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Deeper Water

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A sampling of 31 freeform poems released in honor of Poetry Month. This continuation to her first book delves deeper into the mind of Miss Unsocial Butterfly, Juliana Mae, with a common theme of heartbreak and fear of it. A full book, called In Deeper Water, will be released later this year.

79 pages, ebook

Published March 1, 2016

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About the author

Juliana Mae

5 books54 followers
Juliana Mae has self-published three books, In the Heart of an Unsocial Butterfly, The Way He Looks at Me, and Patton Pending. She's been published in J-14 Magazine, written for school newspapers, reviewed books for Miss Literati, and one of her poems was published in a book called Stars in Our Hearts.
I love giving and receiving books in exchange for reviews! If you're interested in one of my books, or you think I'd be interested in yours, send me an email at jewelsk96@yahoo.com . :)

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Mike.
489 reviews171 followers
November 9, 2017
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the contents of this review.

One of the first phrases that comes to mind when I read Mae's poetry is 'middle school diary poetry'. I hear it used a lot to criticize bad poetry and lyrics, particularly Taylor Swift's early music. What it refers to is sappy, angsty poetry, usually about unrequited love, that sounds like a middle schooler wrote it. Because I almost never find myself reviewing poetry or pop lyrics, I've never had much reason to consider the phrase. But reading Juliana Mae's poems made me think about it a little more. And when I was about halfway through this book, I realized that the way a lot of people use the phrase is kinda misogynistic. I hadn't noticed this before, but almost everything accused of being middle school diary poetry is written by women. And sometimes, the phrase is used to refer to poetry that's cliche-ridden and immature. But often, it's used to refer to any poetry written by younger women and girls about unrequited love, regardless of its quality. There is no good counterpart to middle school diary poetry - to the people who use this phrase, whether they realize it or not, they don't see any potential for value in younger women and girls writing about unrequited love (and similar topics). Even if they have original or insightful thoughts on these topics, even if they use innovative techniques, even if they're expressing something honest and heartfelt.

I bring this up because I think Juliana Mae's poetry qualifies as middle school diary poetry, and I don't hate it. In fact, I liked most of the poems in here. Mae's poetry is honest, heartfelt, and at times, insightful. She herself is nineteen, so she and I are almost the same age. Because of that, I feel connected to the ideas Mae expresses and the techniques she uses, in a way that I rarely experience. I read so many adults from a generation or two before me writing about teenagers, I forget sometimes what it's like when actual teenagers write about what it's like to be one.

A significant number of the poems in this book are about unrequited love - I didn't keep count, but if I were to guess, I'd say at least half. Yet it never felt overbearing to me, because Mae is so careful to avoid repeating herself. These poems do tend to be the places where the most cliches come out - My Paper Heart and Guitar Strings both focused on overused metaphors, and it was a shame they came right next to each other. But there were plenty of good poems to make up for them. I loved Sore Subject - it does an excellent job of capturing the sadness, almost the panic, that one feels in the middle of a crisis. Messing Me was another excellent one. It focuses on a narrative, an unusual choice for love poems, and it slowly and subtly builds up the longing the poem's narrator feels. Habits wasn't quite as strong, but it still illustrates something relatable to me, the feelings one might go through when they feel like they're at their worst, and that nothing good can ever happen to them. And my favorite poem here, Greatness, not just captures the pain of wanting to be with someone who's absent from your life, but also the feeling of being trapped in the life that you're living, powerless because of the sheer lack of options. All of this had the potential to be cheesy, but the relative lack of cliches, the fact that Mae works to find original angles from which to approach these topics, and her overall sincerity make them feel honest and relatable.

And those are just the poems that are about unrequited love. There are plenty of other topics in these poems. Hangover is about a bad night drinking, and it's surprisingly vivid in its imagery. It really does put you in the moment Mae is describing. Princess starts out with a somewhat cliched image about fantastical longing, but Mae is self-aware enough to pull off without being too cheesy. Makeup is an excellent choice to open the book - it has an excellent twist ending, and it exemplifies Mae's great insight into everyday situations. Yes, there are some weaker poems - A Love Letter to Poetry was too predictable to capture the passion Mae writes about, and Suppression is too vague to have much impact. But these poems are in the minority; there are lots of strong poems that I haven't even gotten a chance to mention here.

If I'm being honest, I have no idea if this will have any value to anyone much older than the author. I'm only seventeen - I'm not exactly in a position of expertise to be judging whether or not something is mature. And there are a couple of weaker poems here. But for the most part, these poems are really good. Mae's writing is honest and original. I don't generally like poetry that much, but I could make an exception to read more of Mae's work. And I strongly recommend this book to anyone in their teen years, and perhaps a little older. It's significant that this is firmly a product of my generation, and I hope others appreciate it the way I do.

This review can also be found on my blog.
7 reviews
October 31, 2016
A week ago, I got this e-book and I LOVE it. Usually, I am not a fan of reading; however, this e-book was very interesting and easy to read. It is written in a simple way, easy to understand, freestyle poems. The freestyle poems are covering a wide range of figurative language—such as personification, imagery, metaphor, and many others. The pages have the dates of when the poems were written—the e-book is almost acting as a Juliana Mae’s diaries—it contains her feelings, world perceptions, and romance. My two favorite poems are called “Makeup” and “My Paper Heart.” One of the stanza for “My Paper Hear” is “I gave you my heart on a folded up piece of paper. It slipped from messenger to messenger, from hand to hand. My heart traveled around on a piece of paper.” Although, I am not a fan of reading, I am very thankful that I actually read this book; it changed some of my perspective in life. In my opinion, the poem “Makeup” is very similar to Facebook, where one is hiding his/her “nakedness.” In addition, the poem emphasized that one can have “scars” in life that might have weakened your inner personality, but was able to cope by wearing “makeup.” In the subject of Facebook, these scars may be bullying that have weakened one’s confidence. Some stanzas from this poem are “It is such a socially acceptable thing that people don't understand why I don't use it, too. A modern tool, at the tip of my hand, and I neglect it. I've seen how it enhances insecurities, and it makes you depend upon it. Not me. I refuse to clown it up to please you, man. You loose sight of your God-given beauty. I choose to bear myself there are no lies smudged around my eyes.” I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this book to everyone—from the youngsters to the adults—as it is written in a simple manner and have deep meanings. This is a great book; I can’t wait until the whole book (In Deeper Water) is published.

I found the author's website, which has an introduction and more information about this "piece of art."

1 review
November 3, 2016
Disclaimer: I received a free ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book or the contents of this review.

I don't often read poetry, much less review it, so this is a new experience for me.

Considering I don't read poetry a lot, I thought this book was easy to read and appreciate. The freestyle poems were good at employing certain literary aspects that made the whole book seem pretty polished. I liked the way the poems were very expressive and honest, even when they dealt with personal subject matter. "My Paper Heart" was one such poem, and sounded like it could be some kind of song as well.

Overall, I enjoyed the book, and I am glad I had the opportunity to read it.
Profile Image for Shelby Leigh.
Author 6 books189 followers
January 17, 2017
This is a beautiful and thought-provoking collection of poetry. I could relate to a lot of these poems, and the ones that I couldn't relate to I still found very interesting and unique.
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