POETRY REVIEW: Where I Ache by Megan O’Keeffe

Title:                Where I Ache                             31v4d2pFWyL

Author:          Megan O’Keeffe

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About The Author

Megan OKeeffe is an up and coming poet with her debut collection Cracked Open. She has been writing poetry for over a decade before publishing her work on her blog Debatably Dateable. A romantic at heart, Megan can’t help but draw inspiration from the love and relationships around her. Always developing her art though, Megan touches on mental illnesses, self-love, and life’s journey. When she isn’t writing, Megan can be found spending time with her dog, two sisters, and boyfriend.

 

Book Blurb (From Amazon)

This collection is broken up into six chapters ranging from themes such as depression, jealousy, grief, and strength. These are delicate subjects to talk about and most people avoid them because of the uncomfortable vulnerability. I’ve always written and shared my poetry with the hope that readers would relate and feel less alone. I hope you feel a sense of community to all of those connected throughout this collection. Please seek professional help if these sensitive topics are affecting your daily health and happiness.

 

The Review

Where I Ache by Megan O’Keeffe is a book of poems about mental and physical pain, grief and loss. It is her sophomore collection and I have read an eARC of the book which is due for release on June 10th, 2019. Megan has written these poems to help people who relate to this understand that they are not alone. Though the subject is not a happy one, the book itself is not depressing for the reader, as one might initially expect.

The book is divided into six sections, each named after the part of the body whose aches the poems talk about. Megan’s poetry is free verse, not rhymed and does not follow any particular pattern. The long poems are mixed up with the short and the very short ones providing variety for the reader. A number of very beautiful illustrations by Kevin add to the expressiveness of the book.

The situations and feelings that are being talked about are very relatable and we have all felt some of this at some point in our lives. “Everyone makes life look so easy but I’m gasping for air” from the poem Lost At Sea particularly touched me as this feeling is also a product of widespread social media exposure, especially for the younger people who are still trying to find their way through life.

There are many examples of very beautiful and apt expression by the poet-

A trail of tears down my skin.
Scars littering my soul. (Morning)

I’ve seen it’s rough edges
on my own once stainless skin. (Scar Tissue)

I’m sorry I’m so fragile right now.
If I could, I would escape me too. (A Night in the Darkness Wears on You like a Lifetime)

Thoughts anchor to each other
weaving a web over any exits. (The Mind’s Maze)

Megan has touched on many issues in this book and has covered all aspects of an individual’s journey, from depression, self-doubt, pain, self-questioning, to acceptance, regrouping and hope. The poems are honest, straightforward and empathetic.

Her use of unusual and very descriptive metaphors sets the book apart from others dealing with similar subjects. Her short poems are generally more cohesive and well written than the longer ones, but that in no way implies that the longer ones are not good. The feelings of love, helplessness against another’s pain, self-doubt and hope have been brought out really well. I particularly loved the poems in the first section more than the others.

Some of my favourite poems in the book are Lay with me (which is a beautiful expression of the need for human contact), Late Night Thoughts, This Pain Can’t Be Reasoned With, Bloom, You Are Made of Stars, and Dreams.

The book is beautifully simple and simply beautiful, not meant just for those hurting, but for everyone who would perhaps gain a better understanding of another’s unsaid aches. I am looking forward to future work by the poet and wish her the very best with her upcoming collection.

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