In my review of Crimes of the Heart I took a potshot at Poetry as a genre, mostly because it has had a high barrier of entry to me in the past (graphic novels/comics has been my other major hurdle) but in fairness I have gotten better at finding poetry that works for me in at least part due to all the reading challenges I do that require poetry. In 2018 I read two collections I quite enjoyed, No Matter the Wreckage and Depression & Other Magic Tricks. I’m happy to add Amanda Lovelace’s The Princess Saves Herself in This One to the list of contemporary poetry collections that really work for me.
Lovelace’s work shares being subject driven with Kay’s No Matter the Wreckage, this is Lovelace’s personal history writ large in a slim volume. It is also quite like Benaim’s Depression & Other Magic Tricks I felt seen, I felt that the person writing these poems experienced the world in a way recognizable to me. I’m finding that poetry that shows the author processing themselves and putting what they find back out into the universe so we can know that we aren’t alone is the stuff that really works for me.
The biggest things structurally that work for me in her work is the way she plays with mechanics. Like Katsings said in her review, Lovelace’s work is sometimes reminiscent of e .e. cummings, another favorite of mine. The writing is often sparse, but in a beautiful way that helps you sink into your own mental reactions. There were so many lines and phrases that I loved as I went through that I had trouble keeping track to decide which to include. This collection also contains my favorite poem that I’ve found in the wild over the past couple years and I had no idea. This book and I were meant to cross paths.