Podunk Moon is an anthology of mostly non-fiction poetry starting in 2016 and time traveling back through the years ending in 2003. A time capsule of heartache, depression, and the overall state of confusion that comes with being in your twenties. An excerpt of the suspense thriller novel, The Great American, follows after, leaving the reader with a taste of something that is altogether a darkly different breed of beast.
I love how random observations, a line here or a jingle from a commercial stirs within us a type of inspiration. Or perhaps, that's just the way writers are. We take note of the most mundane of circumstances, or hear a conversation somewhere and think, "I need to write that down."
This anthology felt that way. Snippets of observations in a day, a moment, a heartbreak, and a plane ride. I could imagine Erin Geil with a pen in her hand, and just as a thought pops up, jotting it down on post its, or restaurant napkins, or perhaps she carries a notebook with her at all times.
This collection spans thirteen years; years capturing those moments of falling in love, falling out of love, depression, and trying to find an identity of sorts in your 20s. A journal of life lived told in poetry. It was beautiful and a reminder of that naivete and ambition that comes in our 20s.....before life hands you experiences that you hope won't turn you bitter in your 30s. Well done.
Looking forward to more from this poet!
***I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. I am not required to write a positive one. These thoughts and opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Erin Geil started creating poetry before she was able to hold a pencil in her hands or make much sense of the alphabet. A very patient and kind mother played secretary to a very insistent four-year-old who wanted to rhyme about the ins and outs of bathroom behavior. She evolved over the next three decades and graduated to more appropriate poetry topics such as sex, depression, and love gone horribly wrong. Currently, she is hard at work finishing up several projects. A prompt book entitled, The 30 Something’s Guide: Abandoning Baggage Through Writing; her prized “child” of eleven years, a suspense thriller novel, The Great American; and finally, a poetry book inspired by brands of wine, entitled, The Wino’s Dirge.
With over 600 submissions, poets from around the world put their pens to paper to create this anthology, enthused by a common goal to raise money for the charity, Mind. With poems focusing on mental health from a wide range of experiences, this book aims to continue the worldwide conversation about mental health.
The profits from this book go to UK Charity, Mind.
Trigger warnings by chapter:
Section One: References include war, depression, grief, alcoholism, bulimia, trauma, suicide
Section Two: Sexual abuse, self harm, suicide threat, Borderline personality disorder, electro shock therapy, razors
Section Three: Postpartum depression, hospital ward
Section Four: Anxiety, pills, Borderline personality disorder, eating disorder
Section Five: Poverty
Section Six: Alzheimer’s
Section Seven: Depression
Section Eight: Therapy
Imagine going down a dark tunnel - that's what this book felt like to me, and editor Isabelle Kenyon even alludes to it at the beginning. My journey through this brilliant darkness, cocooning me with words that made me shiver, made me want to run as fast as I can down past the nothingness, the whispered heartaches and brokenness, and past the despair I hear in the poet's voices. It's all around me, these cries for help, these numbing observations and afterthoughts, and casual yet harsh realities of living with a mental illness.
I had to stop several times in my read to look at the contrasting brightness in the daylight. But I know this journey through these words has an ending. There is hope, and light found in tunnels.
Although, I also realize that its not ever that simple. One can run as far away as they can and darkness, death and depression will still cling onto them.
Some will never find light.
Some will never know hope.
And that's probably among one of the reasons that a book such as this exists. So that others can know that they are not alone. So that the person reading this book can better understand someone else living with a mental illness or disorder.
This is a collection filled with multiple individual's first hand accounts, their own thoughts; an ownership of their truths in its ugly, sinister, unwashed lives.
These are real people who understand darkness and passageways to tunnels without light.
These are real images; snapshots of memories or a thought that captures the numbness, the rage, and their illnesses.
The imagery was heavy.
This collection is heavy.
Still I pressed on, determined to finish, and to read the poet's message hidden between the lines.
The collection is broken down into 8 different sections and the reader is invited to name each part. As a whole, it's absolutely painfully breathtaking. Dark and gritty in the beginning, and something akin to hope by the end.
As Kenyon states the hope is that you find light at the end of the tunnel.
But I found much more than that.
I found that in the darkness, there is bravery to continue, to press on. And towards the end, there is victory to getting up each day. Victory no matter how small. No matter how weathered we look, there is victory that we have endured....or are enduring. So as I carefully set out on this passage way, I listened to the hushed voices and read each line...I truly could hear each person's story and chief among them, a plea to the reader to 'please hear what I'm not saying.'
My Rating: 5/5
About the Author
Isabelle Kenyon is a Guildford based poet and a graduate in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance from the University of York. She is inspired by the people and events around her - she observes and writes what she sees and what she feels.
She is the author of poetry anthology, This is not a Spectacle and micro chapbook, The Trees Whispered, published by Origami Poetry Press. She is also the editor of MIND Poetry Anthology 'Please Hear What I'm Not Saying'.
Her poems have been published in many poetry anthologies and included in literary festivals, such as Anti Heroin Chic, Literary Yard, Bewildering Stories, The Inkyneedles anthology, the Great British Write Off, the Wirral festival of Music, Speech and Drama, Poetry Rivals, and the Festival of Firsts.
Isabelle has been awarded third place in the Langwith Scott Award for Art and Drama and runner up in the Visit Newark Poetry Competition.
You can read more about Isabelle and see her work at www.flyonthewallpoetry.co.uk
dear judas is the first chapbook in the dead letter series by Melissa Jennings, exploring trust, betrayal, and whether people are truly capable of forgiveness.
~ My Review ~
I enjoyed Melissa Jenning's debut collection, Afterlife. Admittedly, it took me a while to truly get into the collection's headspace. Dear Judas was nothing like that. If anything, I devoured this in a single setting and reread it again for clarity and a better understanding at the poet's world of duplicitous people.
This is a chapbook, so it's shorter, for those not familiar with poetry collections. Letters from the betrayed are marked with bitterness and fraught with anger. I loved the imagery of the crown of thorns and blood. It was rather interesting to read because we all know a Judas who have come into our lives at some point, and whether we've moved on from the act of treachery, or still reeling from it, we can relate to this collection. I have a lot of favorite lines from here.
"don't suffocate in a sin you couldn't help."
(I noticed this seems to be a resounding favorite)
When your parents named you,
did they know that they were naming a constellation?
they looked at how you glowed, not how
you were surrounded by darkness.
****A note for my faith readers: I'm Catholic and while the imagery were haunting, I didn't feel like Jennings used some religious images as a way to mock or make fun of the faith and the faithful. I loved their style and whatever their intention in using these, it made the betrayal more powerful and humanizing.....we have all met a Judas. We have all worn our own crowns of thorns. We've also been someone's Judas and caused pain to others. It's this deception and greed of wanting power that I paused on.****
About the Author
Melissa Jennings lives with their cat, Dora, in the sometimes sunny but always vibrant city of Glasgow, in Scotland. Melissa is currently studying towards an MA in English Literature at the University of Glasgow. They are an avid reader and a writer of many genres - poetry is just the first step.
To follow them, visit their website at www.melissajennings.co/
Ink Stained Hands is Jennifer Rapp’s debut collection of haiku she first started sharing on Instagram. Within this book, you will find poetry that focuses on various themes such as love, heartbreak, empowerment, and strength.
Jennifer has the unique ability of working her way into your heart and soul in just 17 syllables. Her short yet (bitter) sweet poetry conveys a sense of understanding, that she has her own story, and wants the rest of us to know that we’re not alone.
~ My Review ~
Haikus have to be carefully thought of, not just for its correct form usage, but to make sure its story makes sense and still have the ability to be dissected and taken apart, much like every other poem. It's the poet's abilities to use this Japanese poetry (5-7-5 syllables) and build a story within its parameters. But a story that evokes emotion, whether it be a sigh of content, anger, motivation. I'm a big fan of Jennifer Rapp's haikus and look forward to them when she posts them on her social media. (Follow this lady, if you aren't already). This book made me an even bigger fan and I continue to be impressed and in awe of her haiku writing ability. Ink Stained Hands: a Haiku collection is thoughtful, much like the poet herself and its quietness and simple lines, formed a picture of a life in which one was once loved, lost and as Robert Frost once said, "it goes on," [again].
Well done, Jennifer!!
"the sea loves the moon,
for even in the darkness
he sees her beauty"
About the Author
The poetry of Jennifer Rapp tends to sway between happiness and heartache, stirring up so much while saying so little.
Jennifer graduated from California Lutheran University, where she earned her bachelor's degree in English. She began writing poetry at a young age, and aspired to someday use her gift as a way to reach out and connect with others.
She currently lives in Lancaster, California with her family, and brainstorming her next collection of poems.
2017 Award Winning Readers' Favorite Book in the Poetry-General category in recognition of excellence in writing!
A collection of poems about inspiration, love, beauty, loss, and life to move the heart and make the spirit continue to soar. The following is one of the poems from the book. It's the poem that inspired the title of the book and encompasses the theme of this collection:
Dreams of the heart
Are beyond overwhelming
A sunset bursting beautiful
Streams of rushing majesty
The immaculate spirit
A creative cascading soul
Spreading love and hope
Into the forgotten world
And turning skies
Into changing rivers
The vision survives
To say poetry has changed in recent years is an understatement. I'm not going to get into different poets, as that's not the point of this review. I do enjoy modern poetry but every now and then, I'd like to read more about faith and optimism instead of heartache and bitterness.
This collection made me sigh, a lot. Joie Schmidt writes beautifully and these poems sounded lyrical in its delivery and pacing. It was reminiscent of poems I grew up reading, with its imagery in nature and the timing and melodic quality of each poem. Well done, Schmidt.
***I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I am not required to write a positive one. These thoughts and opinions are my own.***
About the Author
Joie Schmidt is the international award winning author of "Dreams of the Heart", a compilation of poems about love, life, loss and inspiration. In October 2010, she was contacted by a publisher who discovered her online writing and offered to manage / publish / market / interview Schmidt on an on-going basis. In January 2011, three months later, "Dreams of the Heart" was published. (In memoriam of the 3/11 tragedy in Japan all proceeds from "Dreams of the Heart" books sales will go to the relief effort until 3/11/12)
In February 2011, she was interviewed for her book. The interview is featured on a site among approximately 20 other authors, several of whom are NY Times Bestsellers and / or award winning recipients. She is beyond honored and blessed to be in the company of such incredible talent. With such prestigious influences in her midst, Schmidt was inspired to publish "Dreams of the Heart vol. II" in August 2011. Upon, reading poetry at an open mic event organized by "Writer's Row" founded by Jessica Wilson, that took place in downtown L.A.'s "The Last Bookstore", and meeting prolific poets who had written 20+ books, she was further inspired to achieve such levels of realized productivity. Her north stars are authors of unparalleled success like JK Rowling and Agatha Christie. Some of the authors she holds dearest to her heart include Shakespeare, F. Scott Fitzgerald and Robert Frost.
Throughout the time that she has been pursuing her writing dreams, she has independently published over 800 poems and articles. Her online writing has been viewed close to 900K times, her poem "Wisdom & Youth" and an interview was been featured in two separate issues of "Christian Women's Magazine", her poem "Bricks & Passages" has been published by Edgar & Lenore's Publishing House, her biography, picture and "Dreams of the Heart" have been added to this same publishing house's "Calliope's Closet" collection, her radio interview was featured in "Aquillrelle Magazine", and her poem "Greater Good" was featured in CWL xPress' new in-print magazine in August 2011. Additionally, Schmidt feels honored and blessed to have been a performer/poetry reader for the 2011 Poetrypalooza (a 10-day citywide poetry celebration in Los Angeles - held by the ZZyZx WriterZ a new emerging LA based writing group (consisting on such talents like Kimberly Cobian, Henry Chow, and more!), that teams up with local artists, musicians, actors, educators, and more writers).
Between 2011 and 2013, Schmidt volunteered as Creative Outreach for "The New Writers" a non-profit organization created to help lift up and support the dreams of writers all over the world founded by Sarah Stuart, as their "Creative Outreach Director". On Sept 17th, she was interviewed on Marc Medley's "The Reading Circle" WP88.7 FM (a radio station broadcast from William Paterson College & webcast around the world on www.gobrave.org.) In October 2011, she connected with a beautiful charity called "Humanitarian Aid Foundation" (a non-profit organization that helps the needy and orphaned children of Ghana, Africa) as an ambassador/volunteer to help spread the word and support.
In November 2011, she was honored and humbled by being asked to contribute her poem "The Touch of a Snowflake" to Conneticut's largest independent poetry group Free Poets Collective's Ekphrastics book of poems for The New Britain Museum of American Art (to be published in 4/2012). She was also humbly honored with the gift of becoming an administrator for "Free Poets Collective." In February 2012, she was contacted by the publishers of "Pho for Life" and asked to contribute poetry/writing to the second edition "Miso for Life". The editions are collections of Asian writers to celebrate, support and uplift the Asian community.
In March 2012, "Keep Joy in a Pocket & Love in a Heart Locket" was published with $1 being donated to "Save the Children" (the charity Schmidt holds dearest to her heart) for every copy sold. in April 2012, she was interviewed in "Proverbs & Wisdom" founded by Ashley Ormon. June 2012 was a wonderful month as well! Schmidt began a contributing writing with SPMG Media, with approx. 1.4 million world-wide subscribers, and approx. 30,000 local targeted community subscribers. She also officially became a writer for "Kids on the Porch" (KOTP) a TV show created to help prevent bullying amongst children and teenagers. She has been writing consistently for the show which was inspired by a true news story and more! In November 2012, she also co-hosted the charity event "Us Saving Us" with KOTP.
In June 2013, she was asked to participate in the upcoming "Asian Pacific Festival: Arts & Music by the Sea" taking place at the Newport Dunes Waterfront Resort in September 2013. In May 2014, 3 of her poems were published in the third anthology series of Asian writers "Kim Chi for Life". Also in 2014, she created "Keep Joy in a Pocket & Love in a Heart Locket" inspirational stickers. To purchase stickers, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In 2015, Schmidt was honored by having two poems "Creativity" and "Pathways of Hope" from "Dreams of the Heart, vol. II" published in Proverbs & Wisdom's first in print edition of In The Light Magazine. Two years later in 2017, "Dreams of the Heart, vol. I" became an award winning book recognized for excellence in writing in the Poetry-General category awarded by Readers' Favorite.
(Reader's Favorite receives "thousands of entries from all over the world" & "submissions from independent authors, small publishers, & publishing giants such as #RandomHouse, #HarperCollins & #SimonSchuster, with contestants that range from the first-time, self-published author to New York Times #bestsellers like J.A. Jance, James Rollins, and #1 best-selling author Daniel Silva, as well as celebrity authors like Jim Carrey (Bruce Almighty), Henry Winkler (Happy Days), and Eriq La Salle (E.R., Coming to America).")
As her success steadily grows and with such an incredible jump start to her writing/artistic dreams, Schmidt is wholeheartedly excited by what the future increasingly continues to hold for her. Her favorite quotes: "If you can dream it, you CAN do it!" (-Walt Disney) and "The only limits in life are those you place upon yourself" - in other words YOU have no limits.
Official Website: www.JoieSchmidt.com
Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/p.s.JoieSchmidt
Readers' Favorite Author Profile: https://readersfavorite.com/book-review/dreams-of-the-heart
These pages contain the lives of sixty people. Sixty glimpses into psyches and souls of emotionally driven individuals. People like you and me, filled with anger, jealousy, joy, and wonder. Spend time getting to know them, forging connections. See who you fall in love with, who you disdain, who you want to invite out for coffee and who you’d like to forget by the end of the book. Jump into the water and see who and what you’ll be flooded by.
~ My Review ~
As soon as I finish a poetry book, I take a day to let the words just stew and sometimes, I'll go back and pick up the book again just to reread the passages that resonated with me. This was a collection of different eyes and personas. This could be any one of us, at any point in our lives. Stories that were told in moments that mattered, like our first kisses, our first loves, our last kisses, that stranger we bumped into at the train, our family secret, our regrets, our mountain of dreams and trials. I felt myself blushing at a few of these stories. In some, I could only hope there were happy endings or at least, satisfactory for the person. At the end of the day, isn't that what we hope for, at least? Our own version of happy ever afters. Well done, Morse, for an inspiring collection that just flooded (me) by.
About the Author
T. Haven Morse is a multi-genre writer with a focus on writing poetry, stories, articles and essays that speak to the heart of readers. She lives in a magical cottage in the woods and spends as much time as she can, walking among the pines, live oaks, and honeysuckle vines for peace and inspiration in Evergreen, TX. Haven is a part of the Bountiful Balcony Books family and is pleased that you’ve discovered her work.
An extended edition off of the best-selling poetry book, Uncaged Wallflower. This edition has over 110 new poems and over 40 illustrations. Uncaged Wallflower is for those who feel trapped in the thoughts their minds produce, unable to express them with the rest of the world out of fear of critique or disagreement. For the people who need an extra dose of positivity in their day and inspiration to follow their dreams. This is not a poetry book for you to read and relate to in a sorrow filled way. It is for you to read and say yes, I can be better, and I will.
~ My Review ~
I wanted to begin my 2018 with positive affirmations, and I knew Jennae Cecelia who oozes positivity and light in all her words was something I needed to read. This extended edition didn't disappoint. I was already a fan from her previous works and I continue to be a grateful fan for the way she pieces together her poetry. Some read like bite size affirmations that I need to hear on repeat, others sound like a friend who offers her support and implores you to listen to yourself more, love yourself more and share your dreams to the Universe more. I have a few earmarked that I know I'll keep coming back to for years to come.
Some of my bite sized faves:
A comfort zone
should no longer
hold you in place.
Dreams are meant to be chased
not buried in fear.
- get running
Rating: 5/5 Stars
About the Author
Jennae Cecelia is the self-published and best-selling author of the poetry books, Bright Minds Empty Souls, Uncaged Wallflower, I Am More Than a Daydream, and her latest release, an extension off of Uncaged Wallflower.
She has developed a strong passion for writing uplifting poetry that encourages
her readers to reach their full potential and learn about fulfilling their dreams.
Jennae's soul is happiest when she is meditating, doing yoga, drinking coffee, exploring nature, drawing, or being around people who lift up her spirits.
The extended version of This is not a Spectacle explores human curiosity towards strangers and investigates where curiosity becomes fascination with another’s grief or misfortune from afar.
The poems range from my experiences of a car accident, my own fascination of others and strangers’ impressions of me.
It is an expression of anger from those who least want to be stared at and be put on display.
I'm a huge fan of Isabelle Kenyon's poetry. I had read the first book (see review here) and one thing I wanted was for Isabelle to have more poetry! This collection does not disappoint!
Kenyon continues to give us a commentary on social issues, such as homelessness, and offers a glimpse of the forgotten, such as the elderly, or perhaps those who silently stood in the sidelines during the #metoo movement, but with a story, nonetheless. I appreciate the poet's take on these issues, as only a poet can take a jarring forgotten life and try as she might, spark a little light into it. Except, it's on the reader to take that spark and do something worthy to these words. Lovely words they may be. Another job, well done!
About the Author
Isabelle Kenyon is a Greater Manchester based poet and a graduate in Theatre: Writing, Directing and Performance from the University of York.
Her poems have been published in many poetry anthologies, such as the Inkyneedles anthology, the Great British Write Off, the Wirral festival of Music, Speech and Drama, The Tiny Tales anthology and the Festival of Firsts, as well as achieving third place in the Langwith Scott Award for Art and Drama. Her microchapbook, published by Origami Poetry Press will be out soon!
"The Lonely Heart Wanders"is a collection of poetry about the path our hearts take during our lifetimes. It can twist and turn with the relationships and experiences we go through. The heart is capable of the most intimate connections. It is strong, yet very fragile. It is tested through battles of love, lust, hate, deceit, self-love, depression, friendship, marriage and even death.
~ My Review ~
I enjoyed this collection. While I admire Matt's passion in his words, I felt like this should have been more organized in how the entire collection was laid out. It jumps from being in love, to the bitterness of old wounds, to inspiration and a take on today's political climate and changing societal landscape. The randomness was a little off putting at times. When you read about an inspirational poem and then it's followed up with an erotic poetry, it's a bit jarring. Overall, I did come to appreciate the messages he imparted.
***EDITED TO ADD: I use Goodread's rating system. ***
3/5 liked it
About the Author
Matt Banks is a modern poet, who has been writing since he was a teen. "The Lonely Heart Wanders" is currently his only collection of poetry. Matt holds a Bachelor's Degree in Sports Science, and currently works at a local elementary school in Memphis, TN. He loves kids and is dedicated to serving young students and special needs children. He is married to his wonderful wife Sylvia. They recently welcomed their first son, Dominic, into the world.
Today is the cover reveal for We have a few good memories, don't we? by Katie Lewington. This cover reveal is organized by Lola's Blog Tours.
The eighth book written by prolific blogger, and poet, KATIE LEWINGTON, We have a few good memories, don't we? interprets the ways in which we experience LOSS. Whether that be a lover losing their other half, a piggy bank being robbed of pennies, or a tap running dry.
At the core of We have a few good memories, don't we? is the longing, end, and reflection of a long-term relationship.
The poems in this chapbook are Hunger, Steps, Saint River, The Blaze, Storm, Hindsight, Red Green Amber, Piggy Bank, Tear, Midnight, Cupid's Bow, Digest, and Epitaph.
You can find We have a few good memories, don't we? on Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/36558578-we-have-a-few-good-memories-don-t-we
not sucked into the
sink left wet
weeping for loss
tap drips, inconsolable
About the Author
Katie Lewington wrote her first poem aged 16. Even though, after analysing a poem for her hellish English GCSE, she vowed she would have nothing more to do with poetry. She has now published a number of books on Amazon.com, as well as having poetry published in places such as Ghost City Review, Seafoam Magazine, Tuck magazine, Spillwords.com, Pink Litter, Horror Sleaze Trash, Haikuniverse, and Ugly Sapling press.
She is also passionate about helping her fellow indie writers and her blog has many weekly features in aid of exposing these writers to the public.
Her blog https://katiecreativewriterblog.wordpress.com hosts book tours, shares her opinions on small press/independently published books, and has two weekly features, called The Sunday Spotlight, and Prompt Thursday. She would love to see you around!
Curious by nature, when not satisfying her thirst for knowledge through books, Katie Lewington is listening to TalkSport on the radio, travelling, watching her football team Tottenham Hotspur on the television, and engaging with other writers and bibliophiles through social media.
You can find and contact Katie Lewington here:
- Blog: https://katiecreativewriterblog.wordpress.com
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/KLpoetry/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/lewington_katie
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/katielewington/
- Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14054005.Katie_Lewington
There is a cover reveal wide giveaway for the cover reveal of We have a few good memories, don't we? Five winners will each win an e-copy of We have a few good memories, don't we? by Katie Lewington.
For a chance to win, enter the rafflecopter below:
Book Club Pick:
I use Goodread's rating scale
1 star – didn’t like it
2 stars – it was OK
3 stars – liked it
4 stars – really liked it
5 stars – it was so amazing, it's on my reread pile!