“Neon Soul,” Alexandra Elle

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Young women are finally having their day. With Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur holding firmly to its bestseller position—both in hardcover and paperback—there’s been a renewed interest in poetry, particularly in young adults. As a bookseller and poetry buff, seeing young women coming into the store every day and heading for the poetry section has been gratifying and heartwarming, if I’m honest.

Many ask me for recommendations after finishing Milk and Honey. I have a few standbys (which will be discussed here at some point). Neon Soul, a new release from Alexandra Elle, just shot to the top of my recommendation list.

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“Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth,” Warsan Shire

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Well, it’s been a hot minute, hasn’t it? 2016 was weird—personally and universally. Fear not. 2017 is going to be a good year for Lit She Wrote.

My blogging hiatus was primarily consumed with a lengthy (and still ongoing) poetry kick. I found myself wanting to be immersed in the work of primarily modern poets. One poet I’ve wanted to read more of for a long time is Warsan Shire.

Teaching My Mother How To Give Birth was Shire’s first published poetry pamphlet. At just over 30 pages, its intensity is concentrated. The poetry is visceral and deeply intimate. Shire writes holds nothing—if anything—back.

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“A Thousand Mornings,” Mary Oliver

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People often shy away from poetry, thinking it’s too complicated, saying that they just don’t get it. Worse: that it’s boring or old. Fair enough. I can’t say it’s for everyone. But, I am a firm believer that any avid reader who decries poetry just hasn’t read the right poems yet.

In Mary Oliver’s A Thousand Mornings, we see the space in which traditional poetic themes are gracefully met by modern sentiments and feelings.

“I go down to the shore in the morning
and depending on the hour the waves
are rolling in or moving out,
and I say, oh, I am miserable,
what shall—
what should I do? And the sea says
in its lovely voice:
Excuse me, I have work to do.”

I Go Down to the Shore, p. 1.

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