I love reading poetry.
I think that’s a fact that just about everyone who follows me knows by now.
I especially love discovering poetry that I’ve never before seen or read, and in the case of today’s review, this was the case.
In the most broadest sense, Where I Ache by Megan O’Keefe is a poetry collection focusing on the self. It is a self-journey through the ups and downs of life, of insecurities, of love, of loss. My initial thoughts whilst reading this collection was that the author’s poetry touches on universal feelings wherein every single person who reads this book will find a poem, a chapter, that touches their soul and heals their heart.
As with my poetry reviews, I will just do an overall review and then briefly focus on aspects or poems that I really enjoyed or, on the other hand, didn’t quite connect to.
The synopsis for Megan O’Keefe’s sophomore poetry collection, Where I Ache is as follows:
Where I Ache is broken up into six chapters ranging from themes such as depression, jealousy, death, and strength. These are delicate subjects to talk about and most people avoid them because of the uncomfortable vulnerability. I’ve always written and shared my poetry with the hope that readers would relate and feel less alone. I hope you feel a sense of community to all of those connected throughout this collection
Where I Ache was divided into six sections that worked to themes and enabled a flow between the different sections. For instance, you have chapters that explore love, jealousy, greed and mourning. In terms of this, I thoroughly enjoy when poetry collections are ‘structured’ in such a way, it reads like a journey which I think adds to the overall reading experience. Also, the title of each section was so beautiful, as it hinted at the overall ‘feel’ of the poems that would be within the chapter itself. The titles of each chapter are:
- My Foggy Head
- My Weak Spine
- My Bruised Heart
- My Grieving Knees
- My Greedy Green Eyes
- My Soothing Arms
Gosh, how beautiful.
Before I write anymore though, I do want to say that if you are triggered by words exploring/describing body issues, abuse and depression, please be careful if you are to pick up this collection as it does touch upon those issues throughout.
In terms of the poems themselves, I did enjoy reading them. They offered an insight into the human experience, they were easily understood and easily able to relate to. I did, however, find that some of the poems felt lacklustre in the sense that the power behind the words fell flat. The metaphorical use of language within these poems that I felt were not as powerful as others within the collection, was also quite simple in the sense that it felt quite juvenile.
This kind of ties in with my other ‘issue’, if we are to call it that; the structure of some of the poems themselves. One of the reasons for my love of modern poetry is the way in which it transforms what ‘traditional’ poetry is – mostly in the way the poetry is written. You can have a poem that is but a one sentence poem, or a few sentences, it doesn’t have to rhyme but it does have to tell a story in verse. O’Keefe goes back and forth between this type of ‘modern’ poetic form and the traditional form. Which is not bad at all, but when it occurred within the same poem, it had me confused as well as disrupting my flow of the overall story within the poem.
So although I would rate this poetry collection a 3 out of 5 stars, I recommend it to others who need a hand to hold, who need to see that what they are going through is not something that you have to deal with by yourself, that there are others who feel and have felt the same way. Reading poetry is a deeply personal and intimate experience, so this review is legitimately just my own thoughts and feelings as poetry is about interpretation and how you feel when you read it. I will have to say here, that I love to read poetry that also makes me proud of my progress – that also showcases the healing aspect of the self-journey, which this collection does not necessarily focus on. It is more about those feelings, those insecurities, without the light at the end of the tunnel. Personally, I think I mentioned that if I read this a few years ago I would be sobbing because finally someone else has articulated what I was feeling; but currently, I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I need to know that I can survivie and I will survive – and that source of empowerment is something that I find precious within poetry collections.
That’s it for today, friends! Until next time, happy reading!
All the love,
NOTE: I just want to extend my gratitude to Megan O’Keefe for providing me with a free eARC of her poetry collection in exchange for an honest and an unbiased review. Thank you for sharing your words with me.