Love and Other Monsters – Michele Barard

Love and Other Monsters

I was given the opportunity to read this book and I was quite excited as I haven’t read modern poetry in a long time. Most poetry I pick up from time to time is the classics so this was a refreshing look at a new piece of poetry. Love and Other Monsters is a new release that can be bought online as an eBook.

Love an others monsters is split into three sections, all talking about the different motions of love. Each section reads like a new character or a different section of life and the enjoyment and pain of being in a relationship. It felt like the poems were laying out a story but being told through the emotions of the character in each poem.

This book of poems reads like a plot through the motions of love. It starts out with the innocent love and experiences of a young woman. I imagined her to be growing from a young child to late teens experiencing true love and all the feelings that come with it, the butterflies in the stomach from the first true feelings right up to the heartache and pain. There are also some poems in this section which look at the innocent love of a child and even some self-reflection pieces which to me encased the idea of looking back a younger self and if given the chance what knowledge would you pass on. I loved the stanza in the poem, ‘Silly or Young’;

 

‘So I cowered under covers,

Silly to think a blanket

Could shield me from my monster

Too young to know

I’d never really

escape it.’

 

Nina Brav (pg. 25)

 

This stanza may come across as dark but to me it reflects the innocence of our younger selves hiding under the covers from whatever scared us and how as we are older we lie in bed at night thoughts running through our heads, plagued by them during every mundane daily activity. The saying is true that we never realised how easy our lives were when we were younger but then again maybe we need to adopt that outlook on life.

The second section of the book follows the life of a woman who falls in love yet tastes the bitterness of losing it, the heartache and the self-loathing of letting your guard down and it leading to hurt. This section very much so works through the motions of falling in love, breaking up, the anger and hatred and eventually the acceptance and sadness that it has ended. It was a very emotional section and I felt that the feelings were well portrayed to the reader; it was easy to follow the emotions and empathise with the character. It was almost like the poets could put into words what so many of us had felt except the feelings which tend to last months or years were condensed across a handful of pages.

Finally the third and final section I felt was through the eyes of an older woman ready to step back into the world of love after what I imagine is a divorce. I could sense the hesitation in the speakers voice about heading back out into the world of relationships,  and one poem I liked was ‘Never Written’;

‘This is the love poem

I have never written

Because I always get stuck

Pondering the love

 

That came before

That didn’t work out

When we broke each other’s hearts

And bank accounts

 

When we lost our way

Lost the faith

Prayed for more

But got less

 

So much less but still hoped

Only to be disappointed again

In one another

In ourselves’

 

m.b. (pg.57)

 

I really enjoyed this book of poems and would recommend it to any readers looking to get their hands on some recent work. I felt it was a great read and I said above it felt more like reading a condensed plot as the speaker seemed to grow from the first page to the last in maturity and self-respect. I felt that the poems were able to put many complex and difficult feelings on paper that maybe we as humans can’t process at the specific time we feel them. Many were relatable and others I reflected on from the perspective of someone I know and who has been through incredible heartache.  I gave this book a 4 out of 5 stars on goodreads and would highly recommend it. My only criticism would be the cover work which I personally feel plays down the tone of the work. Originally I thought it was fun, colourful and attractive however after finishing the book I would like to see a more sophisticated and mature cover to appeal to a wider audience and complement the sophisticated tone of the poems.

 

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