I have read my fair share of nineteenth and twentieth century poetry. I love Emily Dickinson, Langston Hughes, Edgar Allan Poe and Maya Angelou. But with that being said, for whatever reason, it’s just extremely rare that I ever read modern poetry by current authors. Maybe I just don’t want to take the risk. But I made an exception this time after seeing an extraordinary video of the author performing her poem “Explaining My Depression to My Mother.” I immediately came to Amazon to buy the book, and I even paid extra for same-day delivery. Somehow in my rush, I even managed to accidentally order two copies.
I would say that the tone of the book is kind of like a day in the life of a twenty-something millennial. She laments lost loves, the unreliability of her father, and the would-be helpful codependence of her mother.
I don’t know enough about the author to have any sense of how much of the book is autobiographical and how much of it is fiction, but it felt like there was a ring of personal truth in Benaim’s writing. I could personally relate to many of the themes in the book, especially those related to body issues related to eating/weight, as well as anxiety issues. Benaim tackles other difficult topics such as the divorce of her parents and, of course, depression.
One of the first things you might notice is the lack of capitalization and frequent lack of any punctuation whatever. I’m a bit of a grammar stickler, so I wasn’t sure how that was going to work for me, but soon enough I completely forgot about it.
There were a few lines in particular that stood out to me as particularly shattering.
From nature versus nurture:
…when my father tells me i am beautiful,
i always hope it’s because i remind him of my mother.
From follow up a prayer / a spell:
when i look in the mirror i see a reflection
of the gifts i withhold from myself.
Final say: 5/5 stars, and I didn’t even have to think about it. I’m a fan. I’m sure I’ll come back to it many times. The content is good and the poetry itself is sharp. I really enjoyed living in her world for an hour or two, and I’ll buy her next book. And one final thing: I feel like I have to say kudos to whoever made that cover. It’s perfect.
Thanks for reading! If you are so inclined, go pick up my book (available on Kindle or paperback) at Amazon. It’s called “Jamey Jones and the Sons of Noah.” It’s a fun science fiction book about a group of teenagers living on a planet called Kepler 438b. It’s seventy pages long, inexpensive, and it’s kinda good, even if I say so myself.