Counting Descent (Clint Smith)

I went through a short poetry phase in high school, sparked by a unit we did in our AP English class. For whatever reason, that interest dropped off. This year’s Reading Challenge saw me pick it back up, and it has breathed new life into my reading routine. Not every author or type of poetry will speak to every person so don’t be turned off to poetry as a genre if you don’t happen to like what an authority figure has deemed “proper” or “good” poetry. And if you’re not into whatever author or type of poetry is in vogue, that’s fine, too. (If rupi kaur isn’t your thing, we won’t judge you.) I find that it’s like viewing art at a museum: don’t pay attention to the crowds or what’s highlighted in the guidebooks; find whatever speaks to you and go enjoy that.

Title/Year Published – Counting Descent (2016)

Author – Clint Smith (go follow his twitter too)

Page count – 70

Rating – Buy/Borrow/Bypass + Goodreads 4/5

This slim volume focuses on the theme of race, specifically what it means to live as a black man in America. Family relationships and histories are central to this story-telling. Continue reading “Counting Descent (Clint Smith)”


Poems (Signe Dolores Lepse)

One new thing I’ve done this year with my Reading Challenge is consume more poetry. I used to buy into the idea that a book of poetry doesn’t “count” toward my reading goals, so I avoided it. Let me tell you, friends, all that did was deprive me of years of beautiful writing.

Title – Poems

Author – Signe Dolores Lepse

Poem count – 58

Rating – Buy/Borrow/Bypass + Goodreads 5/5

I picked up this little volume at my public library’s book sale. One thing I appreciate about these poems is that the author’s Midwestern background is clearly apparent. Continue reading “Poems (Signe Dolores Lepse)”

The World Will Follow Joy (Alice Walker)

As promised in my review of milk and honey, I will continue to read more poetry this year. Here’s a lovely little collection from the legendary Alice Walker.

Title – The World Will Follow Joy: Turning Madness Into Flowers

Author – Alice Walker

Page count – 189

Goodreads rating – 3/5 (liked it)

(As a side note, I sometimes worry that if I give a book “only” three stars out of five, it will be seen as a negative review of that particular book. I’m especially conscious of that with this book because I also gave a 3/5 rating to Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. For me, a 3/5 rating means that while I don’t necessarily want to read it again – if I did, that would merit a bump up to 4/5 – I am definitely glad I read it and would likely recommend it to a friend.)

This collection of poems started off a bit slow but grew on me as I got further along. Walker uses her spirituality and politically progressive voice to write about the collective human experience, about the good that comes from treating each other with empathy and the terrible consequences of forgetting to see our own humanity reflected in other people. Always in the background (and sometimes the foreground) is her grounded spirituality and love for the earth. Continue reading “The World Will Follow Joy (Alice Walker)”

milk and honey (rupi kaur)

I’ve never read a whole volume of poetry straight through before. I tend to skip around in them as the whim comes to me. I did alternate back and forth with a more traditional volume of fiction I’m also reading right now, but perhaps reading an entire book of poetry from start to finish is something I should do more often because this one was quite good.

Title – milk and honey

Author – rupi kaur

Page count – 204

Goodreads rating – 4/5 (really liked it)

The book is divided into four sections: the hurting, the loving, the breaking, and the healing. Obviously these are simplifications but: the hurting is about abuse; the loving is about sensuality and relationship; the breaking is about loss; the healing is about putting yourself back together. Femininity is strung throughout all of this. Continue reading “milk and honey (rupi kaur)”