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Where I Ache

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Where I Ache is broken up into six chapters ranging from themes such as depression, jealousy, death, and strength. These are delicate subjects to talk about and most people avoid them because of the uncomfortable vulnerability. I’ve always written and shared my poetry with the hope that readers would relate and feel less alone. I hope you feel a sense of community to all of those connected throughout this collection.


Published June 10, 2019

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About the author

Megan O'Keeffe

6 books16 followers
Megan's sophomore collection Where I Ache out June 10th!! Megan OKeeffe is an up and coming poet with her debut collection Cracked Open. She has been writing poetry for over a decade before publishing her work on her blog Debatably Dateable. A romantic at heart, Megan can’t help but draw inspiration from the love and relationships around her. Always developing her art though, Megan touches on mental illnesses, self love, and life’s journey. When she isn’t writing, Megan can be found spending time with her dog and two sisters.

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Displaying 1 - 21 of 21 reviews
Profile Image for Shirley.
860 reviews194 followers
June 19, 2019
Original review

This book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you Megan O’Keeffe!

Can you lay with me here
until I start feeling like myself again?

Where I Ache is a poetry collection about depression, jealousy, death, and strength. This collection has six chapters: My Foggy Head, My Weak Spine, My Bruised Heart, My Grieving Knees, My Greedy Green Eyes and My Soothing Arms.

One would think I’m addicted to my own pain
with the way I break my own heart.

Where I Ache is the first poetry collection I’ve read by Megan O’Keeffe. I liked the little illustrations in this collection and some of the poems were really relatable!

Favourite poems:
Lay With Me
Never Meant to be Mine
Battle Day
A Night in the Darkness Wears on You Like a Lifetime
The Enemy
It’s (NOT) That Easy
Everything You are Makes You Perfectly You
History Says I’ll End Us
Stop Asking Me How I’m Doing
Profile Image for thelibraryofalexandra.
529 reviews28 followers
June 23, 2019
3.5 stars.


I love reading poetry.

I think that’s a fact that just about everyone who follows me knows by now.

I especially love discovering poetry that I’ve never before seen or read, and in the case of today’s review, this was the case.

In the most broadest sense, Where I Ache by Megan O’Keefe is a poetry collection focusing on the self. It is a self-journey through the ups and downs of life, of insecurities, of love, of loss. My initial thoughts whilst reading this collection was that the author’s poetry touches on universal feelings wherein every single person who reads this book will find a poem, a chapter, that touches their soul and heals their heart.

As with my poetry reviews, I will just do an overall review and then briefly focus on aspects or poems that I really enjoyed or, on the other hand, didn’t quite connect to.

Where I Ache was divided into six sections that worked to themes and enabled a flow between the different sections. For instance, you have chapters that explore love, jealousy, greed and mourning. In terms of this, I thoroughly enjoy when poetry collections are ‘structured’ in such a way, it reads like a journey which I think adds to the overall reading experience. Also, the title of each section was so beautiful, as it hinted at the overall ‘feel’ of the poems that would be within the chapter itself. The titles of each chapter are:

My Foggy Head
My Weak Spine
My Bruised Heart
My Grieving Knees
My Greedy Green Eyes
My Soothing Arms
Gosh, how beautiful.

Before I write anymore though, I do want to say that if you are triggered by words exploring/describing body issues, abuse and depression, please be careful if you are to pick up this collection as it does touch upon those issues throughout.

In terms of the poems themselves, I did enjoy reading them. They offered an insight into the human experience, they were easily understood and easily able to relate to. I did, however, find that some of the poems felt lacklustre in the sense that the power behind the words fell flat. The metaphorical use of language within these poems that I felt were not as powerful as others within the collection, was also quite simple in the sense that it felt quite juvenile.

This kind of ties in with my other ‘issue’, if we are to call it that; the structure of some of the poems themselves. One of the reasons for my love of modern poetry is the way in which it transforms what ‘traditional’ poetry is – mostly in the way the poetry is written. You can have a poem that is but a one sentence poem, or a few sentences, it doesn’t have to rhyme but it does have to tell a story in verse. O’Keefe goes back and forth between this type of ‘modern’ poetic form and the traditional form. Which is not bad at all, but when it occurred within the same poem, it had me confused as well as disrupting my flow of the overall story within the poem.

So although I would rate this poetry collection a 3 out of 5 stars, I recommend it to others who need a hand to hold, who need to see that what they are going through is not something that you have to deal with by yourself, that there are others who feel and have felt the same way. Reading poetry is a deeply personal and intimate experience, so this review is legitimately just my own thoughts and feelings as poetry is about interpretation and how you feel when you read it. I will have to say here, that I love to read poetry that also makes me proud of my progress – that also showcases the healing aspect of the self-journey, which this collection does not necessarily focus on. It is more about those feelings, those insecurities, without the light at the end of the tunnel. Personally, I think I mentioned that if I read this a few years ago I would be sobbing because finally someone else has articulated what I was feeling; but currently, I need to see the light at the end of the tunnel. I need to know that I can survivie and I will survive – and that source of empowerment is something that I find precious within poetry collections.
Profile Image for Rebecca L..
Author 4 books42 followers
June 28, 2019
Read this review, along with an author interview, on my blog at BeckieWrites.com !

Where I Ache is the second poetry collection by Megan O'Keefe. I love poetry and I particularly enjoy reading indie books, so I was very interested in this collection. I received an e-mail from this author asking if I would be interested in reviewing her book in exchange for a free copy. I was pleased for the opportunity. 

I'm embarrassed to admit how long it took me to write a review for this book. It was very difficult for me to read this collection because of all the challenging issues that O'Keefe explores in her writing. I am a very empathetic person and many of O'Keefe's poems were incredibly heartbreaking for me to read. Her writing reminded me of another poetry collection that I enjoyed, Depression and Other Magic Tricks, by Sabrina Benaim. O'Keefe's writing is not for the faint of heart. Trigger warnings abound. The pieces explore serious issues such as depression, body dysmorphia, death, grief, addiction, and abuse. 

One of my favorite aspects of this book was the clever way in which it was organized. The author divides the book into six sections: My Foggy Head, My Weak Spine, My Bruised Heart, My Grieving Knees, My Greedy Green Eyes, and My Soothing Arms. This provides the work with structure and emphasizes the book's narrative journey toward finding strength within oneself. 

I recommend Where I Ache for fans of free verse. If you like Rupi Kaur and Sabrina Haim, there is a good chance you will find comfort within the pages of O'Keefe's Where I Ache. 
Profile Image for DeAnne.
652 reviews15 followers
May 11, 2019
*I was provided a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Please check out my more in depth review for this (going up 5/13) and more on my blog: The Wandering Wordsmith

Though my history with modern poetry is rocky, I have really been enjoying the hard hitting collections this year, so I was delighted when Megan reached out to me and asked if I would review her poetry collection. She described it as a poetry collection broken up into 6 chapters ranging from themes such as depression, jealousy, grief, and strength and it was certainly that. Each chapter had a different feel and theme to it, but the transition and flow of the collection was really paced well and a natural progression.

Trigger warnings for this collection include what she mentioned above as well as insecurities/self esteem issues and there were some references to abuse. At some points it was like reading someone's diaries as they were going through sometimes joyful, sometimes more traumatic events. I think the underlying theme to all of it was strength and survival through it all.

This was a great exploration of poetry and there were some truly beautiful moments in her poems. Did every poem call to something in me? No, but that's as it should be. I've always felt that poetry is something that can speak to the soul, but is different for every person and in saying that I think different people will definitely get different things out of this collection.
Profile Image for Victoria Ray.
Author 9 books99 followers
May 23, 2019
"Where I Ache" is a poetry collection that encompasses heartbreak, depression, growth, and finding love. At least for me...
Writing style: more romantic than dark.

Consist from 6 parts (very creative):
- foggy head
- weak spine
- bruised heart
- grieving knees
- greedy eyes
- soothing arms

Target: female
Focuses on: personal transformation, grief, love, poetical self-help

The author shares her own perspective on love, loss, and emotion in poetry (life). Almost each poem creates* a safe space where women can rest their weary hearts (minds) and focus on the future. We all need uplifting reminders to keep us going and make us feel like we’re not alone, right? The book "Where I Ache" is a kind of a manual for that...

- make you think, cry, move on
- easy to relate

- repetitions,
- too romantic

Personal likes - poems:
"Don't sugar coat this for me"
"No one cries for the sinners"
"This muffed voice"
Profile Image for Kristina (Books-and-dachshunds).
126 reviews63 followers
June 9, 2019
** Disclaimer: I did received a copy of this book from the author for review purpose. This has in no way, shape or form affected my opinion on it **

Full review on my blog!

Poetry around mental health will always be a soft-spot for me; as it does help. I was one to enjoy seeing how I was feeling portrayed, mostly in books. But while being someone who went through it, I am also the girlfriend of someone who’s currently suffering with it. So the little hopefuls and cheerfuls ones sometimes felt like little reminders of things I shall not forget for my own recovery, and sometimes feeling like ones I could read to my boyfriend like “My greatest love song”; bringing support, love and hope for a future.
Profile Image for Didi Oviatt.
Author 28 books191 followers
June 1, 2019
Talk about touching on the kind of vulnerability level that everyone has, but few have the courage to speak out about. When I was contacted by the author after writing a review for Milk and Honey, I was a little reluctant to read it. I mean, Rupi really set the bar high! But now that I have, I can seriously say, "move aside Rupi, because Megan O'Keeffe is here to give you a run for your money."

This isn't the kind of poetry book you should read if you're looking for a laugh or upliftment, which is actually my favorite kind of poetry, so to give a depressing sort such a good review really says a lot about the writing style. With intricate lines, and intimate detail, Megan leads us through an emotional roller coaster of a journey filled with love, self-doubt, desperation, the grief of losing a loved one, and self-reconciliation. The words are written with the sort of emotion that bleeds through and is felt on a real and relatable place of solace.

For anyone looking for someone to relate to their own struggle with self confidence and self worth, or who has suffered an unexpected loss and struggling to cope... READ THIS BOOK. Warning: there are triggers, so pay attention to the trigger warning page at the beginning of the book before diving in.
Profile Image for A..
Author 1 book7 followers
December 7, 2020
First of all, I would like to thank Megan O'Keeffe for sending me an ARC of her poetry collection Where I Ache to read and review! I am quite late in giving my review, due to busyness in my work life, and so I do apologize for that. But I am here now and I am very happy to share my thoughts on O'Keeffe's collection. I believe this is her second poetry collection, and I am looking forward to seeing her hone her craft.

That said, I did have some issues with this collection, and there are many places where O'Keeffe can improve.

Before I go into the issues, I would like to point out the good parts of O'Keeffe's poetry.

I love that this whole collection is basically introspection. I think it is this description of self-awareness and introspection that does and will allow readers to really connect with her words. Personally, I have found many of my own feelings in O'Keeffe's lines of poetry.

O'Keeffe writes in a very straightforward manner, which, while not really my style, is very accessible to those who are either unfamiliar with poetry, or who just don't get it. She states her meaning plainly and doesn't disguise anything.

Another thing that O'Keeffe writes very clearly is her social commentary. It's done in an observer's, an experiencer's, perspective, and I think that's why it works so well for this genre. It's not hidden, though still leaves room for readers to interpret.

Unfortunately, for me, these positive aspects of Where I Ache do not overpower the negative aspects.

Overall, O'Keeffe's writing style is very juvenile, and it is reminiscent of the style used by poets like Rupi Kaur and Amanda Lovelace. There is no real craft involved in terms of the verses (I don't even know if I could call them verses), and O'Keeffe relies a lot on emotion to make these verses poetic.
There are certain poems in which she begins to have a rhyming scheme, but doesn't stick to it and abandons it halfway through the poem. I understand that this was done for emphasis, but it feels more as if the rhymes are there just to be there, rather than for any other poetic purpose.

The structure and format of the collection is also somewhat juvenile, in that O'Keeffe doesn't use spacing for emphasis like many more mature poets use. Instead she actually bolds or italicizes the words, which, while very straightforward, doesn't leave much for the reader's brain to do or focus on.
Altogether, the structure feels very much like reading a teenager's diary.

Overall, I think that O'Keeffe has a lot of potential as a poet and a writer, but she needs to work on her craft a bit more, maybe go a bit out of the box next time.

My many issues with this collection aside, here are the poems from this collection that I thought stood out more than the rest in terms of a more mature composition:

"Please Don't Sugar Coat this for Me"
"No Evil"
"The Mind's Maze"
"Bright As Stars"
"It's All Wrong"
"No One Cries for the Sinners"

O'Keeffe is not a poet that I would call a "wordsmith," and while her craft is still very simple, I know that readers are loving and will love this collection for its simplicity and accessibility, as well as for its relatability regarding introspection and mental health.
Profile Image for Sylvia.
528 reviews46 followers
June 7, 2019
Where I Ache is a collection of poems that focus on difficult themes such as depression, death, vulnerability, and personal power. Illustrations accompany many of the poems as well, adding to the various themes.

Review: **I was provided a digital copy by the author in exchange for an honest review**

I’m always fascinated by the ways poetry changes throughout the years, and something I love about today’s poetry is just how straight-forward and powerful it is. Megan O’Keefe’s poetry is powerful, beautiful, and full of emotion. Her writing continues to elevate this generation of poetry.

With six unique sections and a variety of poems, Where I Ache is able to immediate grasp the reader’s attention, and hold it for the duration of the book. Despite being someone who struggles to remain focused with poetry, I found myself unable to stop reading O’Keefe’s writing, and even found myself re-reading certain poems – something that almost never happens.

I found myself especially drawn to the shorter poems, as I felt they held more depth and meaning with fewer words. The long poems were still beautiful and well-written with great care and heart, but the shorter ones were what I found myself drawn to while reading the book.

No matter how someone is feeling, they can find something to relate to in Where I Ache. I actually found myself on the brink of tears while reading a few of the poems, which is something that rarely happens to me. O’Keefe’s writing has a way of digging itself into your heart and making you aware of the feelings and thoughts that you had managed to bury and trick yourself into forgetting. Yet despite feeling like I had re-opened some forgotten wounds, I felt much less alone after reading the poems. I think I was so emotional because it felt like someone finally understood my own thoughts, feelings, and experiences.

While not all the poems hit home for me, they certainly will connect deeply with someone else. The writing is simplistic, yet wonderful, and there is definitely something in this collection of poetry for everyone.

"I know you try to fade into the background.

Try to keep the sea of people around you

From detecting any ripples in the water

I know you don’t like hearing

how special you are to me.

But you are so special.

You put so much good light

into the world around you.

There is no one else like you

and I am so lucky to have you in my life."
Profile Image for Lauren Hancock.
Author 1 book3 followers
November 23, 2019
I found Megan O’Keeffe’s poetry collection Where I Ache a moving and relatable read which I enjoyed immensely. Arranged into six sections labelled as “My Foggy Head”, “My Weak Spine”, “My Bruised Heart”, “My Grieving Knees”, “My Greedy Green Eyes”, and “My Soothing Arms”, Megan explores the self and her world in terms of mental health, addiction, love, acceptance, loss and death in beautiful and poignant poems and phrasings, as well as moments of boldness and firm articulations. Her sparing use of italics and bold font allow certain points to be felt stronger or driven home for the reader. I found the use of these elements were well employed and added to the reading experience. I also enjoyed viewing the accompanying images by Kevin Furey, as I feel that it’s nice to have a visual attached to poems at times.

I found myself able to identify and relate to many of the themes and poems Megan has written about, and could feel her pain, suffering, joy, and love bounce forth to me from the pages. Her sense of aching is there to be seen, and her open vulnerability to the readers is very touching. It’s something I also found humbling, that I was being allowed into her private world, an open door for me to enter. With a raw and honest style, she quietly and beautifully details her inner strengths as well as what she views as her inner demons.

Her poetry touched me on many levels, in that I felt an affinity towards the topics and feeling she has detailed, as I have experienced similar myself. I draw attention to the poem “Hey You”, where she is striving to be enough for another – “Am I good enough for you now?” repeated over and over, really touched me; it’s something that hit home with me. So too did this line in “Fragile” – “I don’t handle criticism well and I handle compliments even worse”. Additionally, I adored the visual of her line in “No Quick Fix”: “flaws and flowers, a garden growing in my heart, I want to bloom for you”.

Megan’s work emphasises that no matter whether there are dark or painful times, there is still hope and love in life to be able to carry on seeking and experiencing. That change is not something to shy away from, and learning from the past will carry us through.
Profile Image for Beth.
295 reviews40 followers
June 8, 2019
Firstly, in the interest of full disclosure, I was kindly sent a free digital ARC of this collection by the author, in exchange for an honest review. but all the thoughts and feelings that I will discuss in this this review are 100% my own, true thoughts towards the book,

I was really surprised by how much I liked this collection! If you follow my reviews at all the you will know that I really don’t read a whole lot of poetry. It just isn’t something that I often find myself reaching for. But this year I have been making a really conscious effort to try and branch out and be more experimental with my reading choices. And it really paid off. I loved this collection.

Where I Ache is a beautifully written collection of poetry. Each poem in this book really made you feel what the author was feeling. I could feel her pain and sorrow, her love and heartbreak. I can’t remember the last time a poetry collection made me feel so much. There was just so much emotion in every line of every poem. I bookmarked so many while reading it, because of how much they moved me. I was stunned by how many of the poems really stood out to me. I just related to so many of them, in so many different ways. I fully expected this book to just be another Milk And Honey, but for me personally, it was much better. The explorations of depression, grief and self-loathing really struck a chord with me, in a way that no other collection has before. I could see so much of myself in O’Keeffe’s writing.

All in all, I think that this is a truly brilliant collection of poetry. I flew through it. I am so glad that I decided to give this book a go.

4.5 out of 5
Profile Image for Steph Warren.
1,261 reviews21 followers
September 9, 2019
*I received a free copy of this book, with thanks to the author. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*

Where I Ache is a sizeable volume of poetry, split into six parts labelled with parts of the body that allude to their thematic emotional link. For example, the ‘Greedy Green Eyes’ section covers jealousy and longing in many of its poems.

In an easy-to-read, accessible writing style, Megan O’Keeffe presents poetry that anyone who has ever loved, longed for or lost can identify with. The majority of the poems are short – between one and three verses for the most part – but the emotions covered are huge and all-encompassing.

Sections one to five explore the struggles and pain of relationships (with others and with oneself). There are poems about mental and physical health, addiction, anxiety, depression, heartbreak, joy, jealousy, insecurity and self-doubt. The final section moves to a lighter tone – showing strength and self-belief once the storm-clouds of emotion have cleared – leaving the reader feeling refreshed and positive as they lay the book down.

Poetry fans will enjoy this emotive collection, and newcomers to the genre will find it a reasonable place to start, as the written language is straightforward, whilst the complex emotions speak directly to the reader’s heart.

Born to Thrive

I’ve spent my whole life in the sea.
But tell me to try out flying
as you push me off a cliff
and watch as
I swim across the sky.

– Megan O’Keeffe, ‘Born to Thrive’ in Where I Ache

Review by Steph Warren of Bookshine and Readbows blog
Profile Image for Marlena Marie.
2 reviews1 follower
May 27, 2019
I did receive the electronic copy from the author, as many others have. I was asked to give an honest review.

This collection opens with a trigger warning, which is nice to have due to some of the content that is touched on in its pages. Reviewing poetry is difficult, for me, because of how subjective it is. I tend to like the darker sets of poetry that pull on my empathy, while touching on my own memories. There are mentions of depression and grief, however, in general, the way the poems progressed made me feel as if the collection was more uplifting in nature.

I found that I was pulled in by the poems and the art. I am a bit hesitant these days for poetry with rhyme schemes because of how little I’ve interacted with them recently, but this collection was great. (Including giving me the names of two different forms that I did not know: Abecedarian and Pantoum.) Additionally, the collection uses bold and italics. If that, as well as the art, is not something you like to see in your poetry, be warned.

I liked this. Did I love it? No. Some of the poems didn’t land for me, but I did like it.
Profile Image for Esi ✨.
100 reviews7 followers
May 20, 2019
First of all, i loved the grouping of the poems. I am a sucker for chapters that indicate the changing of themes. The illustrations were also raw, they seem to be drawn by pencil, and they go well with the characters of the poems.

The first chapter was a bit too negative for me. That being said, there is a trigger warning in the beginning so i guess i knew what i was getting myself into. At first, this felt discouraging; i am not into the type of negativity without a resolution. However, the poems improved from there. As i was reading the last chapter, i was loving the positivity. So, kudos for the diversity.

Read the full review on my blog: https://ladythursday.wordpress.com/20...
Profile Image for Jeanne.
122 reviews1 follower
June 11, 2019
“Scars fade
but it’s like this
Pain was handmade
for me.”

This collection is about insecurities and abuse. It consists of 6 parts:
- My Foggy Head
- My Weak Spine
- My Bruised Heart
- My Grieving Knees
- My Greedy Green Eyes
- My Soothing Arms

This collection was beautifully written, but I didn’t connect with the most of it. This was too romantic for me.

Favorites are:
- Handmade
- Problem Child
- An Eleven Word Poem
- Crying
- The Woman Who Still Stands

I was provided a digital copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Jupiter Grant.
Author 8 books9 followers
August 14, 2019
There are some really powerful passages in this, Megan O'Keeffe's sophomore offering, "Where I Ache". Divided into several categories, such as "My Weak Spine" "My Bruised Heart", the poems range in subject matter but all involve emotion and struggle in some way.

One of my favourite stanzas, and one that I think sums this collection up perfectly, is this:
"I hope you know you are safe with me. / I am old friends with Darkness, let yours tangle with mine." Recommended reading, and one that gets even better on your second and third visit.
Profile Image for Berry's Poetry Book Reviews.
79 reviews11 followers
January 13, 2020
While the focus on romantic jealousy does make Where I Ache stand out a bit from the pack, this collection could, unfortunately, be easily confused with the army of inspirational poetry books that have been amassing over the years.
Megan O’Keeffe is a good writer...Her skill at creating an unseen dread is fascinating, and it will be even more fascinating to see how she hones that skill in the future.

Read the full review: berryherwithpoems.com/2020/01/13/the-...
Profile Image for Kali Cole.
345 reviews32 followers
June 28, 2019
This book definitely spoke to me especially through this really confusing and hurting situation that is happening to me right now. Megan O’ Keefe’s poems have such a pull and flow that touches your very core and speaks to your mind.
Profile Image for Lauren (Northern Plunder).
356 reviews187 followers
November 14, 2021
My review was first posted on Northern Plunder, you can read more of my reviews there too.

I want to open this review with the poem “Lay With Me” as it’s the first one that hit me in the gut.
I believe when reading poetry books you usually end up enjoying the ones that make you feel the most.
(I say this speaking from experience so perhaps it’s just a me thing. The experience being I read a Charle Bukowski collection on recommendation and whilst there was the odd one I liked, they didn’t really invoke much emotion from me.)
And feeling a lot whilst reading this collection I definitely did do.
When Megan reached out offering this for review she did perfectly warn me before hand that it was a collection that covered a handful of tough topics. (Addiction, mental illness, grief, low self-esteem, etc)
I agreed because I was at a point where I was ready to handle it.
But then life kicked me in the butt.
I’ve already spoken about my reading slump and how it was mostly due to real life events making things hard.
So I really had to make sure I picked this up on a steady day, a day I was in control of my emotions.
I really liked that it opened with an author’s note, addressing that the content may be triggering and seeking help is always an option. You do not have to fight your battles alone.
I felt heard and seen.
I had a lil cry and knew that my friendship group are amazing women. I’ll look up to them every day.
But the book, the poems!
I think with every poetry book there are definitely the ones that stand out to you and ones that you might not enjoy so much.
For me the ones I wasn’t really a fan of were those that focused heavily on grief or of losing someone as it’s not something I’ve personally experienced. This isn’t to say they were bad, I just didn’t have an emotional connection to them so when compared with the others that stuckout to me – they felt weaker.
They probably aren’t.
I think what I liked about this collection is that even though you can see the author working through a variety of personal problems there was a handful I still felt I could relate too strongly and that I constantly felt reminded and found myself coming to her final line in the author’s note.
You do not have to fight your battles alone.
Even though this isn’t stated explicitly throughout the poems, just to see these topics covered, written by someone else where enough of a reminder we’re not alone.
We can be strong alone, but we can also be stronger if we seek help.
Overall I did enjoy this poetry collection. It’s the style, genre, and topics that I tend to reach for when I read poetry. I’d definitely give this a recommendation to those who enjoy Amanda Lovelace’s work. I’d read more of Megan’s work and hope next time I’m not in such a weird life funk that I can appreciate it to a better extent.
Like I even enjoyed rereading the poems I screenshot for this review more this time around too!
Profile Image for Mona Soorma.
Author 9 books30 followers
May 23, 2019
Where I Ache by Megan O’Keeffe is a book of poems about mental and physical pain, grief and loss. It is her sophomore collection and I have read an eARC of the book which is due for release on June 10th, 2019. Megan has written these poems to help people who relate to this understand that they are not alone. Though the subject is not a happy one, the book itself is not depressing for the reader, as one might initially expect.

The book is divided into six sections, each named after the part of the body whose aches the poems talk about. Megan’s poetry is free verse, not rhymed and does not follow any particular pattern. The long poems are mixed up with the short and the very short ones providing variety for the reader. A number of very beautiful illustrations by Kevin add to the expressiveness of the book.

The situations and feelings that are being talked about are very relatable and we have all felt some of this at some point in our lives. “Everyone makes life look so easy but I’m gasping for air” from the poem Lost At Sea particularly touched me as this feeling is also a product of widespread social media exposure, especially for the younger people who are still trying to find their way through life.

There are many examples of very beautiful and apt expression by the poet-

A trail of tears down my skin.
Scars littering my soul. (Morning)

I’ve seen it’s rough edges
on my own once stainless skin. (Scar Tissue)

I’m sorry I’m so fragile right now.
If I could, I would escape me too. (A Night in the Darkness Wears on You like a Lifetime)

Thoughts anchor to each other
weaving a web over any exits. (The Mind’s Maze)

Megan has touched on many issues in this book and has covered all aspects of an individual’s journey, from depression, self-doubt, pain, self-questioning, to acceptance, regrouping and hope. The poems are honest, straightforward and empathetic.

Her use of unusual and very descriptive metaphors sets the book apart from others dealing with similar subjects. Her short poems are generally more cohesive and well written than the longer ones, but that in no way implies that the longer ones are not good. The feelings of love, helplessness against another’s pain, self-doubt and hope have been brought out really well. I particularly loved the poems in the first section more than the others.

Some of my favourite poems in the book are Lay with me (which is a beautiful expression of the need for human contact), Late Night Thoughts, This Pain Can’t Be Reasoned With, Bloom, You Are Made of Stars, and Dreams.

The book is beautifully simple and simply beautiful, not meant just for those hurting, but for everyone who would perhaps gain a better understanding of another’s unsaid aches. I am looking forward to future work by the poet and wish her the very best with her upcoming collection.
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