50/50 Chance of Monster Love!
by Rochelle Baxter

"I told you, ‘I wanted to be with you forever.’
You told me, ‘I will always be your little twinkle star.’"

Baxter’s poetry compilation encompasses the various shades of love, ranging from the intense and passionate flame of intimate love to the pangs of unrequited love, and from the unrivaled love of parenthood to the love of service through teaching. Though there is no concrete rhyme scheme within the poetry, the poet does an effective job of using repetition to emphasize a particular point. The example that jumps off the page is the final line of most poems, “The rest is history,” which creatively ties together the entire compilation as one collective voice and journey rather than a set of individual poems.

The playful energy of a frolicking romance is on full display in the love-based poetry. In particular, “Superhero Love” and “Shy Monster!” utilize figurative language like similes, metaphors, and imagery to paint a vivid portrait of sitting by the stars and taking in the smell of warm vanilla sugar, or being intoxicated by a face that “looked like toasted almonds” or hands that “felt like butter.” As the poetry progresses, certain poems like “An Angel in Disguise” take on a starkly different tone, allowing the speaker to showcase a humanitarian side focused on a desire to educate and provide love to all beings. Perhaps the most compelling of all is “Two Beating Hearts!” which highlights the unprecedented feeling of having a life within you, and how it helps exorcise even the worst of demons that an individual might have.

The image of stars is emblematic of Baxter’s passion for stargazing. Through this, audiences are exposed to her naturally optimistic nature, despite the adverse conditions that might come her way. Living with positivity and energy versus living in an unchangeable past is central to this collection and is also what makes this a meaningful read.

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