Book Review

I post reviews of Math Paper Press titles on Twitter sometimes, but since my tweets are deleted after thirty days, I figure I’ll repost some of those reviews here.

I’m still fairly new to poetry. So, while I can’t comment much on the form, I can talk about the emotions the pieces evoke—and the feelings Stephanie Chan’s Roadkill for Beginners inspires are… complicated.

Don’t get me wrong though. That’s the furthest thing from a criticism. It’s, in fact, this collection’s greatest strength—the way it interweaves a variety of feelings so seamlessly, finding the beauty in the messiness of our own humanity.

“To Allow Room for Mine to Grow”, for example, captures the complexities of the relationship with a parent better than almost anything I’ve ever read. A lot of the other pieces, however, bring together for me a sense of longing with a slight twinge of regret—a mix that I felt was crystalised best with “New Words for ‘Never'”.

That said, my favourite piece was definitely “The 29”, which doesn’t just combine the weird and wonderful, but reminds me of all my favourite things about London—something no writer’s been able to do since my friend’s collection, For the Love of a City.

I’ve learned a great deal about emotional honesty from the poetry I’ve read so far, but Roadkill for Beginners has taught me something I’ve overlooked: that that honesty is a lot more multifaceted than a lot of us care to admit.


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