My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Goodreads Blurb: In Alicia Cook’s second poetic effort, designed in the style of an old mixtape, she sets her thoughts to a nostalgic tune. There is no Table of Contents. Instead, there is a “Track List,” making it easy to refer to them to your friends with a, “Hey did you read track seven?!” There are no chapters. Instead, the book is divided into two parts, or as one would say in the 90’s, two “sides.” Side A holds poetry that touches on all aspects of the human condition like life, death, love, moving on, evolving, growing up, hometowns, family dynamic, life after trauma, and make-ups and breakups. Side B holds the “remixes” of these poems, in the form of blackout poetry, also known as “found poetry.”
Side B gives the material a fresh twist by creating new poetry out of Side A. There is also a very special surprise at the end of each track. Alicia decided to self publish this effort after leaving her publishing house. She views this book as her “independence” and official separation from that venture. She also drew the front and back cover herself. Alicia is a contributing writer for many blogs and news outlets, including the Huffington Post and multiple Gannett Publications. She writes regularly on drug addiction and how it directly affects families. Because of this, she has chosen to donate 100% of royalties to the Willow Tree Center in New Jersey.
My Musings:I loved how unique this book of poems was. Anyone that has ever dealt with grief and self-doubt will get a lot from this. The idea of setting each poem to a song was brilliant. Of course it worked a lot better for me when I was actually familiar with the song. For this reason I think it would be a cool idea if the book came with a cd of its playlist, or if in the audio version the poems song played after each poem.
There are many books that I have loved, but few that felt like they were written just for me. The writing was beautiful without being flowery, raw without being harsh. The author feels like a kindred spirit. These poems make me want to cry and smile at the same time. Alicia Cook is a master in the balancing act of bittersweet prose.
The only thing that was a little disappointing for me was that the black-out poetry in the second half of the book was not visible at all in my advance reader copy. I know this is not an issue in the finished work so I won’t take off a star for that. I am just sad that I couldn’t fully experience this book of poetry, but even just the first half of the book was worth five stars to me.
This is poetry for everyone. Well done Ms.Cook.
Buy, Borrow or Bin Verdict: Buy
Note: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review.