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

Review of For You, Rowena (Kindra M. Austin) – Kristiana Reed

For You Rowena

Austin made a gorgeous debut with Magpie in August so when asked to read and review For You, Rowena I was filled with excitement and trepidation. I imagine Austin is too, as her second novel releases, a dark departure from her first.

There is little I can say which won’t spoil the narrative of this 194-page thriller and that is what makes it such a glorious read. It is the kind of book I want to watch somebody else read. I want to watch another experience goosebumps like I did and fall down Austin’s rabbit hole of deadly love and lust.

Despite being her second novel, Austin continues to prove she is a master of her craft. She twists characters and narratives like locks of hair and runs them like ribbon through her hands; her writer’s hands which know exactly when to make you smile or when to drop your heart into your belly. This isn’t a conventional story and nor is it told in a conventional way. Austin takes risks every time she tells a story and I think that is how she so expertly captures the essence of the story itself. We are human because we have the tendency to throw caution to the wind and risk it all. Thus, For You, Rowena is brimming with humanity and its unconditional love and its cruelty. It is both perfectly constructed and unsettling.

Austin also introduces us to two female characters who are even more complex than Magpie and Lynette from Magpie in August. Rowena and Mara could have been written as one dimensional femme fatales. Instead, Austin gives us two women that change our feelings about them multiple times. They are not made of all things nice, sugar and spice. Mara speaks like she has shards of broken glass in her mouth and Rowena speaks like honey but cries like a cat mewling into the wind.

I fear if I say anymore I will spill all. I will hold my tongue and simply say, you will fall in love with For You, Rowena’s darkness and when you do, I want you to imagine me saying ‘I told you so.’

 


To buy:

US

UK

Christine E Ray’s Composition of a Woman, out now!

Front cover cropped

Composition of a Woman is currently available on Amazon.comAmazon.ca (Canada) and Amazon Europe ( Amazon.co.ukAmazon.deAmazon.fr,Amazon.it, and Amazon.es.)

It should be available of Book Depository and Barnes & Noble soon.

Signed copies of Composition of a Woman are also available on the Sudden Denouement Etsy site.

Watch this incredible video by Dena Daigle for taste of Christine E Ray’s gorgeous work and unmatched talent:

Composition of a Woman- Coming July 2018

Whisper and the Roar’s own Christine Ray will be publishing her first book of poetry through Sudden Denouement Publishing in July 2018.

“I draw down the moon from the velvet
cradle her in my arms like a babe
bathe in her icy luminescence
draw it deep into my body
until my skin is translucent
cool to the touch
I am filled with the light
of a thousand stars”

 

Rachel Finch’s A Sparrow Stirs its Wings Now Available

 

Sudden Denouement Publishing released Rachel Finch’s stunning book of poetry ‘A Sparrow Stirs its Wings” on June 28, 2018. In addition to her contributions to Blood Into Ink and Whisper and the Roar, Finch is the powerhouse behind the Bruised But Not Broken community on Facebook, which provides support and healing for trauma survivors. She is a symbol of hope and light throughout the world.

“Every now and then, when the world seems to be rocked in chaos and people are screaming without listening – vile words and cries for help climbing on top of and over each other – a single voice stands out, and that voice is pure in its truth and stunning in its wisdom.

Rachel Finch, and her debut book, A Sparrow Stirs its Wings, is that voice right now. Turning her heartbreaking abuse into heart-wrenching prose, Finch writes her truth and gives her strength to every unnamed victim turned survivor.”
Nicole Lyons, I Am A World Of Uncertainties Disguised As A Girl

“A mark of a great poet Is the ability to make emotional connection with their audience, and Rachel Finch does exactly that.”
Faye Brown, Black Orchid Poetry

Paperback, 148 pages/Published June 28, 2018 by Sudden Denouement Publishing

Available at Amazon.com, Amazon Europe (Amazon.co.uk, Amazon.de, Amazon.fr, Amazon.it, and Amazon.es), and Book Depository.