Falling Through Love by Akif Kichloo | Book Review

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Falling Through Love is a heart-pounding, stomach-dropping, beautiful plunge into experiences of love, longing, and loss.

Falling Through Love submerges readers into Kichloo’s deeply personal yet widely resonant experiences, exploring relationships in their most exposed and honest states. Written in a variety of poetic forms—free verse, rhyme, prose, and visual poetry—Falling Through Love takes the reader on a poignant journey with the writer, about charting one’s own path in life, investigating failure, family dynamics, and love. Looking at life backward and forward simultaneously, this collection brings forth new perspectives on what it means to be alive, to have made mistakes, to have fought for an identity, to have loved and lost and then loved and lost again.

Date Published: November 5, 2019

Date Read: November 7, 2019

Genre: Poetry

Number of Pages: 144 pages

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository| Barnes and Noble

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Fearless, honest, evocative and personal.

Akif Kichloo has proven himself to be a new rising poet to definitely watch out for. I have the pleasure of reading his other work Poems That Lose which I thoroughly enjoyed as well, but Falling Through Love has got to be my favorite book by him. I have witnessed how much his poetry evolved from his very first book up to the latest one. He was more precise, yet never losing his signature charm.

There are few poems here that honestly made me tear up, especially the poem The Absence of Everything. I don’t know why, but it gave me goosebumps. The poem is about a stillborn child and how it somewhat affected the relationship of the parents. It spoke to me as if I have undergone the same ordeal, when in fact I didn’t. And that was what is commendable with this collection of poetry, it has the power to make you feel emotions beyond your own understanding.

Falling Through Love is such a powerful collection revolving around family, parent and child relationship, loss, longing, brokenness, love and the depths of it and so much more. It was coherent yet gave different textures, different flavours. It tackled topics with full of heart, you can notice how personal each of the poems were, yet one couldn’t help but resonate to it as if each poem is also about its reader no matter how different their situation might be. It was personal yet inclusive. It touches you like every good poetry should. It wasn’t a detached piece of writing, it was inviting, with shared joy and even shared grief. A collection like this is hard to come by these days.

Akif Kichloo is now added to my favorite poets list. His work is truly something to watch out for. Lyrical yet concise. Honest and evocative. Fearless and passionate. A book worthy of your precious time.

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there is this tender place
between nothing & everything

now that’s where I see myself;

someone’s something
in the everything of their world.

— Falling Through Love, Akif Kichloo

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The Octopus Curse by Salma Farook | Book Review

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Science would have us believe that we are nothing but cell upon cell. I disagree. We are made up of stories. The stories we hear from our mothers, the ones we tell our daughters. The tales we share with sisters and friends. The ones we never say out loud, but are heavy on our minds and run like a fever in our blood.

There are a multitude of great divides between us; race, religion, cultures, the way we dress, the languages we speak, but the stories we tell bridge us together in the universal tongue of smiles, tears, pain and laughter. They remind us that, as women, we’re all chasing similar fairy-tales.

This book is a call to celebrate the bridges, delight in our stories and to focus on the joy in our lives right now, rather than racing behind the happily-ever-after. That will come in it’s own time.

Date Published: November 1, 2019

Date Read: November 1, 2019

Publisher: SeaShell Publications

No. of Pages: 208

Genre: Contemporary Poetry

Get Your Copy Here: Amazon | Book Depository | Barnes & Noble

Ebook copy can be downloaded for free on Amazon until November 5th!

 

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It has been a while since I last read a poetry book, so much so that I crave the feeling it gives me. That feeling of calm, some sense of inner peace that I don’t get from other genres. Poetry is the language within which people are united to share a universal emotion and experience, whatever situation they find themselves in. The Octopus Curse gave the same feeling, same impact.

The Octopus Curse is such a gorgeous book. Aesthetically pleasing. You’ll notice how much effort, art and hard work were put into it. That cover alone will catch your attention. But it isn’t just a book with a pretty face, its contents are amazing as well. I specifically love the correlation of the Octopus to human’s emotions. I like that it has varied topics, most especially the ones about travelling and woman empowerment. The Octopus Curse  is a celebration and acknowledgment, as much as it is bitter reality and unmasked truths. I loved how the author were able to bring out certain topics with ease, not beating around the bush but directly saying what needs to be said, and that is an important attribute of a good poetry book.

The Octopus Curse is a mixture of poems about love, heartbreak, self discovery, woman empowerment, rape culture, immigrants, mothers and so on. While these are some great topics, I would have liked it more if the poems are divided equally into these topics. Giving great emphasis to each. Maybe putting these topics into sections in the book might have warranted a five star rating for me. The Octopus Curse isn’t divided in parts, it was a continuous one with varied topics inserted here and there, but mostly it tackles love and heartbreak. While there is nothing completely wrong with that, I just wish there was more to it. More poems on immigrants and race, more on mothers. I wish it was more well put-together. I wanted to feel and experience the full extent of it and not just fragments. I will be waiting for her next collection as I am sure this poet has all the potential to surpass her current greatness, and I’ll be there to see it!

 

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MIGRANT

“I am the bridge between continents,
The merger of languages,
The fusion of cultures.
I am the reminder that the lines
We once drew between ourselves
Were not meant to be fractures,
But only to show how our borders
Fall together like puzzle pieces”

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THE OCTOPUS CURSE by @salma.farook . SYNOPSIS: Science would have us believe that we are nothing but cell upon cell. I disagree. We are made up of stories. The stories we hear from our mothers, the ones we tell our daughters. The tales we share with sisters and friends. The ones we never say out loud, but are heavy on our minds and run like a fever in our blood. There are a multitude of great divides between us; race, religion, cultures, the way we dress, the languages we speak, but the stories we tell bridge us together in the universal tongue of smiles, tears, pain and laughter. They remind us that, as women, we’re all chasing similar fairy-tales. This book is a call to celebrate the bridges, delight in our stories and to focus on the joy in our lives right now, rather than racing behind the happily-ever-after. That will come in it’s own time. ••• First off, this book is gorgeous! I love how so much art and hard work was put into it! Today it is set to be released in the wild, don’t forget to get a copy! While you sit there, you can download the ebook on Amazon for free until November 5 (link in my bio). Watch out for my review! Happy Book Birthday, Octopus Curse! #poetry #OctopusCurse #SalmaFarook

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National Poetry Month 2019

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April is National Poetry Month and what best way to celebrate it than to read and feed my soul with gut-punching, heart-wrenching, tear-inducing, soul-crushing poetry books. May it be contemporary or not, I am here to read any poetry book I can get my hands on! I know last year I promised to post some recommendations and reviews of poetry books as well, but never really came around to actually doing it, I blame the jitters I have while waiting for the Bar Exam results, for that I am truly sorry. So yes, despite my busy schedule, I will devote some of my time posting for National Poetry Month, and you bet I’m going to stick with it this time! I was consistent the previous years doing something for National Poetry Month, be it be posting my fave poems a day, or writing one, I always make sure I do something related to poetry. You can call it an annual tradition. A huge chunk of me loving books is because of poetry. Poetry books are the first books I ever collected, it is still my life goal to have a huge shelf filled with every kind of poetry book. I am mad serious about it, and though the past year this passion may have dimmed a little, I am back to rekindle that fire. I even dreamed of writing a poetry book someday, but that topic would be for another time. For now I’ll savor other people’s poems, and maybe I could find the courage to write mine someday.

I will be posting mini reviews, along with my favorite poem from each book I will finish. You can also check my bookstagram @nerdytalksbookblog for regular updates on the book I am reading and my initial thoughts about each of them. As of this writing I already have read and made mini reviews on 6 poetry books, all of it contemporary ones. So excited to continue with this little project for the whole month of April. Let me know if you want to join me and maybe we can share our favorite poetry books to each other! Or better yet, recommend me your favorite poetry book and I’ll see if I could squeeze it in this April!

Would love to hear if you have little projects like mine for this month!

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Fierce Fairytales: Poems & Stories to Stir Your Soul by Nikita Gill | Book Review

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Poet, writer, and Instagram sensation Nikita Gill returns with a collection of fairytales poetically retold for a new generation of women. 

Traditional fairytales are rife with cliches and gender stereotypes: beautiful, silent princesses; ugly, jealous, and bitter villainesses; girls who need rescuing; and men who take all the glory.

But in this rousing new prose and poetry collection, Nikita Gill gives Once Upon a Time a much-needed modern makeover. Through her gorgeous reimagining of fairytale classics and spellbinding original tales, she dismantles the old-fashioned tropes that have been ingrained in our minds. In this book, gone are the docile women and male saviors. Instead, lines blur between heroes and villains. You will meet fearless princesses, a new kind of wolf lurking in the concrete jungle, and an independent Gretel who can bring down monsters on her own.

Complete with beautifully hand-drawn illustrations by Gill herself, Fierce Fairytales is an empowering collection of poems and stories for a new generation.

Date Published: September 11, 2018

Date Read: September 18, 2018

Publisher: Hatchette Books

Genre: Poetry

Number of Pages: 159

Get your copy here: Amazon | Book Depository

 

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Great premise, mediocre execution. 

I’ve read her previous poetry book Your Soul is a River and quite enjoyed the same. I remember tabbing few poems that resonated with me more than the others. It has a theme of self-love, self-healing, love, loss and heartbreak, which I appreciated. Now comes her newest poetry book Fierce Fairytales: Poems & Stories to Stir Your Soul which delves on a different take on our most loved fairy tales. Incorporated herein, are the same themes she’s been actively advocating — feminism and self-love. And while I enjoyed some of the poems and stories in this collection, I found them to be repetitive to a fault. There are stories that could have been executed better. Some of the poems were too literal leaving less imagination to its readers. This collection of poetry is great for beginners, for those who just ventured out into the genre, but to those people who have been exposed to poetry, this book can be another mediocre one. While I appreciate the message this book was trying to convey, I just felt like it could be so much more. It had a great potential and premise but just wasn’t maximize to its full potential. Would you believe that it took me almost three months to finish this? Because to be completely honest, it didn’t hold much of my attention. I felt like I have read so many similar poems contained here, that it has become too overrated already. It doesn’t serve anything new, but only made a different spin on stories we knew by heart. While there is nothing wrong with that, but it could be a tricky one. An author should be able to incorporate newness in a familiar thing for it to work, but that isn’t the case here.

I was expecting something different, something more profound, something that would pack a punch – but didn’t get any of that here. I was trying to love it because of the feminist theme, but I just couldn’t  bring myself to do just that. This book was trying to put some twist on our most-loved fairy tales and at first that excited me, but half way through the book all the magic was lost on me. It was meh. I just finished the book just so I could move on to better books. I guess this book just wasn’t for me.

Still thank you Hachette books for sending me a copy!

 

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“I hope you summon your courage and you invite your demons to tea, and you learn to listen to all their stories.”
― Nikita Gill, Fierce Fairytales: Poems and Stories to Stir Your Soul

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Poems That Lose by Akif Kichloo | Book Review

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Synopsis from Goodreads: From Akif Kichloo,  author of The Feeling May Remain comes this deeply personal and poetic account of a troubled life. A nowhere man, with or without god, a quintessential mental nomad, omnipresent in his mistakes, exploring mental illness, identity, family, sexuality, god, love, childhood, and purpose of life, Poems That Lose brings forth questions all of us wrestle with but either avoid asking ourselves or miserably fail answering almost every time. Kichloo navigates brilliantly from the deeply personal to the universal to the extinct, paving the way for a rare new voice in contemporary poetry, a poet who is more than wanted; he is desperately needed. These poems will slip off your tongue, creep under your skin, and live there.

Date Published: September 27, 2017

Genre: Poetry

Publisher: Read Out Loud Publishing

Date Read: December 2017

No. of Pages: 104

Source: Provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Grab a copy here: Amazon

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Poems That Lose tackles different facets of life from the point of view of its author, laying things raw and vulnerable. And though the reader and the author had nothing in common, the poems unite both into universal commonality, into that shared understanding of how life was, is and what it is ought to be. The poems were an effective means to send the message it was trying to convey. What I admire most about this collection of poetry is how it did not sugarcoat things, how it was able to present reality not dressed in fancy clothes but reality in its truest and most vulnerable state.

I loved how most of it was a poem about or directed to a father, how relationship differ and how it affected every decision, every characteristic and every perspective may it be towards life, love and other equally important matters. I also commend how this collection was a perfect place to start for new poetry lovers. It was digestible and relatable without losing the personal touch of the author. This poetry book is something you savor, something you don’t rush into, for its beauty comes from the readers appreciation of how each poem presented a figment of their own reality reflecting the written words and the messages conveyed.

The book was saying everything you wish you were able to enunciate yourself. It was this connection that despite having experienced life in an entirely different circumstance the book was able to resonate to you in a level of understanding you didn’t know possible. The book presented life in an entirely different light that you wouldn’t have considered looking at it in that perspective. It was more of life’s affirmation through the eyes of another and along the process you realize that no matter where life’s tribulations lead us, we go back to being human and accepting it with grace because that is how life is ought to be lived.

Dumbbells in a gym never made a man.

Learning to shoot guns never made a man.

Staring contests with friends, undressing

Women on the streets never made a man.

There can be no peace in this world until we

teach men to hold books as preciously as they

are taught to hold back their tears.

Mothers, allow your sons to cry.

Fathers, ask your sons to lower their gaze.

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National Poetry Month 2017 has come to an end.

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It has been a great month for poetry. I couldn’t be anymore happier to share one poem per day for the whole month of April with you guys. It has been truly amazing, I vow to do this every year, care to join me? My deepest gratitude to everyone who took time to read each poem I posted. Each poem was specifically handpicked by yours truly and I think these are amazing ones. Let’s spread the love for written words. Our love for poetry shouldn’t end here, instead let this be the beginning of our endeavor to the beautiful world of poetry! Until next time you guys!

phonto

Atlantis by Mark Doty | Poem No. 30 (NPM2017)

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Atlantis
by Mark Doty
I’ve been having these
awful dreams, each a little different,
though the core’s the same –
we’re walking in a field,
Wally and Arden and I, a stretch of grass
with a highway running beside it,
or a path in the woods that opens
onto a road. Everything’s fine,
then the dog sprints ahead of us,
excited; we’re calling but
he’s racing down a scent and doesn’t hear us,
and that’s when he goes
onto the highway. I don’t want to describe it.
Sometimes it’s brutal and over,
and others he’s struck and takes off
so we don’t know where he is
or how bad. This wakes me
every night now, and I stay awake;
I’m afraid if I sleep I’ll go back
into the dream. It’s been six months,
almost exactly, since the doctor wrote
not even a real word
but an acronym, a vacant
four-letter cipher
that draws meanings into itself,
reconstitutes the world.
We tried to say it was just
a word; we tried to admit
it had power and thus to nullify it
by means of our acknowledgement.
I know the current wisdom:
bright hope, the power of wishing you’re well.
He’s just so tired, though nothing
shows in any tests, Nothing,
the doctor says, detectable;
the doctor doesn’t hear what I do,
that trickling, steadily rising nothing
that makes him sleep all day,
vanish into fever’s tranced afternoons,
and I swear sometimes
when I put my head to his chest
I can hear the virus humming
like a refrigerator.
Which is what makes me think
you can take your positive attitude
and go straight to hell.
We don’t have a future,
we have a dog.
      Who is he?
Soul without speech,
sheer, tireless faith,
he is that-which-goes-forward,
black muzzle, black paws
scouting what’s ahead;
he is where we’ll be hit first,
he’s the part of us
that’s going to get it.
I’m hardly awake on our morning walk
– always just me and Arden now –
and sometimes I am still
in the thrall of the dream,
which is why, when he took a step onto Commercial
before I’d looked both ways,
I screamed his name and grabbed his collar.
And there I was on my knees,
both arms around his neck
and nothing coming,
and when I looked into that bewildered face
I realised I didn’t know what it was
I was shouting at,
I didn’t know who I was trying to protect.’
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