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Swallowtail

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4.25  ·  Rating details ·  169 ratings  ·  59 reviews
Swallowtail: A deep dive into the dissection of popular culture, and how the brightness and horrors of it can be mirrors into the daily lived experiences of women in America.
Paperback, 96 pages
Published October 1st 2019 by Button Poetry
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Average rating 4.25  · 
Rating details
 ·  169 ratings  ·  59 reviews


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Kathryn Speckels (Metaphors and Miscellanea)
Technically 4.5/5 stars, rounded up because I freaking love Button Poetry.

Surprise, surprise, another collection from Button Poetry that I absolutely adore. As many of you know, I’m a poetry geek, especially about spoken word poetry, and when it comes to spoken word, Button Poetry has some of the best talent out there. Frankly, if there’s a Button book on NetGalley, the odds are pretty high that I’m going to insist on reading it, and Swallowtail certainly did not disappoint. In her debut
...more
Ritika Chhabra
Follow Just A Girl High On Books for more reviews.

"To love me
is to love a haunted house.
It's fun to visit once a year,
but no one wants to live there."


At the stroke midnight, when the year 2020 began, I started reading this poetry book by Brenna Twohy. And my-oh-my, I could not have chosen a better way to start my new year. The book features a collection of poems revolving around grief and abuse. There are so many things the poet talks about, and in so many ways, that by the time I was done with
...more
Andrea Pole
Dec 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Swallowtail, a collection of poems by Brenna Twohy, delves deeply into the topics of loss and grief. I found the poems to be not only quite profound, but highly accessible, and I was pulled into a stream of consciousness from which I could not look away. I anxiously anticipate reading more of Ms Twohy's work. Hers is a fresh, relevant voice that needs to be heard.

Many thanks to NetGalley and Button Poetry for this ARC.
Alicia Bayer
Nov 21, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely loved this new feminist poetry book that deals with topics like mental illness, sexual assault and loss. Twohy is utterly raw, honest and real in poems that are beautifully crafted. Finally, after reading so much Instagram Lite poetry lately, I am so glad to have found poetry that makes me feel and think and want to read lines of it to my husband and grown kids (who are all poets and poetry lovers too). Lines like I will never again not know the sound of my mother breaking deal with ...more
Heather
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This book of poetry was very touching to read! Coming from a domestic violence survivor myself who went through some of the stuff the narrator of the poetry went through I felt like I was walking every step of the way with them. It’s definitely worth the read if you are able to handle such a tough topic!
Gizzard
Jan 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2020
Absolutely gorgeous, but very sad, poetry. Three lines on forgiveness tell a lifetime story. She also has some things to say about grief that are truly remarkable.
Alisha
Nov 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“grief is not a feeling
but a neighborhood.

this is where I come from.
everyone I love still lives there.”
Jessica
Oct 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, 2019
The poems in Swallowtail speak of grief, abuse, and mental health. Raw and gritty, these poems share what it is to be an abuse survivor, to grieve a loved one, to move through the world with stones in your pockets. They reflect both perseverance and a feeling a hopelessness. Both strength and weakness. They illustrate the complexities of healing from trauma. This is a book I'm sure to return to again and again.

“As if survival
could ever be delicate.

As if we haven’t been chewing
rocks for
...more
Pauliina (The Bookaholic Dreamer)
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: arcs
3.5/5 stars rounded up

I received a free e-copy of Swallowtail in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to the publisher, the author and Netgalley! Receiving a free arc has in no way influenced my opinions.

Swallowtail is bursting with feeling. It is a poem collection of abuse, heartbreak, trauma and grief, and although many of the poems hit me to my bones, many of them felt slightly repetitive.

The collection has enough material and powerful scenes to make up a beautiful collection - but I
...more
twiinklex
Nov 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
Thank you to NetGalley, the publisher and the author for an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Impressive and powerful right from the first page, this is one of those rare modern poetry books that stands out on its own merit.

WHEN I SAY I FORGIVE YOU,
KNOW THIS
I did not bury the hatchet.
I have the hatchet in my hands.
I am building a new house.


I enjoyed this book, whose poems talk about grief, loss, trauma, abusive relationships, mental health, survival and more. I also loved the
...more
DeAnne
Dec 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
First and foremost, this poetry collection is not for the faint of heart. It tackles a number of difficult subjects that may be hard for some people to stomach, but that's part of the reason I really enjoy it. Poetry is such a great medium when it comes to expressing pain and trauma, it allows the words and emotions to come through in a raw way.

I really felt that Brenna Twohy attacked these subjects well and the collection in a way is a type of catharsis. While it will probably be difficult for
...more
Mandy Hazen
Jan 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing
This book is INSANE. I absolutely love reading poetry. The descriptive words and phrases had me turning page after page. I could not get enough and was devastated when it ended. This is not just another poetry book regarding abuse. It focuses on recovery. Beauty. Pain. Emotion. So eloquently written.
Majida Aghila
Feb 11, 2020 rated it did not like it
I don't what's wrong? or that I didn't get this book right
Ankita Singh
Jan 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: netgalley-books, arcs
Oh god, this was beautiful. It was heartbreaking and enchanting and simply beautiful.

I loved all of the poems and I'm not sure if I can pick a favourite because they were all so good. How do you pick a favourite when each and every one of the pieces seem better than the others?
Kt
Dec 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019, poetry, arc
In this poetry collection mental health, grief and trauma are explored in ways in ways I've never read before. What makes 'Swallowtail' so unique is how honest and raw Twohy's poems are. These poems are powerful and blunt, straight to the point.

"& as long as you're there/in the back of the room,/I am going to be here,/voice made from smoulder,/because this is my story/and you cannot take this/from me."

Trigger warnings: suicide, abuse, grief, anxiety.
[I received a copy on NetGalley for a
...more
Jinghay (TheSecretNoceur)
[ I received a copy on Netgalley in return for an honest review. ]

'Swallowtail' is a poetry book that explores the challenges of grief, trauma and mental health through popular culture and the author's own personal experiences.

"To love me / is to love a haunted house. / It's fun to visit once a year, / but no one wants to live there."

There were many powerful poems, just like the one above, through out the book and what I enjoyed most about them was the fact that they weren't excessively flowery
...more
Zoe  Ysabella
Nov 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
How reckless, the way that I love/ like the first chapter of a ghost story./ Like the gentlest hand/ reaching out of a grave

Brenna Twohy's Swallowtail is a dynamic collection of poetry, unlike any others I've read. The poems included are powerful, every line expresses something powerful and magnificently human. After I read each poem, I have to just repeat a couple of lines to myself because they're just so good.

I've followed Brenna Twohy for years, since about 2015 when I first encountered her
...more
Corinne Anderson
Jan 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I initially selected this book based on the cover. I am a horrible cliche, and absolutely judge books by their cover when initially deciding to give them a try. I don't normally read poetry books, preferring to read a few individual poems here and there, but Brenna Twohy grabbed me and held me for an hour straight as I read, no devoured, her work. It was incredible. After I finished reading, I had this immense sense of guilt that I had read it too fast. My inner-self telling me poetry is to be ...more
Samantha
Jan 16, 2020 rated it liked it
My horoscope reads,
"Happy Birthday, Gemini
Mercury is retrograde
and didn't buy you a present.
The planets didn't think you'd make it.
We watched you collect pill bottles
and we settled in for a long winter.
We saw you pacing on that bridge
and the whole sky dressed in black."


I wish the whole poetry collection packed as much of a punch as these lines from the poem "January." Seeing as this collection dealt with rape and abuse and grief, it could have. Seeing as every Button Poetry video of Brenna Twohy
...more
Chelsea (The Book Tease)
Dec 25, 2019 rated it really liked it
I first came across Brenna Twohy's poetry a few months ago on the @buttonpoetry Facebook page. I was impressed and did a quick search for her book at my library, but couldn't find anything. Fast forward a few weeks and I stumbled on Swallowtail while browsing NetGalley! Released in October, this poetry collection hit home for me from the very first words:

WHEN I SAY I FORGIVE YOU, KNOW THIS:
I did not bury the hatchet.
I have the hatchet in my hand.
I am building myself a new house.

Twohy lays
...more
Tamar Alexanian
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Trauma sends you letters / without warning / for the rest of your life, / usually disguised as something else - / a medical bill, maybe, / or a box of photo albums packages up by your father, / just so you remember / trauma knows exactly where you live - / who did you think built the house?"

"The fifth problem is / when a new man tells you he likes you too much / already, it doesn't sound like a promise. / It sounds like a smoke alarm / warning you to get out fast - / If you hurry, / you might
...more
Jemima Rose
Dec 30, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: poetry, arcs, kobo, adult
T/W: Sexual Assault, Suicide, Anxiety, Loss of a Loved One, Abuse, Grief

I really enjoyed Swallowtail. I like the poet's story, her style and her openness. Through this poetry collection I was really able to feel how much the Towhy had revealed herself to her readers/listeners. Each poem packs a real punch and I can see why she has won spoken-word competitions in the past.

I found that some of the pop-culture references were a bit too gaudy for my personal taste but I thought it was interesting
...more
Georgette
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: netgalley
"there is a man

I can only talk about in metaphor,
the way his tattoos make

an avalanche of my mouth"

There's very few (if not none) of Button Poetry's books that aren't about some kind of excruciating life experience or another, but that's what makes the medium so compelling as an outlet. Abusive relationships, grief and suicide were laid out in both the usual classic/tired metaphors as well as more contemporary ones (ie Harry Potter, Survivor, Disney). A bit hard to get into at first, but it
...more
Cheryl
Jan 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
"Swallowtail" is the first collection I've read from Brenna Twohy, though I'm familiar with her poetry from social media. Twohy is predominantly a spoken word poet - for me, this sometimes means that the poems don't work as well on the page as they rely heavily on the physical delivery, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that these poems worked as page-poems also.

Twohy explores such tricky subjects as femininity, suicide and abusive relationships with a firm yet delicate hand, and the book
...more
Rosie
Jan 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
This poetry might be the most heartwrenching thing I have ever read. As a longtime fan of Brenna, I was over the moon to find she was releasing this book of her writings, and even more so to see she is now working in the justice department.

The poems are for the most part short, witty and heartbreaking. Whilst I wouldn't suggest it to those going through a hard time, I would reccomend it to those who want to know how it really feels to be in those places she has been.

Brenna establishes a deep
...more
Ari
Dec 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: owned-books
When the dedication - the bit before you even crack the table of contents, you know - catches you as an unrelenting gut-punch, you should brace yourself for a major ouch of a read (the kind of major ouch you flinch a little from and then careen wildly into, like leaning into a screaming maelstrom just because it reminds you living feels like bliss muddled in wild agony). Each poem felt like a door swinging open to let in whispers of past (and sometimes more present) pain, swaying into softness ...more
Josie Gillen
Nov 24, 2019 rated it really liked it
I devoured this book.
Brenna Twohy writes with such piercing beauty that tugged at my heart and urged me to read more, more, more. More often than not, I felt as if she was writing out my own experience before me.
One thing that I will say- I did not enjoy the pieces with pop culture references as much. I felt as if her other poems had free reign to go wherever they needed to, but when they had a theme the writing didn't feel as organic.
Regardless of this, this book is a masterpiece, and I'm
...more
Stevie
Nov 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"grief is not a feeling
but a neighborhood.

this is where I come from.
everyone still lives there."

This collection of poetry tells a few beautiful and heartbreaking stories of loss. Loss of love, loss of family, loss of self. I'm blown away. From the first line of the first poem, Brenna Twohy's grief is evident. She doesn't shy away from it but instead lays it all out there. This is the best collection of poetry I've read in 2019.

Thank you to NetGalley and Button Poetry for an Advanced Reade Copy.
McKenzie Richardson
For more reviews, check out my blog: Craft-Cycle

Gorgeous and terrifying, this is a magnificent collection of poetry. Covering a range of topics such as ended relationships, death of family members, mental health, and Harry Potter, this book is about life, love, truth, and finding your way through the chaos.

I loved this collection. Each poem is hauntingly real and Twohy has a voice that makes you want to listen. Amazing descriptions and thought-provoking pieces. It is a treat and a sadness to
...more
Kei • fiction court •
This was nice. I read it on Kindle so I'm positive I didn't read it the way it was meant to be read, formatting wise but I enjoyed it all the same. The poems were longer than I expected, or at least longer than the ones I've read recently which was nice for a change.

Swallowtail spoke of grief, abuse, a lot of pop culture references and mental health. Some of these were really powerful and actually very raw and unapologetic.

when I say I forgive you
know this
I did not bury the hatchet.
I have the
...more
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