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Reviewing poetry is a form of therapy, as much as reading. As readers, we are transported to another world and we carry with us the torch to reveal a story to new readers. We trace our eyes like fingertips across the pages of literature in our computers and for some in their hands, to find out what we are going to get lost in next. Sometimes we don’t like it and we have the right to refuse it, and that is our therapy. We can either get lost in the world we have chosen or reject it as if we are able to rewrite history itself. I find that once I start a book, I can completely forget about the world around me and focus on just what I have in front of me, and all else melts away like butter on hot toast. For that brief moment, as long as I am reading, I am not myself, I am not the one with problems or concerns. For that moment, I am free to be whoever the author wants me to be. Be it grief-stricken, laughable, heroic, or addicted, I am at the mercy of the written word, and for that I am grateful.
I have no idea how seriously people take books; for me, it’s not a black and white situation. There is a whole spectrum of colors that just scream at me to be seen, and I have read all kinds of books just to prove a point. I am not a one-trick pony. Just like you, I like to find myself in another genre as often as possible. Be it poetry, horror, dystopian future LGBT books, they all have something to say. However, I have reviewed works that I hated, and I will never forget them. As much as I love reading, there is just something about some books that make you want to tear your eyes out and that is part of our jobs as writers. We need to go where no man wants to go, or has been before, and pave the way for others. We are the comments at the back of the book, telling people how great this project is. We are the voices in people’s heads, telling them that they need this book or they should put it back because “it won’t speak your language.”
I personally love reviewing poems. I have read many and found that every one of them is unique. When reading poetry, be very careful in reviewing it, simply because poetry is a tricky business. You need to tell your version of how you felt. We are told to think rationally, but with poems, you need to document how you feel. Poetry speaks to the soul, and when reviewing this, you need to bare your soul too. We are touched by different things, but when reviewing poems, it’s best to be honest with your feelings. Write as if you were a poet; with your heart.
Written by Readers’ Favorite Reviewer Anelynde Smit