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Reviewed by Emily-Jane Hills Orford for Readers' Favorite
Relationships are hard, especially romantic relationships. The love shared can fill a person, only to tear them up when everything falls apart. Life is hard; love is even harder. Love lost can leave behind scars that fracture the soul and are difficult to heal. In fact, sometimes these scars never do fully heal. Going through the journey of life, we all find ways to cope with events that shape who we are, events that threaten to destroy our sense of purpose, our sense of being. Some find art a means to render sacred the pain being felt. Some write poetry.
Kendyl Rose’s book of poetry, “twenty:three”, is a compelling, raw look at love, relationships and the crushing blow of a romantic breakup. The collection progresses from expressions of love, to challenges in getting along with one’s romantic partner, to the final breakup and the destruction it causes and, finally, to the struggle to find someone new, someone who is really meant to be one’s partner for life. The poet expresses herself in multiple poetic styles from narrative poems to free verse to rhyming verse. The poems are long and short, but each one expresses its viewpoint with succinct clarity.
“Your soul is like a river/ Flowing through a cave.” Words like that capture the reader’s attention and make the reader think, to agree or disagree, to feel the sense of wonder and power behind the raw emotions expressed. In another short verse, the poet sums up her feelings in two short lines: “Light up the sky/ You already know how to fly.” And then there are the poems that offer some inner wisdom and poignant words of advice: “Falling apart is not a crime/ … Life is not always lemons/ Sometimes it is limes.” These words, cleverly constructed, could apply to so many things in life, things that have nothing to do with romantic relationships and breakups.
The poet has a powerful grip on the English language and uses synonyms and metaphors with clever astuteness. This is clear in poems like this one: “You are like an old book in a thrift store/ You have met a lot of people/ And even called some of them your home/ Your pages are not new/ Maybe even a tear of two/ But every wrinkle a chapter of a story told/ About a soul learning to unfold.” Life is about poetry and poetry is about life. This little collection is a real treasure.