Tag Archives: Poetry

Witch Wife by Kiki Petrosino

Amazon.com: Witch Wife (9781946448033): Petrosino, Kiki: Books

Title: Witch Wife
Author: Kiki Petrosino
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Poetry, Race
Dates read: 27th June 2021
Pace: Slow, Medium, Fast
Format: Collection, Poem
Publisher: Sarabande Books
Year: 2017
5th sentence, 74th page: Stuffed thy brain with blooms of blight:


In Witch Wife’s incantations, Kiki Petrosino summons history’s ghosts – the ancestors that reside in her blood and craft – and sings them vibrantly to life.


This collection of poems was wonderfully dark and poignant. I loved the emotions that it inspired within me throughout. I also felt like a whole heap of it went over my head, but I often feel that way with poetry until I’ve read it half a thousand times…

This poetry was wonderfully dark and engagingly written. I struggled to put it aside. And, even as I’m writing this review days after finishing it… I still get those strong emotions rushing through me.

One of my favourite things about poetry is that you can find something new with every new reading. Some of these poems I read multiple times and understood something new each and every time.

<- More Kiki PetrosinoMore Poetry ->

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Bloody Sunrise by Neil Gaiman

Image result for teeth ellen datlow terri windling book cover

Title: Bloody Sunrise
Author: Neil Gaiman
In: Teeth: Vampire Tales (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Poetry, Vampires
Dates read: 16th April 2021
Pace: Fast
Format: Poem
Publisher: Harper
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: something else that I can blame on


A great poem about the pitfalls and sunrises of vampirehood.


At the beginning, this poem felt a little bit humorous. A little bit quirky and seriously cute. And then it started to take a darker turn. Darker and darker and darker with each line. Which, honestly, is kind of what I think a good vampire poem should be about.

Even though this story took a bit of a darker turn, I definitely had the song Girls Just Want to Have Fun playing through my head. Although this version was Vamps Just Want to Have Fun. I never said that my brain was a normal or safe place to be…

The bloody sunrise ruins the magic of the dark. And this poem just shows how much it can ruin if you really think about it…

<- Gap YearFlying ->

Image source: HarperCollins

Punching the Air by Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam

Punching the Air :HarperCollins Australia

Title: Punching the Air
Author: Ibi Zoboi & Yusef Salaam
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Contemporary, Poetry, Race
Dates read: 4th – 5th April 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Harper Collins
Year: 2020
5th sentence, 74th page: To take my mind off things for a little while, I said


The story that I thought
was my life
didn’t start on the day
I was born

Amal Shahid has always been an artist and a poet. But even in a diverse art school, he’s seen as disruptive and unmotivated by a biased system. Then one fateful night, an altercation in a gentrifying neighbourhood escalates into tragedy. “Boys just being boys” turns out to be true only when those boys are white.

The story that I think
will be my life
starts today

Suddenly, at just sixteen years old, Amal’s bright future is upended: he is convicted of a crime he didn’t commit and sent to prison. Despair and rage almost sink him until he turns to the refuge of his words, his art. This never should have been his story. But can he change it?


This is a powerful and poignant story. It is intense, impossible to look away from and the kind of tale that will honestly make you cry. There is no other way to describe it – you will have so many of the feelings that you probably won’t know what to do. Or at least, that’s how I felt when I was reading this.

I didn’t realise that this was a poetry collection when I first bought it. In fact, I was completely thrown by this fact when I first opened the novel. I was expecting prose. Which honestly ended up being amazing. There is something about poetry that feels so much more emotional to me and reading this tale through poems… it tied itself to my heart strings just that much quicker and tighter.

My heart spent the entire time that I was reading this novel just breaking. Not only because of the amazing emotions that are put forth by this story, but also just the story itself. It is based on true events to a degree, partially written by one of the boys that it happened to… how could your heart not slightly start to break while reading this?

For those who don’t know, Yusef Salaam was one of the “When They See Us” boys, and it is his emotion that I think lent an extra layer of pain and wow to this story. It’s his words that make me want to reach through the pages of the novel and just give the poor boy a gigantic hug.

This is a raw and powerful story. And one that is honestly truly horrifying. Even if it is one of my favourite recent reads.

<- PrideA is for Ayiti ->

Image source: HarperCollins Australia

Dive Bar by Carolyn Bird

Proud by Juno Dawson & various (9781788950602/Paperback) | LoveReading

Title: Dive Bar
Author: Carolyn Bird
In: Proud (Juno Dawson)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: LGBTQI, Poetry
Dates read: 31st March 2021
Pace: Slow
Format: Poem
Publisher: Little Tiger
Year: 2019
5th sentence, 74th page: an innuendo in stomach acid


A wonderful, dark and sultry poem.


There is something about poetry that really makes me feel. I’m not sure why, but there is always an extra layer of emotion when I read poetry. And this poem was no exception.

This story felt like shadows, secrets and lust. It felt like dark alleys and quiet corridors. Secret spaces to find yourself, and someone else.

There is something about this poem that felt seriously and wonderfully… comfortable.

<- ProudPenguins ->

Image source: LoveReading4Kids

Silver and Gold by Ellen Steiber

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Title: Silver and Gold
Author: Ellen Steiber
In: Black Thorn, White Rose (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Fairy tales, Poetry, Retellings
Dates read: 20th May 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Short story
Publisher: Prime Books
Year: 1994
5th sentence, 74th page: is it any wonder I went deeper and deeper into the green trees?

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A beautiful poem that investigates the reasons why we tend to follow the wolf off of the trodden path.


I absolutely loved this poem adaptation to Little Red Riding Hood. It’s not generally one of my favourite fairy tales – so many plot holes, but this one kind of took those into account. It questioned how you wouldn’t know that the shape in the bed was the damn wolf. It questioned why you would follow a wolf into the woods.

But, mostly what I loved about this poem was the fact that it had a much more adult take on the fairy tale. It was about following things that you just know aren’t good for you. But you’ll follow that anyway, it’s how we learn after all.

This is a great, easy to follow poem. There are hidden layers throughout it. But there is also a great and obvious storyline at the forefront too.

<- AshputtleSweet Bruising Skin ->

Image source: Goodreads

Heat by Melissa Lee Shaw

Image result for sirens and other daemon lovers book cover

Title: Heat
Author: Melissa Lee Shaw
In: Sirens and Other Daemon Lovers (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Lust, Poetry, Twisted romance
Dates read: 15th April 2020
Pace: Fast
Format: Short story
Publisher: EOS
Year: 1998
5th sentence, 74th page: The letter bore no signature.

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A disturbing. And kind of beautiful poem.


This is a seriously intense and disturbing poem. And I am completely in love with it. Like obsessed, happy, insanely in love with it. Which is probably weird… because this poem is seriously wrong. Just in that happy, easy to read enjoyable way.

I think one of the things that I liked the most about this poem was that it was focused on the submission of a man to a woman. It was completely centred upon the needs and drives of the woman in this. And the fact that the poor man is left frozen and in a truly horrible position… well, it wasn’t nice. But at least it was something a little different.

Although this was an incredibly quick and easy read. It is one that has stuck with me long after I turned that final page. It is strong, intense and kind of unforgettable. The imagery that just a few words bought to life are seriously potent and I just don’t have enough words for how amazing this writing was.

<- The Sweet of Bitter Bark and Burning CloveThe Eye of the Storm ->

Image source: Goodreads

Inferno by Dante Alighieri

Image result for book cover inferno word cloud classics

Title: Inferno
Author: Dante Alighieri
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Horror, Poetry
Dates read: 9th – 10th March 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Collection
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1320
5th sentence, 74th page: So many voices issued through those trunks

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“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here!”

On a divine journey through the depths of Hell, Dante–with his guide, the poet Virgil–witnesses the fate of Earth’s sinners. Inferno, a 14th century poem and the first part of Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy, paints an allegorical underworld in which sinners are punished in accordance with their sins. Journey through the darkness and meet famous historical and mythical figures and the fate that has become them, from Homer and Julius Caesar who dwell in Limbo with the unbaptized and the virtuous pagans, to Judas Iscariot and Satan himself, who dwell in the deepest circle of hell for the sin of treachery. Influential, even after seven centuries in print, readers of Inferno will appreciate the plethora of allusions both within and concerning this work, as well as the moral implications the story develops. Now available as part of the Word Cloud Classics series, Inferno is a must-have addition to the libraries of all classic literature lovers.


Until recently I hadn’t actually heard of Dante Alighieri. And then I found out that he is a classics author from the 1300s… and I was completely intrigued. Reading this collection of some of his works… yeah, I can completely understand the draw to his work and writings. It’s incredibly powerful and just… wow.

I read this around the same time that I started reading The Complete Works of Shakespeare. It’s interesting to compare the language styles and wording in the two different poets. I know that they come from different countries, different times (I think), but they’re both historical, classical powerhouses in the genre. And I love being able to compare the two.

I actually found Alighieri more delightful than Shakespeare. There was so much raw emotion in Inferno. The fear, the horror and the confusion just leaps off of the pages. The short, emotive language is of the sort that I plan to read again and again… there is just something amazingly potent and powerful about it all.

I’m not really a great reader of poetry. I do love it. I’m intrigued by it. But I can’t spend all afternoon sitting there just reading it… I need to be able to read a poem or two and then walk away. I still felt a little like this with this collection… but so much less so than many of the other poetry collections I’ve had the pleasure of reading. There was just something… enthralling about it all.

<- Little WomenHans Christian Andersen Tales ->

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The Poetry of Emily Dickinson by Emily Dickinson

Image result for book cover the poetry of emily dickinson"

Title: The Poetry of Emily Dickinson
Author: Emily Dickinson
Series: Word Cloud Classics
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Classics, Poetry
Dates read: 24th – 28th January 2020
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Word Cloud Classics
Year: 1890
5th sentence, 74th page: Her friend “H.H.” must at least have suspected it, for in a letter dated 5th September, 1884, she wrote: –

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“This is my letter to the world . . .” — Emily Dickinson

The Poetry of Emily Dickinson is a collection of pieces by 19th-century American poet Emily Dickinson, who insisted that her life of isolation gave her an introspective and deep connection with the world. As a result, her work parallels her life—misunderstood in its time, but full of depth and imagination, and covering such universal themes as nature, art, friendship, love, society, mortality, and more. During Dickinson’s lifetime, only seven of her poems were published, but after her death, her prolific writings were discovered and shared. With this volume, readers can dive into the now widely respected poetry of Emily Dickinson.


This was a really interesting read. I’ve heard the name Emily Dickinson again and again over time. But I’ve never actually had the chance to sit down and enjoy her work. Now I understand why there’s such a rant and rave about her work. Especially since her poetry is so multilayered that no matter how many times I read this, I’m going to find something new to obsess over and be fascinated by.

I haven’t read much poetry lately. It takes another kind of thought process to sit down and appreciate this kind of work. But, reading this, it reminded me what it is about poetry that I love so much. There are so many different meanings to every word and line. No matter how many times you read it, a new meaning will come to light.

Poetry is also the most emotive form of writing. At least for me. And I was really absorbed by all of the feelings throughout these poems. They might provide insight into the author, but for me, poetry is always about processing your own emotions. I could read all of these poems again in a weeks time and get an entirely different experience from them. That is just how emotive I find this form of writing.

One other thing that I absolutely adored about Dickinson’s works was that they were short. I could pick up this book and read a snippet, a short poem, feel complete and then head into the real world and responsibilities all over again. Although I don’t mind longer works, I do tend to find them a little harder to digest. I definitely didn’t have that problem with this collection!

<- A Tale of Two CitiesCrime and Punishment ->

Image source: Simon & Schuster Australia

Picture Planes by Michaela Roessner

Image result for alien sex book cover

Title: Picture Planes
Author: Michaela Roessner
In: Alien Sex (Ellen Datlow)
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Aliens, Lust, Poetry
Dates read: 29th December 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Poem
Publisher: ROC
Year: 1990
5th sentence, 74th page: Where two steams of blood

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A poem about sex, lust and the loss of innocence.


I can spend hours staring at one poem, pulling apart each nuance and meaning. It’s something I’m far more likely to do than when there is prose around. This poem made me so uncomfortable that I didn’t do that this time. After all, it’s in the Alien Sex collection, so it’s not going to be a comfortable story.

When I started reading this poem, I thought it was a little more innocent. About sex, sexuality and that loss of innocence that goes along with it.

It’s not.

It’s more about possession and rape and horrible aspects of sexuality. Or at least, that’s what I got out of it.

 <- And I Awoke and Found Me Here on the Cold Hill’s Side ReviewLove and Sex Among the Invertebrates Review ->
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Kwaku Anansi Walks the World’s Web by Jane Yolen

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Title: Kwaku Anansi Walks the World’s Web
Author: Jane Yolen
In: The Coyote Road (Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling)
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: Poetry, Tricksters
Dates read: 17th October 2019
Pace: Slow
Format: Short story
Publisher: Firebird Fantasy
Year: 2007
5th sentence, 74th page: Kwaku Anansi, and tell us a tale.

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A poem that explores the intircacies and trickeries of Kwaku Anansi.


This is a quick, sharp pithy little poem. Each line had few words and made the poem flow with a quick beat. Which was perfect for a poem which featured the trickster Anansi. After all, tricksters are always portrayed as quick, nimble and intense characters. They don’t stay still for long, and they’re constantly on the move. Kind of like this poem.

I truly love Jane Yolen’s poetry – it is always so multilayered. I know that I could read this again and again, and find something new and exciting each and every time. Even though this is a simpler and quicker poem than I am used to, there are still layers of trickery that I really enjoyed. Especially when reading late at night with the lights down low… it just added an extra bit of atmosphere.

Anansi is a spider trickster god, and this poem certainly spun a web. It was intricate and beautiful. Yet, when you looked beneath the surface – uncomplicated. Definitely one that I will enjoy reading again in the future.

 <- The Dreaming Wind ReviewThe Evolution of the Trickster Stories Among the Dogs of North Park After the Change Review ->
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