tassara ・゚✧'s Reviews > Dearly

Dearly by Margaret Atwood
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it was ok
bookshelves: anthologies, plays-poetry

2.5 out of 5 stars. | Read for Prompt #42 of the 2021 POPSUGAR Reading Challenge: The shortest book on your TBR.

well, this was... an experience. i've never read atwood's poetry, so all of these poems were new to me; although, i do agree with other reviewers' assertions that labeling this book a collection of "new poems" is a bit disingenuous when you have a two-page acknowledgments section thanking the publications in which many of these poems originally appeared.

having not read any of atwood's poetry before also meant i had no expectations going into this. and yet, i was still kind of disappointed. a middling, 2.5-star rating is the perfect way to sum up my experience reading dearly, as somewhere around 40% of the poems in this collection existed far too close to either extreme on the "beautifully-written" to "beautiful meaning" spectrum, and very few managed to strike an effective balance between the two.

it's true, not every poem needs to use the elegant language of lord byron to be classified as "beautifully written," nor does every poem need to have the deep spirituality of maya angelou to have a "beautiful meaning." but if you're going to write a poem about double-entry slug sex (a real title of a real poem in this collection), i need it to either use language to reveal something i'd otherwise never notice or think about, or provide some parallel to something i already take for granted as beautiful or profound.

many of the poems in this collection (including the aforementioned double-entry slug sex) simply feel weird for the sake of being weird. abstract opacity for the sake of being able to say it means something, if only readers would just get it.

of the fifty-plus poems in this collection, i can honestly say only about ten of them stood out to me. and half of those standouts didn't make it onto that list for good reasons. i plan to write a more detailed review on this collection (famous last words, i know), so keep your eyes peeled for more coherent thoughts in the future, but in the meantime, if you're wondering, my favorites were: souvenirs; a drone scans the wreckage; aflame; walking in the madman's wood. my least favorites were: princess clothing; update on werewolves; at the translation conference; the twilight of the gods. iykyk.

stay tuned, because i have some #thoughts.
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Reading Progress

May 31, 2021 – Shelved
November 1, 2021 – Started Reading
November 29, 2021 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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message 1: by Icey (new)

Icey Wonderful review❤️I am not a big poetry person but agree that sometimes authors seem to write wired poems for the sake of being weird.

tassara ・゚✧ thanks so much, icey 💙 normally poetry can be a bit challenging for me to read, but these poems were almost too easy -- probably because most of them weren't well written enough to give me much to think about. it's a bummer, because i generally like atwood's work, but between the weirdness and the overall lack of emotional resonance, this collection wasn't for me. thanks for commenting! 💜

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