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review 2018-12-16 19:37
[REVIEW] Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill
Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul - Nikita Gill

I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

‘Heroes are meant
to be forged golden
from the blaze.’
(pg. 14)



I was very excited when I got approved for this book. It has all my favorite things in the title: feminism (yay!) and fairytales (yay!). And that cover? Swoon-worthy. The reading experience, however, was more… meh. The concept is good, it’s just not executed as well as it should be. The themes are repetitive, and nothing is structured or cohesive. This is supposed to be about fairytales, but then we take a turn into reality, dealing with eating disorders (that particular poem hit a little close to home) and then we jump back into fairytales. Some of it works, most of it doesn’t, at least for me.

The word choices are also a little bizarre. For example, in ‘Why the Sun Rises and Sets’ she speaks about 'cinnamon people' and that just made me uncomfortable. There’s this entire debate that people of color’s skin shouldn’t be described with food because it fetishizes and dehumanizes them. Another word like “amber,” for example could've been used here instead.

I also struggled a lot in particular with the short stories. The “lesson” behind each is anything but subtle, it hits you over the head with its message over and over again. You see this clearly in ‘Two Misunderstood Sisters.’ She creates backstories for some Disney villains (like Gaston and Ursula and Lady Tremaine) and again, I think this is poorly executed. She plays with the theme that no one is born evil, that evil is learned because of untreated trauma or wounds, and I kinda get it, but it also seems like she’s excusing their behavior? This is particularly displayed in ‘How a hero becomes a villain’ which is Gaston’s poem.

Not everything is bad, though. I enjoyed ‘An Older and Wiser Little Mermaid Speaks.’ This poem is what expected this book to be like. It’s powerful, and it’s evocative, in a way that the rest of the material wasn’t for me.

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review 2018-12-14 15:11
Profound Place: "Four Quartets" by T. S. Eliot
Four Quartets - T.S. Eliot



(Original Review, 1981-05-12)


I’m always impressed by the influence of mediaeval mystical texts on 'Four Quartets'. This was the subject of a chapter in my thesis. These days, I would probably want to change some of the argument of that chapter, but I would not change the overall conviction that a primary concern of the poems was the maintenance of an almost intolerable tension between the way of affirmations

 

 

 

If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.

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review 2018-12-14 14:56
Kublai Khan: "The Wasteland, Prufrock and Other Poems" by T. S. Eliot
The Wasteland, Prufrock and Other Poems - T.S. Eliot

(Original review, 1981-05-10)


It seems to me that the author of 'Prufrock' and that of the Wasteland are so different as to be un-recognisable. A look at the Wasteland reveals a lot of, to me, gratuitous classical referencing for which we might like to blame Pound and while I value its novelty (whereas Prufrock reads like Kublai Khan) the Wasteland reads like deliberate pastiche.
 
 
 
 
If you're into stuff like this, you can read the full review.
 
 

 

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review 2018-12-13 20:51
[REVIEW] Bluets by Maggie Nelson
Bluets - Maggie Nelson
"I knew it all along. The heart of the world is blue."
(p. 90)


This wasn't what I expected.

I’m feeling a bit like a prude but this was unexpectedly vulgar for me? I came in thinking it would be about the color blue, grief, lovesickness, love, loss, etc. Those elements are present but so is a lot of mention of dick and pussy and sex and I was completely surprised. I wanted something soft and melancholic and that is definitely not what I found. The melancholy was there but it was being chased by madness.

Another thing that surprised me was the philosophical elements present. Lots of Plato and other philosophers are mentioned.

I did enjoy her prose, her descriptions, and feelings about color.

 

 

Reading progress notes

 

61% - 136. "Drinking when you are depressed is like throwing kerosene on a fire,” I read in another self-help book at the bookstore. What depression ever felt like a fire? I think, shoving the book back on the shelf.

Accurate.
 
75% - Not loving that she used the "r" word.
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quote 2018-12-11 08:09
When your body takes up more room than your voice you are always the target of well-aimed rumors,
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