POETRY REVIEW: One Flew Over The Heart by Nitya Swaruba

Title:               One Flew Over The Heart                               Book Cover One Flew Over The Heart by Nitya Swaruba

Author:          Nitya Swaruba

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About The Author

Nitya Swaruba is a lover of words. She began writing poetry from late 2014. This collection of more than three hundred poems is her first book. Hardly influenced or inspired, she discovered this passion over time. Her ability to observe and sense emotions feeds her ideas. Her inspiration comes from her self, those closest to her, and nature. She also draws from people’s experiences. She uses simple language and her style is far from conventional, which makes her poems unusually unique.
Nitya is a copy editor from Pondicherry, India. She loves watching TV and movies. Her favourite thing to do is to contemplate—the place where she finds the inspiration to write. She is also passionate about nature photography, which at times she collaborates with her poetry.


Book Blurb  (from the back cover)

“Beauty in My Eyes” paints the dramatic irony of wanting to live in a world that destroys.
In “Our Stairway,” you will fall into a dream that feels like eternity, but is it?
“Boomeranged” brings back memories of a time and place irreplaceable.
And what does “Saw You,” the six-word poem, have to say?
Incredibly heartwarming poetry, thoughtful lines about the world, words on love worth engraving are what you will find between these covers. One Flew Over The Heart will also take you on other extraordinary journeys–about nature, the world, free-living, time and place, fantasy and dreams, and love–both dark and light. The spontaneous four-liners read at a glance will stay forever with you, and the rare hand-drawn sketches will etch the words in your heart.


The Review

One Flew Over The Heart is a collection of poetry that Nitya has written over a period of time. The collection, by its inherent nature, consists of poems written on a wide range of themes and subjects. There is something here for every mood and season in life and is the voice of the poet’s heart and soul.

The book begins with a very interesting dedication. The author’s note, titled “The Poetry” is a very compelling piece of writing that draws you into the book. It is an insight into the poet’s thoughts and feelings and I really enjoyed reading that.

The book itself has been divided into thirteen sections and is a labour of love for the poet, right from the cover design to the choice and placement of poetry in the book. The poems are a random collection of varying lengths, from the very short to the very long. There are many styles of poetry here and most of it is rhymed and neatly organised into paragraphs. The book also has some shaped poetry that is visually quite appealing. The sketches are well done and add to the beauty of the book.

The poems are very simple, and most of them are narrative in tone. They are a depiction of the thoughts and feelings of the writer, as they come. Some of the poems have layers of meanings hidden behind their simplicity. A few of my favourites are “it’s about time”, “the nude dream”, “wait…!”, “bloom from that gloom”, “always”.

Nature is a recurrent theme in the book, even apart from the section of nature poems. “For August” is a section that contains poems on the word of the day written over an entire month and has some excellent poems. I also enjoyed the section “for them” which is a short section of poetry inspired by various events and characters. For the lover of very short poetry, the section to go for first is “heartbeats”.

What I found worth improving is the general organisation of poems on the page. The poems sometimes seem to be randomly placed in the centre, side, two on the same page, in a double column… the order is a little puzzling and the reason and the vision of the poet here are not adequately transmitted to the reader.

The ending of the book is a fabulous and very apt poem called “my word”. It is something that leaves a beautiful imprint on the mind that lingers.

The complete experience of the book was very positive, beautiful in its simplicity and heartening. The poems tend to grow on the reader as one moves along, reading over the days, and I look forward to watching the growth of the poet and her poetry in her further offerings.


POETRY REVIEW: At War with the Fireflies by Veronica McDonald

Title:                At War with the Fireflies                               At war with the fireflies cover

Author:          Veronica McDonald

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About The Author

Veronica McDonald is a poet, fiction writer, and former nihilist turned Christian. She has an MA in Literature from American University, and her fiction and poetry have appeared in several literary venues including Jersey Devil Press, Gingerbread House Literary Magazine, and Five on the Fifth, among others. She currently lives in San Diego with her husband and three children.


Book Blurb

Veronica McDonald’s second chapbook of strange poems travels through the shifting realities one encounters when moving out of darkness and into light. These 22 pieces begin with a bleak worldview, in which simple acts of destruction and death construct existence, then develop into revelations of vitality and life beyond the decay of the world. Her use of insects, animals, and caricatures demonstrate the pain and absurdity of living in a meaningless world and push the reader to experience the denial, confusion, discomfort, frustration, and wonder that permeate the arduous journey out of darkness and into hope, life, and light.


The Review

At War with the Fireflies is the poet’s journey in verse, from darkness to light. The book begins with an introductory passage that I like very much. As expected, the poems are dark, a little bit gruesome at times with their imagery of squashing insects, pinning their wings, heart ripped out, nose between the toes, and the like. The imagery, however, aptly describes the flip side of life and all that is wrong with it. The metaphors used are beautiful, unusual, and in keeping with the subject.

The cover is dark too, in keeping with the theme, with a point of light showing through. Yet like the poems, the depth to the darkness is not really painful or gut-wrenching, which is both good and bad, depending on one’s perspective and whether one like such dark poetry or not.

The style is mostly free verse, with not much rhyme. The poems read well and smoothly. There is also a collection of five haikus in the book. The dark journey ends on a positive note with a movement towards the light, hope and possibilities.

The book is very well put together. What I would have preferred to see in the kindle version is a detailed interactive TOC to make navigation easier. But apart from that, I found the book interesting and engaging without being too gory to put off those who don’t like dark themes much. I definitely look forward to reading more from Veronica’s pen in the future.

POETRY REVIEW: When Daisies and Thunderstorms Collide By Isabel Scheck

Title:                When Daisies and Thunderstorms Collide                                Book Cover When Daisies And Thunderstorm Collide by Isabel Scheck

Author:          Isabel Scheck

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About The Author

Isabel comes from England but lives in Switzerland with her parents and her brother. She works with children, which she adores, but she also loves to write; especially poetry. She uses experiences and images as inspiration to create words. Isabel also loves to express herself by drawing.


Book Blurb

When Daisies and Thunderstorms Collide is about a young lady who personifies herself has a Daisy. She falls in love with the thunderstorm, a young man. The first part is who much she’s infatuated by him, the middle part is expressing her disappointment that he’s not bothering with her and the end part she realises that actually, she deserves something better than thunderstorms.


The Review

When Daisies and Thunderstorms Collide is a sweet little book of micro poetry about a woman’s journey in love that is not reciprocated.

Isabel has written heart-touching poetry that is simple yet powerful. The poems go from adoration to the realisation that her love is one-sided. The end sees the daisy become a thunderstorm herself, very effectively conveying the message that we are all enough in ourselves and do not deserve to be considered any less.

The device of personification is used effectively to portray the delicacy of the woman and the powerful personality of the man she is in love with. The nature-imagery used adds beauty to the verse. Her words are simple, her poems short and her tone immensely engaging. I particularly loved the explanatory titles that she has used at the end of each poem. They show the inner feelings and the conflict in the heart of the woman at each point.

When Daisies and Thunderstorms Collide is a quick and light read, yet, to someone who wishes to delve deeper, it lends many layers of meanings. I found it a beautiful experience that I would love to repeat.

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.

POETRY REVIEW: Against The Night by PMF Johnson

Title:                Against The Night: Love Poems                                  Against The Night PMF Johnson

Author:            PMF Johnson

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About The Author (In his own words)

I am a novelist and poet married to Sandra Rector. We love reading, finding new restaurants, and travel. We celebrate each victory, no matter how small, and never work on Saturdays. In the evenings, I read novels to Sandy for fun. In this way, we have slowly made our way through Middlemarch, Anna Karenina, Jane Eyre and many others. Some are better than others, we’ve decided, and you can’t always tell by reputation. But our favourites at the moment include Trollope and Henry James.

I have been writing poetry and fiction for many years, learning more than I necessarily wanted to about humility and such virtues.

I write two irregular blogs — once every other week or so — 1st, about (other people’s) poetry in current magazines, at PoetryCommentary; 2nd, about (other people’s) novels, at FictionCommentary  Both explore how writers create the effects they do.


Book Blurb

These 88 poems sparkle up a smile about a long love’s journey that still bangs sprightly as an old jalopy. Here is the tale of a marriage built in parts like a bicycle, old-fashioned as fudge. These poems burn, soothe, scrawl for help with a sharpened spoon. Poems quick as hope. Poems to replace your breath with fire.

Many have appeared in such magazines as The North American Review, Nimrod International Journal, The Atlanta Review, The Midwest Quarterly, The Portland Review, and elsewhere. Enjoy them today!


The Review

Against The Night: Love Poems is a book of love poems that the author has written to his wife Sandra. The beauty of that dedication was the first thing that struck me, as did the very descriptive cover… looking out into the night together is what true love stands for.

The book itself is captivating, right from the word go. The introductory poem immediately tells you what is special about the book, these are love poems with a difference. They are not too mushy, they talk of real life, of battling the odds and of how love stays as the one constant in life’s journey.

What I love about the book is the unexpectedness, every page you turn brings something new. There is a sharp edge to the poems that somehow gives strength to the feelings of love, a little like a bit of sugar makes the hot food hotter! What I also love is the blend of nature, the sky and the stars and the whole universe with the mundane, the everyday situations, the rough and tumble of life.

There are so many beautiful poems worth a special mention, but some of my favourites are Ensorcelled, Valentine’s Day, Universal Studies, 6 AM, Who Will Be, How Sandy Sings… I am beginning to get to know her, and I love what I am beginning to know!

What I would definitely prefer to see added is a detailed index in the kindle version. What do I do when I want to find a poem again? Going looking back and forth can get a little tedious.

The book is all about being, in the words of the author, “Curled in a smurl of love, You and I…” A book about a love that is strong, beautiful, dreamy, yet grounded in reality, “Against The Night” is something I would love to read at least a second time, and then maybe again!

POETRY REVIEW: Cherry Blossom Days by Sandy Benitez

Title:                Cherry Blossom Days                                    Cherry Blossom days

Author:            Sandy Benitez

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About The Author 

Sandy Benitez writes poetry and short fiction. She is the founding editor of Flutter Press and Poppy Road Review. Her previous poetry micro-chapbook, The Lilac City, was published by Origami Poems Project. She’s been published in over 140 print and online literary journals since 2006 and has been nominated for Best of the Net and the Pushcart. Sandy has also authored five poetry chapbooks and has been published in five anthologies. She’s always been intrigued by the paranormal, forests, gardens, and abandoned buildings. Sandy currently resides in Southern California with her husband and two children.


Book Blurb

Cherry Blossom Days, by Sandy Benitez, is a collection of lyrical love poems; a love story that unfolds within the season of Spring infused with memories of the Pacific Northwest and Asian imagery.


The Review

Cherry Blossom Days is a beautiful love story written in soft, lyrical poems that do not fail to touch hearts even after many readings.

The journey of love has been documented through the use of imagery of nature. The theme of seasons and plants in various stages of their growth runs through the entire book. The poems talk of love being born, the difficulties that the couple goes through together, of waiting and meeting, and of the insecurities that, at times, live in the hearts of lovers. The lovely scenes created by the poet make them come alive in our minds and leaves the reader with a sense of gentle contentment.

The book is full of lovely metaphors and images of nature at its most beautiful, even in its decline. My personal favourite is the second poem of the book, “The Path of a Pearl.”

Cherry Blossom Days has both short and slightly longer love poems interspersed by Haikus. The tone of the book is conversational, and the poems lyrical. At a couple of places, I felt that the poems have been broken into paragraphs that serve no purpose greater than structure, but the book, otherwise, is almost perfect in its content and presentation.

An easy read, with gentle and loving poetry, the book has a very Asian feel to it in its imagery, but the emotions woven through it are timeless and pure. I would recommend this for a short, feel-good, weekend read that would surely bring a smile to your lips.

POETRY REVIEW: Insomniacs, We by J. Andrew Schrecker

insomniacs, we (cover)

Title:              Insomniacs, We                                             

Author:        J. Andrew Schrecker

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About The Author

J. Andrew Schrecker was born in Owensboro, Kentucky. He is the author of Post-Millennium Rhapsody and Insomniacs, We.


Book Blurb

Insomniacs compose grocery lists and manifestos, a phoenix lies charred in its own ashes, and shadows hide in corners, afraid of themselves. In this decade-spanning volume of poetry, J. Andrew Schrecker blends surrealism, observation, and personal confession to paint a portrait of heartache and longing in recession-torn America.


The Review

“Insomniacs, we” by J. Andrew Schrecker is a book of poems written between 2005 and 2017, and in the words of the author, meant for the restless generation. Very relatable poetry whose tone perfectly complements the words is the USP of “Insomniacs, We”.

The title of the book is very intriguing. The beautiful epigraph, which incidentally has quotes that I love, and the very interesting poem titles in the Table of Contents got me reading eagerly.

The opening poem, very aptly titled “Insomniacs, We” is a great introduction to the insomniacs, the creators who look at the world with a different set of eyes than everyman.

I love the general tone of the book which is just right for the content. The poems are not rhymed or have a traditional poetic structure. They are more paragraphs of thought, but they work very well for this collection.

The word pictures created by the poet are stunning. Some of my favourites are:

The urges swelling up inside
me—to delete every contact
from my phone, to smash
my head against a brick wall. (Americana)

I hunch
over a desk better suited for
a child, a bad comedian for
an audience of none,
your classmates away on
a trip. (Thoughts Adrift)

And yet here I am, restless and
alone in the same bed I’ve
always slept in, my inadequacies
and failures not so photogenic. (Scarlett O’Hara)

The stark contrast depicted by Schrecker in the poem “Everything” shows his mastery over words.

There is something strangely gripping in the turmoil depicted by the poet. Many of the thoughts are not happy but never depressing, almost carrying a matter-of-fact acceptance that is at once troubling and alluring. The book is full of stories in grey…not light, yet not touching darkness. Though for me the cover was not too inviting, the book itself turned out to be a very absorbing read. I would certainly love to read his other poetry collection as well.

POETRY REVIEW: A Woman’s Story-Her Prerogative Spoken Through His Words By Derrick Graham

Title:                A Woman’s Story                                                              a woman's story pic

                          Her Prerogative Spoken Through His Words                                          

Author:          Derrick Graham

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About The Author

Derrick was born in Huntsville, AL. In 1992, he joined the United States Navy. During his 20 year career, he served with the Marines and the Seabees. He’s also been deployed to the Mediterranean, Japan, and Afghanistan. In August 2014, he graduated from Grantham University with his Bachelor of Science Degree in Business Administration. In September 2016, he graduated from Grantham University with his Business Leadership Certificate. In October 2016, his first poetry collection was published entitled Heartfelt Moments: Treasures of the Heart. This book was written to help veterans and their families develop possible coping mechanisms for handling an array of problematic issues. It also has a message for everyone even if they didn’t have an affiliation with the military. Derrick currently resides in Huntsville, AL with his wife Felesha.


Book Blurb

I am strong and liberated and difficult to understand. I am determined in my agenda no different than a man. If I see something I want, I’ll watch then I’ll see if he is definitely the man that’s perfect for me. Derrick Graham’s A Woman’s Story takes the reader on a journey of love, confusion, motivation, and tearful moments. Each climatic experience reveals a message that strives for stability in life and relationships. Although it is spoken through his words, it illustrates it’s not easy being a woman.


The Review

A Woman’s Story (Her Prerogative Spoken Through His Words) By Derrick Graham is a journey through the life and heart of a woman at various points in her life as she sometimes smiles and sometimes struggles to make sense of the world and her situation in it.

The poems are written in the first person by the woman (in whose voice Derrick Graham is speaking) The book, that is almost like a diary of a woman, is a good mix of poems of gravity, and those in a lighter vein. Some talk of incidents, some of feelings and others of her own shortcomings, as she sees them.

What stands out is the poetic introduction and ending to the book where the poet speaks to the reader in a poem.

The poetry here spills the words hidden in the heart of a woman, as a man sees it, and that makes them different from the other books where the man or the woman is speaking for himself or herself.

Some of the parts that I found very appealing are

Until you become a mother
You won’t know what they’ve been through (from Being A Good Mother)

You don’t appreciate a good thing
Until it finally leaves you  (from Good Thing)

When I write a poem
They always seem to rhyme


When I write a poem
My mind and soul are free
It allows for more familiarization
For myself to get to know me (from When I Write a Poem)

I Return the Favor is a particularly touching piece for its feelings.

If you are looking for poetry with a simplicity of language, an inspiring, conversational tone and feelings that many women will identify with, read this very nicely put-together collection from Derrick Graham.

POETRY REVIEW: Moon Dreams by Mark Kloss

Title:                Moon Dreams                                             41RM-SndWlL

Author:            Mark Kloss

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About The Author

Mark Kloss is a London born business and family man, who has always had the innermost dream of writing and having others enjoy his stories. After his son’s huge success in the self-publishing game, he thought he better step it up a few gears and get his work out to the public.

Now published are ‘Game Hunter,’ and its sequel ‘Showtime,’ a young adult novel set in a dystopian zombie future.

‘It’s a Funny Thing Life,’ a poetry book of love, loss and inspiration and ‘Rioting Against the Odds,’ a poetry book of adventure and fantasy.


Book Blurb

Once again, in Moon Dreams, Mark’s soulful and uplifting poems have given perfect rhythm to the love, adventure and trials of the life we share. Like Mark’s previous book, It’s A Funny Thing, Life, each poem is easy to read and a joy to follow.

From the fishermen’s battle with nature’s raging sea, to the dark rider’s race through the forest to save his true love, his beautiful words reach into our hearts, as they first reached into his.

Most were written after the day had finished its watch, some into the late hours of night when the pace of life had slowed. And so, he offers you his latest set of poems to help you dream, if just a for a short while, of other lives and times, with the help of the moon’s friendly eye.


The Review

As the name suggests, Moon Dreams is a book set mostly in the last part of the day and the poet wishes to create a setting where you can dream under the mellow light of the moon. The simplicity and honesty of the emotions portrayed give the book its appeal.

The book opens onto beautiful word-images that Mark has created. Every poem is a wonderful story, the words are expressive, the rhyme perfect and the pictures created take the reader to the scene in an instant.

The evening sun soft on trees
Draws in its yellow heat.
Fruits on which sparrows feed
Are full, ripe and sweet.

The smell of damp and muddied leaf
Mixed with the swirling living mist
Caused the beast to grind its teeth,
“Steady there,” the rider hissed.

These lines are just a beginning and an example of the poet’s exceptional skill with words. The poetry is complemented with equally fabulous sketches that add to the charm of the book. I could point out a lot more, but I don’t want to paste his whole book here.

An easy read, overflowing with emotions and artistry, this is a must-have book for every poetry lover. All I would like to say is, “this is my kind of poetry and I love it!”

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