Poetry - General
48 Pages
Reviewed on 08/04/2020
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Louise Hurrell for Readers' Favorite

Savagery by J.C. Mehta is a short but sharp poetry collection tackling what it means to be indigenous in 21st-century America. This is a very raw, honest, personal account and Mehta pulls no punches. She discusses her experiences in a straightforward manner with crisp, concise word choice and imagery. This is incredibly effective in highlighting the messages Mehta wants to convey, and the bluntness of the language forces the reader to confront the issues raised head-on. Different aspects of indigenous life are discussed with beautiful but brutal imagery, making Savagery a necessary read.

Another aspect of Savagery I enjoyed was Mehta’s structure. She uses a lot of free form poetry, and the majority of the poems have no meter or rhythm. Instead, they almost read like diary entries or someone’s unspoken thoughts; there is something deeply personal or confessional about them. This helps to create a connection between the reader and Mehta, and you become completely invested in the stories being told. Yet there are also a couple of times when Mehta plays with structure and does it wonderfully. The title poem ‘Savagery’ is a great example, where the line spacing nearly breaks up the poem into two separate columns. This disconnect in the poem helps to emphasize not only the disbelief of the speaker about Mehta’s indigenous background but also the wider disconnect and ignorance of indigenous culture in America. It is cleverly structured, and the collection as a whole is carefully arranged. Overall, Savagery is an honest, sometimes painful collection, and one that feels relevant in these times.