Strangers With Familiar Faces by Jennifer-Crystal Johnson...Poetry BOOK REVIEW
I hunted a bit- maybe not enough- for some ideas on how to review poetry.
I managed mostly to run across everything from laughable to silly to downright ludicrous.
I took a lit class in college where we studied and wrote buckets of poetry so I have a notion of the mechanics involved. I'm not sure a review should focus on that. I'll let someone else obsess about those.
So I decided to say something about how it affected me.
To that end I'll pass on this quote to set things up a bit.
"The biggest hurdle we have to leap in this world is the one we place in front of ourselves. No one cares whether you live or die unless you care.” –Dr. Mieko Mitchell
This is a line from the novel Murder on the Pier by Jere Myles.
I mention this because this is exactly what an abusive person and relationship attacks.
This set of poems is the poets heart and soul at the very moment of these attacks. Even though in a way, for me, some of these are difficult to read they are typical of what poetry is. It's the heart and soul of the poet often in the moment and sometimes in moments of reflection. There is a message here also - maybe a warning- something that might have been useful even to me when I was seeing this happen to someone close to me and feeling so helpless.
Domestic violence is not good for anyone including the entire family of everyone involved. Because once there is the erosion of love for oneself it propagates like a disease. And these poems made me want to hold the poet and say you do matter and if you can get to the end of the tunnel you will find all of those who care. But, as the quote implies it starts with the abused person returning to the point where they care about themselves.
It's not an easy journey and these poems chronicle a part of that long winding path. They will resonate with anyone who has seen this happen. Perhaps they will even help someone identify this before it gets this far.
I recommend this for everyone.
It is a testament to a strong will that something so touching and beautiful could come forth and help.
J.L. Dobias author of Cripple-Mode: Hot Electric