contemporary poetry

ARC Review of peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

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peluda by Melissa Lozada-Oliva

Publication Date: September 26, 2017.

Publisher: Button Poetry.

Genres: Poetry, Hispanic American, and Family.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: One of the most original performance poets of her generation, Melissa Lozada-Oliva has captivated crowds across the country and online with her vivid narratives. Humorous and biting, personal and communal, self-deprecating and unapologetically self-loving, peluda (meaning “hairy” or “hairy beast”) is the poet at her best. The book explores the relationship between femininity and body hair as well as the intersections of family, class, the immigrant experience, Latina identity, and much more, all through Lozada-Oliva’s unique lens and striking voice. peluda is a powerful testimony on body image and the triumph over taboo.

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Thank you, Button Poetry, for my ARC of peluda. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

I have fallen in love with the poetry collection peluda and for me, what makes peluda such a unique poetry collection is how brutally honest and charismatic it is. It’s funny, deep, and a must-read for contemporary poetry lovers. peluda is feminist and about body hair, family, friendship, Latina identity, and the immigrant experience. I believe poetry collections about, and written by, women of color should be celebrated, and this collection is no exception.

jessica jones is so dark-haired she must be Latina
i pretend she is so that i am
not once again rooting for some angry white girl

so i tell myself that
all of this throwing a heater out of the window
must be chingona
all of this rude lonely girl must be bruja
all of this breaking & entering & you shoot at me,
i’ll pull the bullet out of my ruined jacket &
shove it up your ass with my pinky finger
must be mujerista

I love how Melissa Lozada-Oliva puts everything on the page and it just speaks to you. The writing in peluda is magnificent and I love the vivid imagery in Lozada-Oliva’s poems. The rhythm and overall way she portrays her experiences, it’s just my favorite. Furthermore, I also love how this book is not afraid to shy away from the speaking its truth, no matter what that is. My favorite poems in this collection are 1) Maybe She’s Born With It, Maybe She Got Up Early 2) Ode To Brown Girls With Bangs 3) AKA What Would Jessica Jones Do? 4) The Women In My Family Are Bitches 5) I Shave My Sister’s Back Before Prom and 6) We Play Would You Rather at the Galentine’s Party.

on our own til infinity! bitches
the vengeful violent
pissed prissed and polished
lipstick stained on an envelope
i’ll be damned if i’m compliant! bitches

If you love contemporary poetry then you need to read peluda. It will speak to your heart and take you on a journey few other poetry collections will. This book celebrates Latina women and their experiences, it touches on what body hair and our relationship to it is and how it looks so differently for different people. This book is feminist, badass, and beautiful. I’m deeply in love with peluda and I know you won’t regret putting it in your shopping cart. It’s a must-read for all poetry lovers.

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Review of Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

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Depression & Other Magic Tricks by Sabrina Benaim

Publication Date: August 8, 2017.

Publisher: Button Poetry.

Genres: Poetry, Nonfiction, and Mental Health.

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Purchase here: Amazon Book Depository 

Synopsis: Depression & Other Magic Tricks is the debut book by Sabrina Benaim, one of the most-viewed performance poets of all time, whose poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother” has become a cultural phenomenon with over 5,000,000 views. Depression & Other Magic Tricks explores themes of mental health, love, and family. It is a documentation of struggle and triumph, a celebration of daily life and of living. Benaim’s wit, empathy, and gift for language produce a work of endless wonder.

galaxyreview

Thank you, Button Poetry, for my ARC of Depression & Other Magic Tricks. I received this ARC in exchange for an honest review; this does not affect my opinion. Any quotes mentioned below are taken from the ARC and are subject to change upon publication.

The poetry collection Depression & Other Magic Tricks is amazing and captivated me from start to finish. It is a book about depression, anxiety, love, and heartbreak. However, I have to mention that based on the synopsis and title I expected the book to be more about mental health and less about romance and heartbreak, which took up a large part of the collection. I don’t mind poems about romance and heartbreak but I did find this collection to give another impression before I started it.

anxiety is the cousin visiting
from out of town
depression felt obligated to
bring to the party.
mom, i am the party.
only, i am a party i don’t want to be at.

My favorite poems in the collection are explaining my depression to my mother a conversation, on releasing light, so my friend tells me she identifies as a mermaid…, sevens small ways in which i loved myself this week, and follow-up a prayer / a spell. There is something absolutely magical about these poems and a few of these have become my all-time favorites. The poems in this collection are well written and beautiful. In comparison to a lot of other contemporary poetry collection I’ve read the poems in Depression & Other Magic Tricks are a bit longer which I thoroughly enjoyed. At times, more depth was achieved because of it.

i held hands,
with my sadness,
sang it songs in the shower,
fed it lunch,
got it drunk
& put it to bed early.

If you want a poetry collection that deals with depression, anxiety, romance, and heartbreak then this collection is a perfect fit. I felt that this book really dealt with mental health in a genuine, respectful and relatable way. Depression & Other Magic Tricks is truly a book to put on your radar if you love contemporary and diverse poetry.

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