to make monsters out of girls Review

to make monsters out of girls by amanda lovelace

“What happens when the man of your dreams turns out to be a nightmare with sharp teeth and claws?”

Winner of the 2016 Goodreads Choice Award for Best Poetry, amanda lovelace presents her new illustrated duology, “things that h(a)unt.” In this first installment, to make monsters out of girls, lovelace explores the memory of being in an abusive relationship. She poses the eternal question: Can you heal once you’ve been marked by a monster, or will the sun always sting?

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I bought this one to complete the duology since I had enjoyed to drink coffee with a ghost more than I expected. And I have to say, compared to it, this isn’t as good. Or maybe it feels less powerful because it is not my first encounter with her poetry. Unsure.

It still is a powerful read. And as someone who had a terrible relationship that I am still healing from, this definitely resonated. One of the things that was interesting to see was how you adapt and sometimes become a monster yourself in self defense. I had become someone defensive and jumpy, someone who would tell you horrible things and be quite critical so you wouldn’t dish those things to me first. But before him I wasn’t as bitter or monstrous.

Still, some poems passed me by, but a lot of them where relevant, including the sun heart ones, as I found my own “sun” heart. The parts that didn’t click, at least I could feel or attempt to understand a little. Not all experiences are the same, but there are some similarities and it is that thread that ties this book together. The pain, the self loathing, the wanting to prove your love and that you are worth loving.

It is a tough book, so read with care, and it has a long list of content warnings at the beginning (something I am grateful for). If you can brave this book, it may be cathartic and helpful to read, like releasing some of the poison in your wounds. Still, do so with care and love and patience.

to drink coffee with a ghost Review

to drink coffee with a ghost by amanda lovelace

“You cannot have a funeral for your mother without also having a funeral for yourself.” This book poses the ever-lingering question: What happens when someone dies before they’re able to redeem themselves?

From the bestselling & award-winning poetess, amanda lovelace, comes the finale of her illustrated duology, “things that h(a)unt.” In the first installment, to make monsters out of girls, lovelace explored the memory of being in a toxic romantic relationship. In to drink coffee with a ghost, lovelace unravels the memory of the complicated relationship she had with her now-deceased mother.

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This book was a title + cover buy. I saw it as I was looking for some books to gift for Christmas, it caught my eye, I skim read a few of the poems to try to see if I’d like it and went “yeah, sounds okay, buy”.

I read it quickly, and gosh, this spoke to me more than I thought it would. My mother isn’t dead, but a lot of what is touched in the book is either things I have encountered myself or seen people close to me live through. A few poems, I felt like someone had taken a peek at my life and gone “this is one of those do or die moments, this was a turning point”.

Before this little book I hadn’t read any of Amanda’s other books because a) I mostly don’t do poetry, but I have sudden bouts of liking it. Poetry in English confuses me, it feels way less poetic and makes less sense than it does in Spanish. And b) her other poetry books have been hyped and I have been burnt enough by “overly hyped bookes” that I mostly steer away from them because they’re 90% of the time not my type of book. I am not sure her other series is for me, but this one, it most certainly is.

One thing that made me smile is that it has an extensive list of trigger and content warnings so you know what to expect when you read it and it won’t shock you or do you wrong as you’ve been warned. Maybe it even helped knowing what may be coming to connect better with it, as I knew what parts of it would speak the most to me.

Now I have ordered the previous book on this collection and I have keep this one in my limited collection of poetry books (so far there’s 3 of them, not counting the one on the way). I guess that is high praise for this book if it is actually staying on my shelves…

Moon writes: i only said i love you…

i only said i love you
at the end of us
but to me, it was the start
for i had not admitted
how i felt in my heart.

all the time we had together
i fought against falling for you
it was a scary thing to do
and i feared it’d
scare you away too.

now i’m looking
for a fresh new love
but every face i see
i’m hoping it’ll be
your own.

so i give up,
i can’t fight against love.
we both know that
you love me too

every time i find someone 
else, i feel as if
i was betraying us,
going behind your back,
yet you say it’s alright…

but then you get jealous
and gulp the nerves of loosing
me back, never show your fear 
or the hint of a tear,
you’re brave like that.

we play ping pong
never saying what we really mean
trying to live in-between
a hidden life from the rest of the world
that’s only for you and i.

but this can’t go on
for ever and without end
we’ll grow old, get bored
someone will love us more
or at least,  they won’t deny
the feeling is there.


A poem for an infatuation and desperation or annoyance, or maybe a mix of both. But I like the fact that it points to a lost opportunity by the undecisive person rather by the one that moved on and got tired of being on a “yes then no then yes” mode.

Moon Writes: Four walls

He’s coming,
frantically look for a way out,
but this room only has four walls,
and no door or windows in it.
(don’t ask me how he came in,
he’s a magician,
killing me is his best trick)

He’s here,
and there’s no escaping,
back then, there was numbness,
now, manage to struggle,
but screams fall on deaf ears.
(don’t walls have ears? can’t they hear?
but they lack mouths and can’t speak out for me.)

Open your eyes,
transposed with the darkness of
your room, is the nightmare,
can’t shake it away.
(be rational, dear brain,
your reality is safety.)

Deep breaths,
call on your to-go, knowing
the reply will come after dawn,
but you’ll be reassured, you’ll be heard.
(hey, hi, a reply!
heaven heard your silent plea)

“I’m here for you,
tired and sleepy.
it’s not real, your mind is just
sorting things, you’re just feeling
the effects.
(you know things will get
better, my love, you can do it)


I think this one poem talks by itself. But it was written during times of distress and feeling trapped. Thankfulyl things are better, but I still like the words that came out of it.

Voices Review

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Voices: The Final Hours of Joan Of Arc by David Elliott

Author David Elliott explores how Joan of Arc changed the course of history and remains a figure of fascination centuries after her extraordinary life and death.

Told through medieval poetic forms and in the voices of the people and objects in Joan of Arc’s life, (including her family and even the trees, clothes, cows, and candles of her childhood). Along the way it explores issues such as gender, misogyny, and the peril of speaking truth to power. Before Joan of Arc became a saint, she was a girl inspired. It is that girl we come to know in Voices.

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I used to love playing Age of Empires II on my Windows 98 computer (yes, I am old, shush!) as a child and teenager. And one of the first campaigns is Joan of Arc. I learnt a lot about her story and France (I am not saying it was perfect, but I learned a lot, and Age of Empires sparked my interest in more history). But the point wasn’t about gaming on a 1990’s computer, rather that it sparked my interest in this book.

As starter things, this book is a poem, it isn’t 100% accurate but more of an “artistic” view as the idea was to focus on the type of poems that would be used during Joan’s time. (This part I found nice, as the poems made a little more sense than modern poetry. Apparently Medieval poems are more similar to general Spanish poems, therefore make more sense poetically speaking than other poems in English do for me). And it isn’t a book about Joan’s whole life, but rather it is meant to be a “I am about to die, my life choices are questioned, this is what led me here” type of book.

I liked the artistic take on the story, and the poems. Some are shaped, and there’s a lot of formatting in it which made the experience of reading it, more of an experience in itself. My absolute favourite is the Fire, but in general, I enjoyed the poems, and I don’t know if I have a sooty mind thanks to hanging out with my friends, but there were some interesting hidden jokes in the poems that made me raise an eyebrow and laugh quietly at it.

It was a nice change of reading, and it was a relatively familiar story, so it was a neat read as I had been suffering from head splitting headaches, and this wasn’t too hard. Which probably made me enjoy it more than I would’ve otherwise. As did my love for Age of Empires…

 

Moon Writes: letters

as the sun comes (or goes),
on a journey that marks the passing of time,
sitting on a train or as i roam
this big city that never stops;
something tugs at my heart
and brings tears to my eyes.
barely there,
at first i can’t
make heads or tails of it,
but still
i try.
carefully i prod inside my mind,
what is this that shakes me
and menaces to break me?
can i give it name, or
shall it remain undefined?
don’t ask,
please, don’t ask…
[enough questions shoot my mind from the inside]
for i don’t know how to reply,
as i try to unravel this feeling that
crushes my chest
and nestles in my breast.
gather round,
for i have found
the name for what bothers me,
problem is
the solution is unnamed.
homesickness,
the lack of a place to call my own,
where i can find refuge,
for me to create or destroy,
where i can be myself without
having to hide anything away.
i have always
been someone small,
but deep roots grow
from my heart and soul
to the place i can call home.
just let me say,
in my defense,
that your
kindness,
the care you have for who i am,
despite my being lost
and the circles i talk around your head,
trying to make sense of all the events
that brought me to where i am.
looks deceive,
words may be empty,
but what you do,
that is matters in the end.
many places have
at some point in time and space
been a home to me.
next to you,
is the nearest “place” i can think of
that may be called home in this today.
open arms that hold me close,
confrontation or sweet words,
how did this come to be?
how can you know what i need?
protecting my broken heart,
i find comfort at your side,
peace that calms my fears
and takes away my tears.
q
 u
   i
    c
      k,
run and rush
towards you
and find my home
stay with me,
for we both know what this is worth,
let the world crash, let it burn,
but don’t give up on who we are,
for if you do,
it might all come to an end.
take me as I am,
let’s build a new life,
a secret we’ll hold close
to your hearts,
don’t say the words,
let’s keep them inside.
under the stars
inside a tent;
or maybe just in our bed,
the place is not what defines
where my home is.
valleys or mountains,
rivers or the sea,
nature calls us to be free.
wait,
o wait for me,
for you’re the key
for this locked world
inside of me…
x x x
kisses blown to the wind,
may they reach your lips,
and whisper those thoughts
i wasn’t brave enough
to word out loud
you are the cure to my sickness,
the home that is nowhere else,
my refuge and my calm throughout the storm,
you, you are the one.
zap,
you’ve struck my heart,
the tears and fears have left,
i am at peace,
at i am alive…

A poem written to have a verse/line starting with each letter of the alphabet, in order. Because the order and the challenge sounded like a fun idea. It is also one of those poems where I was exploring playing with not just the words, but the visual display of them.

The Poet X Review

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The Poet X by Elizabeth Acevedo

A young girl in Harlem discovers slam poetry as a way to understand her mother’s religion and her own relationship to the world. Debut novel of renowned slam poet Elizabeth Acevedo.

Xiomara Batista feels unheard and unable to hide in her Harlem neighborhood. Ever since her body grew into curves, she has learned to let her fists and her fierceness do the talking.

But Xiomara has plenty she wants to say, and she pours all her frustration and passion onto the pages of a leather notebook, reciting the words to herself like prayers—especially after she catches feelings for a boy in her bio class named Aman, who her family can never know about. With Mami’s determination to force her daughter to obey the laws of the church, Xiomara understands that her thoughts are best kept to herself.

So when she is invited to join her school’s slam poetry club, she doesn’t know how she could ever attend without her mami finding out, much less speak her words out loud. But still, she can’t stop thinking about performing her poems.

Because in the face of a world that may not want to hear her, Xiomara refuses to be silent.

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So, I have to admit I had put this book off because it is basically a story in poetry form and I wasn’t sure how well that would go down for me (I like poetry but I am picky, mostly because poetry in English is different to poetry in Spanish and I find it harder to connect with it).

However, I am glad I finally picked it up as it helped move from my slump (there is the reason for so many graphic novels and manga and Middle Grade books recently being reviewed). But back to the book, we meet Xiomara, and she lives with Mami and Papi, and Twin (Xavier).

And the poetry is good, and it doesn’t break the story too much (though I admit it took me a while to realise the “title” line wasn’t exactly always a title but at times the first line of the poem and then I had to go back and reread it as “part of the poem” rather than “the title”). It also was an interesting read.

I am not from Dominican Republic and I didn’t move to America, but I am Latin, and I moved to the UK, and I know friends and family that moved to America, so I am not that far from this story.

Actually I wish I could say I was far from it. But I also had a fierce mother who would expect a lot of me (she was a Christian rather than Catholic) but church was very important and we didn’t get the choice of not believing. Neither does Xiomara.  (Yes, I know, I am talking about me, but you see, the thing is, as I read this book, I saw a lot of me in it. I didn’t write poetry, I wrote stories, and made friends online at a time when no one made friends online because that wasn’t an everyday thing as it is now. And I also tried hard to figure myself out and what my voice was. And my younger sister had all the leeway in things I didn’t).

That was the part I loved, the way I found a lot of myself in this book, and that the poetry worked well with it to make it the right way to have it. My only “but” was the poem in Spanish (it is my mother tongue), I read it in Spanish, not knowing there was a transalation on the next page and it felt like it had been written originally in English. And that bothered me, because it was the moment I was broken from the story. Because once I turned the page and read it in English, I knew the original wasn’t in Spanish, or if it had, it had been written in Spanish while the English “translation” was being written. Small thing I know, but it was a sad thing for me.

All in all, it was one of my favourite in representation and it was a refreshing new way of reading/writing a book.

Moon recommends

Reading The Poet X. Alas, I do not have much poetry or slam or anything like that to recommend, so I will have to leave it with just that as the main thing to go read.