Book/Author and Year Published: The Chaos of Longing by k.y. robinson (2016)

Reviewer: Jeriann

Age/Genre: Poetry

Preferred Reading Environment: The bathtub

Reading Accoutrements: Lots of bubbles and pretty-smelling things

Content Notes: Sexual Assault, Racism

Having a husband that works at the library definitely has perks! Once in a while, my husband brings home a poetry collection that catches his eye while checking in books at work. The most recent collection is The Chaos of Longing by k.y. robinson. Before I decided to read the whole thing, Michael read a couple to me out loud, so I knew there were some pretty intense love poems in here. 

This is a collection of personal poems, mostly centering around the author’s emotions and love life. She talks about her experiences as a black woman, and analyzes her patterns of behavior in relationships. Some individual poems made me uncomfortable because they just illustrated unhealthy habits without necessarily calling them out, but I feel like as a whole, the collection is very self-aware, and these poems function to hold the author accountable.

Topics covered include love, loss of love, lust, longing for someone other than your current lover, having an affair with someone who is taken, repeating harmful behavior patterns, the ways skin color affects people’s perceptions, and more. 

Many of these poems could have been written after a therapy session, or as a form of coping during an emotionally challenging experience. Some of these poems are very explicit, using vivid imagery to describe sexual relations, her body, and the bodies of her lovers. 

The Chaos of Longing is a great collection to read if you’re in the mood to really think about poetry. There were poems I loved, and others that I didn’t enjoy as much, but all of them gave me a chance to think about what I really liked and disliked. Collections like this make me feel like a better poem-reader, because they allow me to analyze what poetic devices I appreciate and which ones fall a bit flat for me. 

I’m glad I was able to sit down and read through this whole collection; it’s the kind of book that makes me want to read more poetry. I’ll be looking up the author in the future, as I’m very interested in seeing more of her work. It looks like she released a few collections this year, so I’m in luck! 

What’s a collection of poetry you like to return to?

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