Review: Dropkick Romance

Dropkick Romance by Parker Lee (nee Cyrus Parker) was the perfect book read at the end 2021.

I truly love the poetry by Parker Lee, and find that it touches my soul so deeply. I wind up taking photos of different poems and sending them to friends and family or just storing them in my phone for later. And Dropkick Romance was no different.

This book dealt with finding love again, both within yourself and with others. Learning to love and to trust another. And working on yourself, loving the person you put forward in the world.

Review: All Cats are Introverts

All Cats are Introverts would be the perfect stocking stuffer for that person on your shopping list who: loves cats, is not a fan of people and appreciates likes some light poetry.

I read this with The Boyfriend and we enjoyed laughing at how true some of these poems were to our kitty – who does not like people who aren’t here own humans – and to The Boyfriend himself who is definitely not a people person.

This is short, fun read with lots of super cute photos of kitties. Definitely a winner for the holidays!

Also good for the holidays – these candles from Birthdate Candles. This one for February Ninth has such a light delicate scent that it isn’t overwhelming and I love to burn. It’s a combination just for this birthdate of lavender, sage, and neroli. Go check out your birthday’s scent at Birthdate Candle Co and save when you use LEANNREADS10!

Review: Where Are the Love Poems for Dictators?

I picked up Where Are the Love Poems for Dictators? at the International Civil Rights Center & Museum in Greensboro, NC. The title absolutely intrigued me, plus the poet, E. Ethelbert Miller is is an African-American poet and literary activist.

The International Civil Rights Center & Museum was a such a wonderful museum that really illuminated the Civil Rights movement. The absolutely highlight of the museum was the F.W. Woolworth’s Lunch Counter – preserved in it original location – that was the beginning of the lunch counter sit ins in the US. Hearing the story of the young men and women who spent their days sitting at the lunch counter to demand a change in their country – I left with a sense of gratitude for their work and a heaviness on my heart knowing there is still so much work to be done.

All right, this book. I really enjoyed reading Where Are the Love Poems for Dictators? The first half of the book was really an interesting and challenging read. The second half felt more like I was reading love poems rather than poetry about change in society like the first half. All together, though, I really enjoyed reading this book.

Review: The Hill We Climb

I listened to Amanda Gorman read The Hill We Climb at President Joe Biden’s inauguration and got chills. I knew this poem and this poet, needed to be in my life and my library.

When I saw this beautiful edition of The Hill We Climb on sale at Target I couldn’t add it to my cart fast enough.

While Gorman’s recitation of the poem was absolutely moving, re-reading this Brough those same chills, the same gooseflesh to my arms. The powerful words will definitely sit in the back of my mind for a long time. 

I know this is a poem I will go back to over and over again and I look forward to reading more from Gorman.

Review: The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One

I absolutely love Amanda Lovelace. Her poetry is honest and real and touches me at my soul. I read The Witch Doesn’t Burn in This One in two sittings – and I could have read it faster if I didn’t spend so much time reading and reading each poem and then letting the words sink into my soul. 

This book of poetry is full of girl-power, reminding females readers that we are fierce and no one can take our power away from us. 

Review: Soul’s Journey

I was truly excited to read Sam Yau’s Soul’s Journey, a collection of poetry that is paired with original art from Olena Zavakevych.

The poetry was a little more spiritual than I was anticipating it to be, and I wasn’t finding myself connecting to the words. While I didn’t connect with the poems themselves, I did enjoy Yau’s writing style.

I have to admit, I enjoyed the artwork from Olena more than I enjoyed the poetry. As I was reading the poems, I highlighted anticipated seeing her artwork on the next page that was inspired by the poem I had just read. This was a neat concept for the book.

This book of poems might have been better if I were in a different place in life.

NOTE: This is a paid collaboration.

Review: Dreaming in a Perfect World

Wow, this book! I don’t even know where to begin.

I was a little thrown off by of the dreams at first in Dreaming in a Perfect World. They are handwritten and scanned into the book. It was startling to encounter something so unclean and raw and unfinished like that in a published book.  However, I also appreciated to see the author’s process, his handwriting, and where the poems came from.

After each handwritten dream are poems that seem to come from that dream.

There were poems in Tavon’s collection that made me stop and think, some that made me smile, and others that were so poignant to the world we are living in today that I just had to set the books aside for a moment.

I had a few favorites from this collection of poetry. The two that resonated with me the most were “Black Student, White Education” and “If I could have a conversation with my 17 year off self here’s what I would say”.

Dreaming in a Perfect World is definitely not a light hearted book of poetry. Tavon touches on difficult topics: race, violence, sexual abuse, mental illness. But, he does so with raw emotion that opens a means for discussion.

Thank you to the author for a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for my honest opinion.

Review: Coffee Days Whiskey Nights

“If flowers can bloom, and coffee can bloom, then people can bloom, too, only if given the chance to stop and simply be…”

If you prefer your poetry to feel more traditional, with stanzas, verse, rhyme schemes, then Cyrus Parkers’ Coffee Days Whisky Nights, is probably not for you. 

That said, Parker’s new book of poetry is filled with beautifully poetic prose. He touches on topics that can be triggering for some people, including alcohol use, disordered eating, depression, toxic relationships and more.

I enjoyed the way the way the poet brings the reader through the book, alternating between day and evening – light and dark.

I’ll say, I’m disappointed, not in the contents of the book, but that the day/night pages did not translate as nicely to the kindle as they are in the print edition.

This was a quick read for me, and an enjoyable one. I found myself rereading sections – even now as I look back on the book. I’ve highlighted so many passages that made my heart sing as I was reading them.

Thank you to Cyrus Parker, Central Avenue Publishing and NetGalley for the advanced copy in exchange for my honest opinion.