Content/Trigger Warnings: Abandonment, domestic violence, toxic relationships, body image issues, cheating, depression, abuse, emotional/mental abuse, talk of suicide, emotional/mental abuse, and many more hard topics.
“I’m ready to be more like me. I’m ready to be more alive.”
Whenever I read poetry, I always go in with an open mind and I’m always conscious that a part of the author goes into ever corner of their poetry collection. A part of me always feels guilty for putting a review on anything like a poetry collection, a memoir, etc… because who am I to judge someone else’s life, experiences, or their journey. However, I am very appreciative that the author has the courage to put their journey and work out there and I’m grateful I could read this poetry collection.
Reyna Biddy is a 22-year-old spoken word artist known for her positive affirmations and self-love guides she hides within her poetry. Reyna is also well known on Tumblr and Twitter, where she also shares some of her healing words. This LA native has given credit in the past to her childhood as her source of inspiration, and this inspiration has spread like wildfire. “I’m sorry you missed the God in me”, this one quote of Reyna’s can be seen in bios all across Twitter.
Not only does Reyna have her spoken word available on to stream on Soundcloud, but she also has books available to purchase. Her first project “I Love My Love”, features a collection of her poetry that tells the story of how she learned to love. This collection is extremely personal and inspirational, she gained thousands of fans after it’s release in early 2017. Her second collection is titled “A Psalm for Us”, since then has been released as of February 2018. Her highly anticipated collection will explore and question faith and self-affirmation.
“before we fall in love—let’s heal each other.”
Reading poetry collection after poetry collection, it’s easy to find likes and dislikes. One thing that I’ve noticed with I Love My Love is it talks about deeper issues, with a seductive but powerful anger that all but sparks from the pages. It’s not coming from a passive voice who is just telling a story, this comes from a voice that demands to be heard with such intensity that you have to listen to it.
I love poetry and I always love poetry that can spark some form emotion from me. The type of poetry I come to love is the type that can rattle the bones in my body and make waterfalls out of my eyes. While there were a few pieces that shook me, I struggled with this poetry collection so much. For me, the biggest thing I noticed was the voice that would radiate from various pages. There would be parts where you could feel Biddy’s Latina side come out, there would also be bits of freestyle slam poetry thrown in randomly throughout this collection. While I love both of these styles of poetry, when there’s already a set tone of voice and then you throw other random tones of voice into the mix, it can be very jarring and my interest would slip in and out because things would start to become muddled.
While I dislike comparing authors to one another, for this bit of an example I’m going to make some references to the work of Lovelace. Mays does what Lovelace does in her book, which basically means no traditional capitalization and lots of line breaks to separate what would otherwise be ordinary sentences. Some of Mays’s poems do rhyme, and they rhyme in a way that made me wonder if they might actually sound better being read aloud, like how I mentioned above with the freestyle poetry, instead of being read on the page. Because the way I was reading them in my head, the meter was not consistent and many of the rhymes felt forced. A lot of her “poems” are also paragraphs, and it’s hard to read them because of the lack of capitalization. While some have criticized Lovelace for the amount of white space in her poems, but it does make them easier to read her books. With the way Biddy has styled each page, this was more of a strain, and not really worth reading. I also took issue with the fact that her ellipses only had two periods instead of three. This stylistic choice looks like a typo, and I kept stumbling over it because it looked like an error, even though it wasn’t. It was very hard to read and I think there will be a few readers who will struggle with the way this is all typed out.
One thing I really want to point out (and I’ve only mentioned this once in one other review) is a lot of swearing and use of curse words. If you’re not a fan of swear words or curse words used often, then this might not be the poetry collection. For myself, it didn’t bother me too much, but I know that there will be some readers who will have issues with that being woven into this collection.
I really loved that this book addressed a lot of important topics. And the parts that really hit me, they really reminded me of my childhood and growing up. They were like claws pulling on my heart strings. A lot of these issues aren’t always talked about that often and I really appreciate that Biddy addressed them.
“trying to love someone into loving you- is destroying you”
Overall, I feel really bad about giving this poetry collection such a low review, especially with all the important topics that get mentioned, and a lot of the lines have a lot of potential. As I said before, I always try to go in with an opened mind and not be to harsh on judging poetry collections. This was someone trying to share their story, trying to resonate with their supporters and readers. I’m sure this poetry collection will -with others- not with me. I just wasn’t very connected to this poetry collection and it didn’t connect with me. However, don’t let my reading experience discourage you from giving this poetry collection a try. There are many moving parts of this collection with very important topics. And I truly believe that this collection will touch many poetry lovers.
“make homes out of something you can keep close forever – not some “one” who’s temporary”