Author: Andrea Michelle
Truth be told, I have an embarrassingly limited experience with poetry books. I have read a total of three literary collections, if I’m not mistaken. Regardless, I am glad to have picked this one up! While Kalopsia definitely has its fair share of shortcomings, I cannot deny that the poems in this book provoked thought — and I don’t know about you, but anything that provokes thought is always worth reading.
I got this book from Amazon (for free!) mainly because I found the title to be intriguing. According to the book, “kalopsia” is the delusion of things being more beautiful than they really are. True enough, a significant number of the poems revolved around a “her” – what makes “her” perfect, what makes “her” worthy and deserving of love, and other similar praises and expressions of romanticism. In fact, love was a pretty prevalent theme in this book, which unfortunately, generally fell flat in terms of delivery for me. I guess this is primarily due to the abundance of contemporary romantic poetry we are continuously being exposed to. I mean, there are even Twitter accounts (e.g. @PoemsPorn, @Poemsweb) that are dedicated to disseminating poems that deal with all kinds of love. Having said that, it is inevitable for the theme to become somewhat oversaturated to the point that reading anything similar to it begins to feel generic and overused, if that makes any sense. But I digress. Even so, a handful of love poems did manage to imprint a momentary impression on me — some of which I even reread. Here’s my favorite one:
Do not paint me in shades of love
and claim me your masterpiece.
I am not one to be hung on a wall,
chained and imprisoned
by affection and adoration.
You believe me a rose
but you are mistaken.
I am the wind
and I will steal away your beauty
as the wind often does of dandelions.
And when I am done you will feel as a weed.
With a final kiss I will travel on.
I do not want to strip you bare.
Generally, the author’s writing style did not impress me as there was nothing distinctive about it. In my opinion, the verses lacked a cohesive flow and sometimes began to appear as randomly chopped up, fragmented sentences instead of coming together into something more lyrical and better structured. I think that technicality-wise, there is certainly a lot of room for improvement and further editing. When it comes to poetry, I’ve always been a form over substance kind of girl.
Still, there were certainly several, simplistic passages in the book that allowed the author’s voice to really shine through. Most of these passages appeared in the poems that highlighted the journey towards self-actualization. I’d describe them as refreshingly poignant and intensely evocative. Some of my favorite lines include ”It is in that moment where hope is conceived, created instantly as the unrestrained mind makes love to the sensible heart. It is in that moment where I live.” and ”Maybe the world isn’t burning. Maybe the world is just fine. Maybe it’s the people who walk around, delicate as paper, holding matches and destroying their own selves.”
My favorite pieces were the ones that dealt with exploring self-worth and rediscovering one’s identity. I thought them to be very fitting and timely for the intended audience, which is the youth. Moreover, they were the literary works that struck me the most, forcing me to take a momentary respite from reading just to reflect on the author’s sentiments which were eerily similar to mine.
In summary, although I struggled with the structural forms of the poems and (at times) the writing style itself, I still enjoyed reading the collection. I was genuinely moved by the rawness and intensity of the author’s thoughts, musings and sentiments. In fact, I ended up bookmarking fifteen poems from this collection! Having said that, I can definitely see myself picking up another one of Andrea Michelle’s poetry books in the near future.
Excerpt from the book:
She had a very cross look about her.
So, I asked what was wrong.
“Everything. Everything’s wrong.
And it’s the fairytales to blame.
Good beats evil.
Happily ever after.
The world so desperately claims to be
a princess, a knight, a hero.
A good guy.
But I’ve seen inside myself
and I’m none of these things.
But I look at the villains.
The villains who made mistakes
then hated themselves for it.
The villains who know what it’s like
to lose themselves.
The villains who are angry and bitter and desperate,
the results of fractured dreams and slaughtered hopes.
No one bothers with the ‘why?’
They think, ‘They must have been born evil.’
But they weren’t.
And I know.
Because I wasn’t either.”
And we sat there.
Two villains holding hands.