keep on my poetry shelf. If you have any interest in reading poetry, I would definitely find a copy of Filthy Labors for yourself!

Overall, I gave Filthy Labors 5 stars:

5-stars


Thanks for reading! If you plan on reading this book, let me know why, or, if you’ve already read it, let me know what you think in the comments below!

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