SMITTEN This Is What Love Looks Like – A Review by Nicole Lyons

I fucking love poetry. I love good poetry, exceptional poetry, poetry that sits heavy on my chest and reaches down my throat to pull my own words out of my belly, and thank the goddess, in the era of the Instapoet and art without soul, Indie Blu(e) publishing and Candice Daquin have given us all a reason to fall in love with poetry again.

To say that SMITTEN This Is What Love Looks Like; Poetry by Women for Women touched me on a level that very few books have been able to reach, would not only be an understatement, but a massive disservice to the writers, editors, and publishers of this book.

From the cover design and the foreword, and my god, the opening poem ‘Lesbian’ by Avital Abraham, I was enraptured. How could one not be with words penned as exquisitely as this:

Lesbian is a monster.
Am I the monster?
Because oh,
oh god,
do I want that word to feel delicious.

And delicious is exactly what this book is. It’s delicious in its pain, delicious in its suffering, delicious in its acceptance and unapologetic love. The writers in this book have no doubt all faced their share, and then some, of feeling less than, being told they are less than, living as less than, all because of who they love.

For far too long any expression of love by women for women has been chalked up to either lukewarm hypocritical acceptance (it’s okay to be gay, but I hope you aren’t) or nothing more than erotic urges to be played out in most men’s fantasies, but SMITTEN smashes the hell out of those twisted views, and it does so with absolute stunning precision.

Like that bell
That got Pavlov’s dog to salivate
I rise to an intensity of longing
in the presence of a tall, sexual
Butch pristinely starched
pledged to sisterly friendship
she says, not the sort of wild
sunrise I ardently desire, still.

Henri Bensussen – from This Splendid Sunrise

SMITTEN is the book I will give to my daughters, not only to appreciate and cultivate their ever-growing love of literature, but to take a walk inside the mind of many someones who loves just as fiercely as they do, even if on the outside, that love looks different, or remarkably the same, as theirs.

SMITTEN is something to behold. The lines, the breaks, the breaths a reader takes between are both sharp and soothing. This book is bursting with the kind of breathtaking poetry and prose that knows no gender, no sexual orientation, no colour or country, only the collective sighs of literature lovers from all walks of life.

Whether you identify as a proud member of the LGBTQ2 community, an ally within, or someone not entirely certain where you stand on love, SMITTEN is a book you simply must read. Whether you’re looking for acceptance, understanding, something to change your mind, SMITTEN is by far the book to do al of it.

But of course, if you’re just looking for good fucking poetry, well then I have high hopes for SMITTEN and every writer cradled within its pages.

SMITTEN This Is What Love Looks Like: Poetry by Women for Women an Anthology is now available on Amazon in both print and Kindle editions.


You can read more of Nicole’s writing at Nicole Lyons

The Haunting of Hill House – Marilyn Rea Beyer

Hello, Shirley.
We’ve been expecting you
to look inside and see how
long these thoughts have taken to brew.

Some thirty years,
isn’t that what you’d say?
That’s a long, long time for guilt
to grip you with its teeth of clay.

Enter the house,
Shirley. Look all around.
Dig with your hands in the dark
corners where old devils abound.

They will bite you.
They will pinch your fingers
if you try to jerk them out
and poison you with tail stingers.

Under the hill
that still houses your pain
lives the bleak notion that you
should feel shame and shoulder the blame

for all that you
did though under duress
when hard he grabbed at your breasts
then forced himself under your dress.

End it, Shirley.
Now re-button your blouse.
Switch on the light and say “No.
No. No more.” Get out of the house.


Marilyn Rea Beyer has read poetry in public since the 1960s and began writing poems in 2005. She holds a Master’s in Oral Interpretation of Literature from Northwestern University. Now retired, her varied career includes teaching, high tech, folk radio and working as PR Director for Perkins School for the Blind. A native Chicagoan she and her husband, author and filmmaker Rick Beyer, raised their two children in Lexington, Mass.

Featured Post: The Well of Loneliness – Candice Louisa Daquin

Getting ready for work
Bag on the table
files
filed
long 10 denier
black hose
so fine
makes legs look like swans
dark and sleek and endless
the way you’d like to be
dressed in costume
the person you want
gradually painted on
first the eyes, dramatic and smoky
lips full and plump the youthful devotee
cheeks pinched and shy
complexion covered with dye
hide the flaw
hide the truth
hide yourself
be someone new
getting ready for work
never ready for life
picking up habits of preservation
in the early morning light
what works here
what shows there
a fallen hem
a lost pin
shoulders too large
hips too narrow
breasts lurching to breathe out
an invert triangle
wiggling into yourself
trying to get out
of being legitimate
the role of responsibility
both necessary and loathed
a little toast, a little wine
the rattle of pills
medicated time
protecting ourselves from the glare
of the social climb.


Read more of Candice Louisa Daquin’s work at The Feathered Sleep and at Whisper and The Roar. You can also follow her Facebook – Candice Louisa Daquin & The Feathered Sleep.