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Reviewed by Asher Syed for Readers' Favorite
Stained Sheets by Ahlia Demas is a compilation of contemporary poetry, the author's third publication, following Snow Fox and 20 Sunsets, which are also featured in excerpts. The subject matter has a heavy emphasis on a woman's outlook (but male and non-binary points of view do present themselves) with a wide variety of topics ranging from relationships to stray dogs. While it's all in free verse - and even one that takes the form of prose - it does frequently dance into both rhythmic and fixed verses, utilizing punctuation and a skilled internal pattern of sounds. Each individual poem has its own structure and the differences in arrangement complement its multiple themes, coming together beautifully.
Ahlia Demas has put forward a wonderful book of poetry with Stained Sheets. My favorite pieces were the ones where Demas hints at satire, such as To Captain Spew, and the compositions that show infinitely profound emotion, such as To Patty (“You died last night? Yes - Was it painful? - Were you alone? - Oh, pinch me… pinch me”). Poetry is often difficult to review because it is usually deeply personal, and Demas' work is no exception. But what makes Stained Sheets exceptional is its relatability. Whether intended or not, there is so much that can be taken to heart by a reader that the work becomes instantly engaging. I can see myself flipping back through the compilation over time, finding new meaning in the poems, and sharing these with others who I know will find the same enjoyment in this collection as I have.