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Breathe. Breathe.

4.46  ·  Rating details ·  65 ratings  ·  45 reviews
Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It's a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.

In Act One, readers are presented with a serial
Paperback, 176 pages
Published October 10th 2017 by Unnerving (first published September 2017)
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destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
I love a good poetry collection, but I haven't found one in a while that could make me feel as much as Erin's writing did.

Just remember, when the pain rises to the surface, don't forget to breathe.

These poems and short stories are not for the faint of heart. The poetry comes from a very raw place in Erin's history, and you can feel her bleeding on the pages as she writes, but as someone who's been there, too? The catharsis and sisterhood I felt here was powerful. I alternated between
Leo Robertson
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I'm glad to see this book has done so well, and that so many people have started their reviews with "I don't normally read poetry, but..."

I'd agree: I don't normally read poetry either. Wait, that's not true: I'm a Horror Sleaze Trash subscriber, I enjoy Johnny Scarlotti's work, Arthur Graham's, Pyre Publishing's E.Z.P.Zine, and recently picked up Nekorb by Haley Jenkins of Selcouth Station. I guess as a percentage of what I read, however, it's relatively small. (My God I do read a lot don't
The Grim Reader
Oct 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Erin’s debut collection of poetry and fiction should come with a warning. The warning should read something along the lines of “prepare to be emotionally unravelled” because that is exactly what Erin does here. Poetry is outside of my comfort zone as a reader. When I’ve tried it in the past, I’ve often found it to be a little too abstract for my tastes. Like novels, anthologies and short stories, I want writing to strike a chord with me, to make me feel and make me think. This collection does ...more
Jan 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is I think the fourth book of poetry I've read in the last couple of years, and I'm really starting to love it. This collection also has a few short stories in it, and those are all fantastic as well.

This is a visceral and powerful book. The bright cover is in stark contrast to the prose within, and it works wonderfully. The title and concept are also perfect. I went through some health issues that caused me to have panic attacks, and during those instances I would attempt to meditate and
Mike Thorn
Full review from my website.

The speakers in Breathe. Breathe.'spoems often toe the line between colloquial, conversational vernacular and cryptic, imagery-laden verse. Even during moments of abstraction, though, the poetry is above all else intimate and real, unafraid to state its meanings outright. Consider, for instance, the closing line in "Funhouse of Madness," which confronts the reader with a direct question: "... but dread is an affliction, isn't it?" To this reader, the line is exemplary
Kenneth McKinley
Dec 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Sometimes, I feel like I need to go outside my comfort zone with my reading and expand my horizons. Sometimes, I'll pick up a historical non-fiction offering or begrudgingly open a classic that I resisted in my high school literature class. Most of the time, I can appreciate the different prose than what I normally gravitate towards. Such is the case with Breathe. Breathe. I tend to read poetry in a sing-song lyrical way. I don't know if that's how you're supposed to read it, but I've never ...more
Steve Stred
Sep 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing
**Edited as my review was posted!**

Breathe. Breathe. By Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi is my first go around with Erin’s written word. I have had the pleasure of getting to know Erin a little bit through various social media platforms. I have seen the numerous editing projects and marketing projects she has on the go, so when I discovered she had a fiction collection out, I was intrigued.

Now – to get this right out front – I typically don’t read a ton of poetry. I write a little bit of poetry and in high
Joseph VanBuren
Oct 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
In the foreword to this book, Brian Kirk admits that he doesn't understand most poetry. I tend to agree, despite being a poet myself, that poetry can sometimes be too personal or abstract to make a connection with a lot of readers. And then there is Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi's work in Breathe Breathe: the kind of poetry that is deeply personal yet universally resonant of the pain and darkness that we all encounter in our most difficult times. Her precise imagery adds a sense of beauty to those ...more
Somer Canon
Oct 11, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is a collection of deeply felt poems that expertly broadcast true pain and fear to the reader. Even if you typically aren't a fan of poetry, you're doing yourself a massive disservice if you don't read this.
Jan 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have to admit that I do enjoy poetry but I have to be in the mood for it. Often, I find that I need to read a poem a few times to have an understanding of the author's intended point. Usually, there is an abstract theme and the poem can have multiple meanings or each reader has a very different view of said poem.
Erin's collection is a refreshing change. Most of the poems have a theme of darkness and pain (except one) and she has a way of stripping away the layers of human feelings to show how
Red Lace Reviews
Poetry and short fiction that doesn't apologise for what it is - equal parts painful and passionate. Exploring loss, agony, misery and a slew of other hardships, this volume possesses a variety of darkness.

(WARNING: This review contains minor spoilers.)

I received this book in exchange for an honest review. I thankErin Sweet Al-Mehairi for giving me the opportunity.

I often cringe when getting a taste of poetry, not because I necessarily dislike it, but because, like Brian Kirk confessed in the
Tim Meyer
Oct 20, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Wow. This collection really leaves bruises on the soul. I'm not a huge fan of poetry, yet, I found myself glued to the words and emotions pouring out of this author. The short stories were great too. My favorite was "Lunch Served at Noon", as it had a Twilight Zone-ish quality to it. To fans of dark literary fiction and poetry, I recommend giving Breathe. Breathe. a try.
The Scary Reviews
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
I read the chapbook version which is a slightly shorter version of this expanded edition of Breathe. Breathe. I also had the pleasure of reading a handful of poems two years ago while featuring Erin's work on my blog. Now with this collection I got to enjoy a full collection of poems along with short stories that really take a look at the dark places we all fear. I loved the stories and one of my favorites was 'Dandelion Yellow', where in a strange world a girl can't find any yellow crayons. ...more
Aug 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
"There's solitude / but no peace."

I haven't finished a poetry collection in quite a while, and Breathe Breathe was perfect for getting myself reacquainted. Erin's writing is easy to read, which was important for me. The hardest part of reading poetry for me is not understanding what's going on, but Erin expresses herself well & is upfront about what she's trying to say.

This is a collection of both poetry & short stories, and there are three separate portions of the book - poems about
Apr 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"Sight unseen,
the end of a tentacle,
near and brushing by.
an explanation,
surprise foe,
-"Abandoned," Breathe. Breathe. by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

Though “Abandoned” is only four poems into Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi’s collection, ‘Breathe. Breathe.’ this is the exact point where she hooked me. Though the typical book on my nightstand is either a novel or short story collection, I read enough poetry to discern that Sweet Al-Mehairi’s work was something special, indeed
Nada Sobhi
Breathe. Breathe. by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi is a collection of dark, fantastical and realistic, beautifully-written, highly visual poems and short stories. It exudes a darkness that readers can both visualise and enjoy reading over and over.

"Night Stalked" is a 10-star poem that had my heart racing throughout. Damn!

It is followed by "The Lure of a Witch", which breaks free from the horror of the previous poem to act as a kind of relief. But don't get used to the relief in this collection.

Lilyn G. | Sci-Fi & Scary | "Empathy" - Look it up.
I don't read much poetry. I like it well enough, but I'm also extremely picky about what I like. I'm soothed by the cadence and rhythm of the words. I love the experience of reading out-loud a well-crafted poem, where speaking it correctly is a performance in itself.

And then... there's poetry that doesn't rhyme. Mostly that just bothers me. Some of it I like, but it's never sent me into the peaceful place that the more structured, traditional stuff often does. So, I realized within pages that
Yolanda Sfetsos
After hearing a lot of great things about this collection on Twitter, I decided to pick up a copy for my Paperwhite. And I'm glad I did, because it truly is wonderfully dark.

I love that this collection has such a bright cover, yet holds so much darkness within its pages. There's a lot of horror, violence and fear trapped inside this book, but also plenty of hope.

The book is broken into three sections:

Act One - Breathe Through: FEAR is full of macabre and wicked poems that filled my mind with
Stephanie Jane (Literary Flits)
See more of my book reviews on my blog, Literary Flits

Breathe Breathe isn't a particularly long book - it's only about 175 pages - and I sat down expecting to read it within a few hours. However it actually took me over a week of dipping into the poems and stories in order to be able to finish it. Don't be mistaken in thinking I didn't enjoy the read. I did! (Although perhaps 'enjoy' isn't the best word to choose.) I found the intense emotion difficult to sustain so, instead of my usual
 Reading Divergence
Review: BREATHE, BREATHE by Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

This single author collection, containing both dark poetry and several dark short stories, takes as its theme breath: the need, both physical and psychological, to breathe, to exist, to endure, through fear, through pain, through trauma, adversity, dark memories. Many of the characters here experience trouble breathing, through trauma, injury, depression, grief--or death. I am certain many readers {and not only female} will find themselves
Oct 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What a collection. Heavy. Dark. Beautiful. Vibrant. While I’ve never been personally touched by the theme of abuse that runs throughout these pages, the horror wasn’t lost on me. I want nothing more than to protect my loved ones from such experiences (despite feeling helpless in the knowledge that I can’t protect them 24 hours a day from the world’s evils). This book, for me, is a good reminder of the value of compassion, because I never know what hells others have had to live through.
MJ miranda_c_rites
Review coming soon.
Dona Fox
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm still awestruck. By turns mesmerizing then harrowing, I fell under this author’s spell. Addicted, I read it twice so far.
Sonora Taylor
Sep 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
A great collection of horror. While the short stories were overall strong - my favorite was Woodpeckers - the poetry stands out the most.
Catherine Cavendish
Oct 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing
At times sinister, definitely dark, atmospheric and heavy with foreboding, this collection of poetry and short stories from Erin Sweet Al Mehairi touches our deepest fears. Murder, domestic violence and even an ancient Egyptian goddess all move within these pages where nothing is ever simple or straightforward. I admire the author’s ability to challenge and explore the facets of life that remain so often hidden. In doing so, she causes the reader to feel the pain of the subject’s suffering but ...more
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Reading Breathe. Breathe. was a great way to start the new year. This is a memorable collection of both poetry and short fiction. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m a newbie when it comes to reading poetry; I’ve only read maybe 3 or 4 collections of poems in the past year, and I always feel a bit shaky and ignorant when it comes time to write the review. Sometimes I think maybe I’m missing the interpretation, as I’ve found myself enjoying many poems but feeling less affected by them than I do with ...more
Lesley Ann Campbell
Feb 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Breathe. Breathe.
Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi

First of all, many thanks to the author, Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi, for a copy of this wonderful collection to read in exchange for review. I always relish the chance to read some poetry, I don’t get the chance as often as I’d like to. I wholeheartedly am grateful for receiving this to read. It was inspiring, truly. I have just ordered myself a hard copy too, this is one which deserves a place on my shelf of re-reads.

I found myself captivated with this book from
Oct 10, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Do you ever hear a song and think, “It’s songs like these that make me want to learn guitar (or other instrument of choice)?” I hear songs that impress me so much, I just wish I could express my own feelings using that particular instrument (basically anything by Days of the New makes me want to learn acoustic guitar).

Pretty much the entire time I was reading “Breathe. Breathe.” I found myself thinking, “It’s writing like this that makes me want to write poetry.” And I mean that as a great
Apr 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
As I sit here, I’m contemplating what to write. Erin’s words were deeply moving. As I read, I posted a few comments on Twitter. We don’t know each other, but maybe she’d respond?

It began with my initial reaction to her book. Her words were pleading. Each poem was a cry for help. My heart hurt. My soul was bleeding. She was glad I was able to grasp her pain.

I then commented on the short story, The Madness of the Woodpecker. The ending was an amazing twist. I did not see that coming. She told me
Michelle Stockard Miller (True Book Addict)
This fantastic book is a collection of poems and tales of abuse and horror, told so brilliantly only by someone who has firsthand experience. Get ready to feel every range of emotion while reading. From fear to intense anxiety to shock, and even a bit of laughter. This book will touch your soul.

The author touches on the all to prevalent issue of domestic violence. Gut wrenching horror and sorrow to read such powerful narratives of these experiences. She also visits our most deeply seated fears,
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