Review- I Know Your Kind

I Know Your Kind: Poems by William Brewer

Processed with VSCO with t1 presetGenre: Poetry
Format: Paperback
Publication date: September 5, 2017
Publisher: Milkweed Editions
Page count: 96
Star rating: 5/5

This is a selection of poetry about the opioid epidemic, focusing on Oceana, West Virginia (sometimes called Oxyana). The poems’ subjects range from detox,  halfway houses, withdrawal, to Naloxone. I Know Your Kind is told in the voice of a someone, first hand, struggling with addiction.

I wish I could add more to my brief summary of this collection, as it’s far beyond merely a selection of poems told in the voice of an opioid addict. These poems have so much substance to them; they’re very powerful. They are powerful for two reasons– they can teach readers about the realities of addiction and they can make other addicts feel less alone in their struggles. I was extremely pleased with how touching, emotional, and human the voice in the poems read. I truly think this is an amazing work.

I want to highlight some lines that really blew me away.

“Who can stand another night

stealing fistfuls of pills

from our cancer-sick neighbors?”

 

“We were so hungry; Tom’s hand

on the table looked like it was warm bread.

I crushed it with a hammer”

Going back and reading all of the places I marked in this book (there were a lot of sticky tabs!)  prove how raw and honest William Brewer’s words are. I’ve never read a work that outlines these particular aspects of addiction: stealing pills from sick individuals and purposely harming oneself or friends to get a prescription for pain medication. These are topics not touched upon in many books about addiction, at least out of the handful that I’ve read. I loved the articulation and authenticity that went into the experiences that William Brewer chose to write about.

I want to tell everyone I know about I Know Your Kind. I think it has the power to educate those who have loved ones that struggle with addiction. I also think this work has the power to unite those struggling with addiction, whether they’re in recovery or not. These two reasons make this collection of poetry one of my favorites that I’ve read not only this year, but in the entire time I’ve run my book review website. I Know Your Kind really hit the mark. I’m so thankful that honest, real poems about the opioid epidemic exist and are accessible for anyone to read and learn from.

I want to give a big ‘thank you’ to Milkweed Editions for agreeing to send me a copy of this work in exchange for an honest review. I wish I had William Brewer’s personal email so I could tell him, myself, how touched I was by his words. I wish I had 20 copies to give out to friends and family to share this collection of bravery and power. I very much look forward to reading more works from Milkweed Editions in the future, as I Know Your Kind was an excellent addition to my blog and my bookshelf of ‘favorites’.

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Review- Milk and Honey

Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur

 

23513349“if you were born with
the weakness to fall
you were born with
the strength to rise”

 

5/5 stars

 

Self-worth, break-ups and make-ups, sexual assault, and a father’s absence are some of the many deep and emotional topics found in Milk and Honey. Rupi Kaur is very honest throughout the book and it truly shows in the quality of her work. Sometimes graphic, these poems articulate so many of the struggles that women and women of color can experience in only their first 21 years of life. The collection of works is split into four different parts: The Hurting, The Loving, The Breaking, and The Healing, and each is its own masterpiece.

I was afraid that this book was over-hyped because almost every bookworm I know absolutely LOVES Milk and Honey. I took it upon myself to go through the book’s tag (#milkandhoney) on Instagram and I found thousands of photographs of Rupi Kaur’s selected poems. As soon as I read a few of them, I knew I must get my hands on this book as soon as possible. The crazy thing is that it seems like everyone can relate to at least one poem in Milk and Honey. This collection speaks to so many different people who have gone through their own unique experiences. Rupi Kaur figured out how to unite hundreds of thousands of women around the world with her words.

Milk and Honey made me cry. Period. Many of the poems resonate so deeply with me that I know Rupi Kaur and I have felt the same way at certain points in our lives. It’s powerful to realize that another human being has been in the same emotional spot as you, even in times when you felt so utterly alone. The experiences that we have, as women, are not isolated events;  many of us go through similar things and can connect with one another through common feelings and reactions after them. It feels good to know that Rupi Kaur, myself, and so many other women are healing and growing together.

I’ve never liked poetry. It was always my least favorite unit in English class and I avoided poetry books at all costs. Now, I have 3 more poetry books on order at my local bookstore. I want to thank Rupi Kaur for reminding me that books and language can bring us together as readers and listeners. I hope she publishes more collections in the future; I’ll be the first in line to get a copy. Please, poetry fan or not, pick up a copy of this book.

Review- A New Orchid Myth

A New Orchid Myth by Helene Pilibosian

Orchid-Myth-cover-200px_jpeg1Rating: 4.5/5 stars

-I was provided a copy of this book thanks to the author of this title-

This is a sci-fi story told through verse–so I’m unsure if I should categorize it as poetry or science fiction. This work tells the tale of a couple, Mr. and Mrs. Everydream, who have traveled to Earth from another planet. Throughout the many poems, these two learn what it’s like to live all over the USA. They paint the flowing waters of the Hudson River, see the movie production in Hollywood, and spend time exploring the streets of New York. Mrs. Everydream gives birth to a daughter named Taralee and relatives from their home planet are out to steal the child. Mr. and Mrs. Everydream must communicate with their home planet to keep their daughter safe.

This story is only 95 pages, so it’s hard to summarize it without giving too much plot away. My synopsis cannot do the intricate plot justice, and I hope Helene Pilibosian can forgive me. That being said, this is such a phenomenal work of literature. I never would have expected myself to pick up a science fiction story told through verse; I haven’t read a poetry book in ages. I’m so glad that I gave this one a try because it’s beautifully written. Pilibosian truly has a way to make the reader think about what she’s describing and really paints a picture for the audience.

A New Orchid Myth exceeded all of my expectations for such a unique genre and I’d recommend it to all poetry lovers. As I said, it’s very short and easy to read in one sitting. I hope to read more from Helene Pilibosian in the future! A big thank you to her for sending me a physical copy as well!