Salt Chorus leads readers on an evocative journey ranging from deep in a garden to out in the cosmos. In her poetry debut, Dominique Rossi weaves haunting imagery to honor connections between humans and wilderness. Rossi explores themes including trauma, identity, and resilience with grace and reverence.
Amazon book link:
~ Review ~
This was a stunning debut collection. Powerful, haunting, and beautifully written. There were pieces that were delicate in nature and wrapped in wonder, and while others seemed to be read in demand. Can a poem ask its reader for such a thing? To reread the piece over, more fiercely?
If a chapbook could demand such a thing, then I cannot wait to read more of this poet's work. Well done!
About the Author
Dominique Rossi is an attorney and political advisor. She has previously worked as a journalist and a domestic violence survivor advocate. Her articles have appeared in magazines including Bitch, Adbusters, and Northwest Travel. Rossi’s hobbies include international travel, reading and embroidery. Originally from Chicago, she now lives in the Pacific Northwest with her partner, dogs, and chickens.
When your to do list keeps having one more thing gradually added to it, and yet you still somehow manage to squeeze it all in. You just do more, sleep less and you wring yourself dry, until there's not a drop of liquid left in you.
EMERGING FROM THE CHRYSALIS EXPLORES THE THOUGHTS, EMOTIONS AND PARALYSIS OF MENTAL HEALTH AND HOW THE SAVING GRACE OF SELF-EXPRESSION AND ITS RELEASE VIA POETRY, SLOWLY ENABLES HEALING. ALTHOUGH RARELY OPENLY DISCUSSED, MOST OF US HAVE HAD MOMENTS IN OUR LIFE THAT FEEL TOO MUCH AND YOU WANT TO DIVORCE YOURSELF FROM YOUR OWN LIFE. IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING BURN OUT OR MENTAL ILLNESS OR YOU KNOW SOMEONE WHO IS, THIS IS THE BOOK THAT YOU DIDN'T KNOW YOU MUST READ!
Amazon book link:
~ Review ~
It is always interesting (to me, at least) how people process anxiety and depression. The finding out of these conditions, rather. Some deny - this was me, so I'm not judging. Some hide beneath storm clouds just waiting for the storms to pass. Others run right into the storm, demanding, bargaining, all while being tethered to a lighting pole.
And then there are your poets.
The ones who step just a hair to the side, carefully analyzing the bits and pieces of silver linings to be found and gather them up into poetry. Crafting their storms into words.
While the title suggests emerging from the cocoon (and there is that), there were storm metaphors and imagery in the beginning that I couldn't stop letting go of. Or perhaps, as it is hurricane season here in the South, I liken it to seeing the toss and turn of anxiety off in the distance of the gulf and watching the clouds of depression darken bit by bit.
Manuel's first few pieces was melodic in the way a storm brews. Tentative, unsure, beautiful. And as the formation - or the core of the book - began to take shape, I could (again, in my mind's eye) envision the hurricane coming towards me. Neurotic, breathless and growing stronger.
This collection cannot be read in one sitting. I read a few poems here and there to gather my thoughts, to analyze, and to take a step back. There is darkness here that is not often talked about; suicide ideation was written almost so whimsical, I had to pause for self care. To read her words and understand those moments, know those thoughts......I recommend going slow and taking pauses. This collection is not to be rushed. Transformations (and hurricanes) take a while, after all.
I do love her later chapter of catharsis. This section was uplifting and gave me hope that the poet found solace and peace in her healing journey. And I applaud the poet for her honesty and her bravery in sharing.
About the Author
Francine Manuel is a Canadian poet and writer. She has earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and numerous certifications in alternative therapeutic modalities. In Francine’s debut book of poetry, “Emerging from the Chrysalis”, you are able to get a glimpse into the subtle yet devastating nature of burnout, anxiety and depression. Each poem captivates and draws in the reader, allowing them to have a unique insight into the realities of mental illness. Francine is a renown avocado-aholic and firmly insists that it can be eaten at any meal of the day. Her innate curiosity and joie de vivre lend a fresh and innovative perspective about transformation, healing and living fully.
Francine welcomes her readers to connect with her on Instagram (@francine_manuel_author), TikTok (@francine_manuel) and/or Facebook (Francine Manuel_Author)
Poetry news: the Wild Word
My poem, "identity in diaspora" was accepted in the Wild Word magazine for their Motherland issue.
I sometimes think of my identity in diaspora
as a mother whose babies were ripped
from the womb, weeks too early to function
on their own. I think about my first language trying
to find comfort in my tongue but the words
seem lost and misplaced. Maybe I too was
plucked too early. And instead of these coming of age
stories, i write about the searching of identities
and feeling like a stranger in a home with
Read here for more: https://thewildword.com/poetry-leila-tualla/
Playing with covers
Manifesting that I will have a book published by one of "the big 5." It will honor my voice as a mom, an advocate and it will serve to educate, to spread awareness and all about pinoy pride and power. One day.
Until that day comes...I am here I am crafting, writing, and creating my space out here.
For any one curious about the self publishing process.
First, there's the "the end" and then a celebration that you freakin' finished a book!! Go YOU!!
Second, you can do a few things: query and send it out to agents or submit to any and all chapbook contests/submission calls, etc. Be forewarned. I had a list of small presses that are my "dream" journals. They publish maybe 2 - 3 chapbooks a year and their submission fees can vary between $15 - $25. This can all add up. The "cheapest" contest I entered, my fee was waived because I am a POC (person of color). If you are in the marginalized community and cannot afford the reading fees (a fee to have your manuscript read), make sure you look for contests that are able to wave fees. I used this one time and donated that fee to another press. Other presses don't ask for reading fees either, they simply ask you to donate or buy from their catalog.
Moving one, I gave myself a year before turning to self publishing.
There are pros and cons of self publishing. I'm not going to create a list for you here (not right now). ONE of the benefits, for me at least, is that I can control every aspect of where this book baby will go. At the end of every "the end," I want you (the audience) to be aware. I am all about advocacy - for mamas and babies. Maternal mental health, PMDD/PME, preeclampsia; these are passions of mine and I want to make sure that the person who is reading my story can go, "wow, it's not just me." I don't ever want someone to feel like they're alone in their darkest thoughts and isolating hour.
Once you've settled on this path, you need people to help you. I chose a different editor for this one. I have had 2 other poetry editors in the past. Both have been amazing and I have learned so much from either one of them. I would choose either one of them again, in a heartbeat.
I picked this particular one mostly because she is familiar with and have written about chronic illness and anxiety.
PMDD is not a pretty topic. It is heavy. It is messy. It is a different kind of hard.
And while I'm waiting for the final edits and run through. I am staring at these two I've created below. I use Canva - free and easy to use.
Option 1: to me, sums up what this collection is about. Pieces of me are still in the shadows. Bold font. Simplicity. This isn't a happy topic.
Option 2: is the hope I want you (the reader) to feel after all the heavy. In the darkness, are lights that can scream or whisper safe passage. You are not alone in this journey.
So I'd love to ask the Universe - or whoever you are - a vote on your favorite.
This is a collection I wrote during cycles of happiness, gratitude, rage, anxiety, and depression.This is meant to spread awareness as each high and low points yielded an observation and a note. There is sunshine and darkness. There is PMDD and then there is me.
Just added to Goodreads:
Unveiled: A Poetry Memoir, is a collection of poetry organized into three sections: My Story, My Pain, and My Future. It was written for those that need to release their past, experience their pain, and look forward to their future. It was not written to instill pity or sorrow within you, but to spark the fire in your soul to take action and find the smallest shimmer of hope in your darkest days.
Amazon book link here:
~ My Review ~
A few poems into this story, I had to pause and take an inventory of my parenting. Ivy Cirillo's poetry memoir was haunting read. In so few words, and in poetry - known for lyrical, beauty and escapism - she depicted a tragic upbringing full of tears, trauma, abuse, alcoholism......and this is where my pause came in...neglectful parents.
I don't claim to be a perfect parent - far from it - and my heart cannot tolerate reading and seeing neglect from the child's point of view. I'm heartbroken for her. I want to wrap up this child and let her know she is loved, just as she is. And yes, grown-ups, especially moms, are flawed. But there was no excusing the pain that was inflicted, and the burden of the weight this child must have carried throughout her life.
Although she states that Unveiled "was not written to instill pity or sorrow," I felt sorrow for the length of a heartbeat but felt anger above all. Her mother should have protected her. But this isn't her mother's story. It's hers.
She wrote that she must have been born a writer because "in her darkest hours, she clung to her notebook." Reading through her the first part, "My Story" I'm glad she did just that. She wrote despite of the environment she grew up in....
So yes, don't feel pity or sorrow, but as she wrote hopefully through the third and last part "My Future," be inspired.
One of my faves, the poem
It's hard to find strength
in the pain
that you've endured,
but you have to,
for this I am sure.
I won't tell you
that it will be easy,
but I know for a fact
that it will be worth it.
~Thank you for putting your bravery into words. ~
Reviewer's note: I've never done a half rating but 5/5 is reserved for all my 'rereads.' While I could see a reread in the future.....with this particular book and theme, I would only want to reread the uplifting and encouraging parts. That's not to say I won't revisit the whole thing. Even her poems in the first part "My Story," I felt comforted.
About the Author
Ivy Cirillo is an author, mentor, and speaker. She’s a loving daughter and encouraging sister, and she’s built her brand as a blogger, social media marketer, photographer, and podcaster. She loves collecting antique typewriters, concert tickets, and passport stamps and she’ll never turn down a good barcade. She’ll challenge you to a game of darts and encourage you to pursue your dreams in between rounds. She’s forever wandering, but calls Florida home and she self-published her debut book, Unveiled: A Poetry Memoir, under The Orion Publishing House.
Find and connect with her here:
The witch: supernaturally powerful, inscrutably independent, and now—indestructible. These moving, relatable poems encourage resilience and embolden women to take control of their own stories. Enemies try to judge, oppress, and marginalize her, but the witch doesn’t burn in this one.
I wasn't feeling this one, honestly. I loved her debut, "the princess saves herself in this one," and I was expecting the same level of slow build up into something like a powerful anthem mid-book, but it never got there, for me. This was almost rushed and jotted down thoughts that got turned into a book. I will say there were some poems that I was like, "ahh this one!" but those turned out to be few and far between. I still love her style and zeal but overall, this was a quick disheartening read.
My Rating: 3/5
About the Author
growing up a word-devourer & avid fairy tale lover, it was only natural that amanda lovelace began writing books of her own, & so she did. when she isn't reading or writing, she can be found waiting for pumpkin spice coffee to come back into season & binge-watching gilmore girls. (before you ask: team jess all the way). the lifelong poetess & storyteller currently lives in new jersey with her fiancé, their moody cat, & a combined book collection so large it will soon need its own home. she has her B.A. in english literature with a minor in sociology. the princess saves herself in this one is her debut poetry collection & the first book in the women are some kind of magic series. the second book in the series, the witch doesn't burn in this one, will be published in 2018.
her official website is amandalovelace.com.
you can also find her as ladybookmad on twitter, instagram,
these are the stories of
people i once knew.
they have come and
gone like ghosts in
the night. you might
~ My Review ~
I was so excited to get a signed copy of this book. I’m a huge fan of poet, Gretchen Gomez. I don’t know how many times I've readlove, & you, her debut poetry collection. From what I’ve gathered about this book is that it’s not pretty and it’s not hopeful. Even as I began to read the first few pages, I was thankful that I didn’t wait until the new year to start with this one. My family and I have had a tough year, to say the least, and to end it with this book, I realized my takeaways after reading this collection isn't to leave the past exactly as that; to have it occupy some memory but rather, confront my fears, continue to journal, and be brazen about new beginnings. In other words, stop apologizing for taking space. Own not just the pretty story about grace but what it took to get me here. But this isn't about me in this review, this is about a woman who have been burned several times over and her story of learning how to walk through fire.
When I think of ghost towns, I think “empty,” “ silent,” but walking through feeling every bit like someone or something is taking you in; watching your every move hidden in the darkness.
This collection isn’t what I’d label as “haunting.” It is a brutally honest walk through this shell of our memories and calling out every single skeleton in our proverbial closet and demanding it/them to show themselves out. There are trigger warnings peppered throughout the book, some ghosts have more than others. My hope for Gomez is this: that she found healing, not just strength in writing this brilliant and unapologetic collection.
However you find yourself in the new year, I encourage and recommend that you pick up this poetry collection. We all have our own ghosts and skeletons in the closet, may you finally confront your hidden fears and mistakes, look them in the eye, and challenge them, 'welcome to ghost town.'
My Rating: 5/5
About the Author
Gretchen Gomez is a Puerto Rican poet from The Bronx. When home you will find her watching crime shows, cuddling with her dog, or writing--trying to make sense of things. Gretchen is a full-time lover of words. She is the author of love, and you. She's also working on other collections.
You can find her here:
This is my first endeavor of publishing a book of poems composed by me. I have put a piece of my heart and soul in form of words. Hoping to touch the reader's heart.
~ My Review ~
I read this collection over the summer and felt like it matched the theme of June: promising, carefree, lovely and all things random. But then June turned to July and our family got swept in a whirl of hospital visits, prayers and pouring over Dr. Google. I stopped reading poetry for fun - which is a shame.
The recent news and grief stricken faces on TV, I needed something airy, something wild and fun. I follow Hiya on Instagram and love what she posts, and I remembered that I hadn't gotten around to doing her review. It was a treat to revisit her words of lighthearted musings which brought back beautiful memories of this summer.
This was such a great debut! Well done, Hiya!
My Rating: 4/5
About the Author
Vachaknavi Sarma aka Hiya is an automobile designer by profession. She belongs to a small town of Digboi, in the state of Assam in North Eastern India. She presently lives in Manchester, United Kingdom.
She writes poetry in her spare time. She has been writing for the past 5/6 years. Wild Imagination is her first publication. It is a collection of her very first poems.
cheyenne raine explores the themes of culture, faith, love, and more in a bilingual collection of poetry. lemon acuarelas is soaked in light and things that feel both sweet and sour.
***This collection releases on 9/14.***
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!
Hi there! Here's a quick bio