For me, poetry has always been a way of bleeding onto paper. Seeing the raw emotions of the poet, the voice, is what draws me to them in the first place.
I’m even more of a sucker for romantic poetry. Sonnets, villanelles, modern poetry that doesn’t follow any structure; if it’s about love, I’ll read it.
Love is the language of poetry after all.
Invitation to Poetry isn’t filled with love poems, but it does have its fair share. It opens with ‘the kiss’, a short simple poem that captures a feeling of affection; a love poem.
All these poems are quite short, sticking to one page. However, there is a plethora of them. With 64 pages and almost as many poems, I admit to struggling to find a theme throughout each one. However, they all shared the same style, a Rupi Kaur-esque structure of split sentences and missing punctuation.
For anyone who knows me, you will know I absolutely hate Rupi Kaur’s poetry for the simple fact that it doesn’t feel like poetry to me. And whilst I went into this recognising the similarity, this isn’t a review of her work and it would be unfair to judge it on the similarity.
With that being said, let’s move on to the actual review.
First and foremost, I applaud Mihai for their collection. With so many poems included, this plethora of poetry is a clear display of creativity.
Simple poems holding deeper meanings, I found myself feeling a range of emotions over words that were written delicately but raw. Nothing fancy, over-the-top poetic; a language we can understand and imagery we can see clearly in our minds.
Take ‘the sadness of books’, for example; a poem about wandering through a library and leaving without being able to take them all home to read. It personifies the books to have emotions, feelings of sadness that they remain unread on a shelf. It’s a simple concept caught in a short poem, but it places you in the moment, allowing you to feel the sadness of these books.
That’s something seen throughout this collection; simple concepts captured with the right imagery to move you, make you feel how the voice of the poem feels. Or the objects, in the case of ‘the sadness of books’.
‘daily dilemma’ is a poem I particularly loved if not for the concept of love itself, but for the yearning of obtaining it and not knowing how. Again, a simple concept in a short poem but somehow, it captures that feeling of sadness. Captures the hope of receiving an envelope with the love you desire, but the disappointment of realising you have no idea where to receive it. Aside from the concept itself, it was one of the poems where the structure worked well; the sentence breaks and lack of punctuation flowed a lot better than in some of the other poems.
As with every review, there were a few things that I think could have been improved:
I will admit, the structure of the poems did put me off. I understand splitting sentences when needed, but many of these seemed to have been split without any real motive behind it. It did work for some of them, but others felt like they were missing that foundation that holds it together; punctuation, longer lines, something to help it flow.
I saw a conversation on Twitter on the way modern poetry has been “ruined” by Rupi Kaur and this style of writing – that every poet should find their own style and not jump on the bandwagon of what’s popular right now. I will admit, in this instance, I can agree. I could easily see the deeper meaning behind these poems, and I found them a delight to read, but they could have benefitted from a bit more individuality.
As mentioned, I couldn’t really see a theme through this collection. Not all poetry collections need a theme but it helps the poems flow, connect and maybe it is just a subjective insight into poetry books. I like patterns, I like themes. Even if the collection itself was split into themes, grouping similar ones to each other.
I was hesitant to include this next point in case it came across as too subjective, so here’s your warning that it could be a completely subjective criticism and once you read this, you may disagree completely – some poems just seemed “fake deep”. You know what I mean, trying too hard to have some sort of deeper meaning, it can come across as false. I won’t name any poems in particular, but the collection itself was trying to be meaningful. With so many poems, this “fake deep” was inevitable to happen with at least one.
As I’ve said, I found this collection a delight to read and it was different to the usual poetry that I read. Part of the joy of reading is to explore new genres and styles, look at what’s different, what we’re not used to.
Would I recommend this collection?
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