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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Book Smart by O Persaud is a compilation of the author's original poetry and part of The Apple Orchard series, which also includes An Open Wound, Shitolian, and Writer's Block. Persaud focuses on the inequity of education and what intelligence actually is, and the tendency for some who are the recipients of formal education to patronize those who may not by the standards set by others. However, a greater emphasis is attributed to the incorporation of intellectual concepts and words into life scenarios that embody the experiences of the general population. The intersection of literal application and word play by Persaud is what sets the collection apart on an artistic level.
I love the way poet O Persaud punches through the page with verses that have a rhythmic quality and tell a whole story in just a handful of stanzas in Book Smart. So many of the poems ache and that pain feels whole and true. For example, in two separate poems, one called 20 and the other called 30, each narrates the contrast between expectation and reality and regret as one remembers what it felt like at the time and what we see in hindsight. My absolute favorite is the piece Literature, which is a remarkable dance around words and a nod to the myth that spacial and mental clutter is a sign of chaos, and that chaos is a sign of being 'less than' its vanilla, clean-cut and well-organized counterpart. Outside the poem, we all secretly know that the best and the brightest are birthed only of chaos, and among them as the best and the brightest shine O Persaud and Book Smart.