Purple Heart
by Nefy

"The days are difficult and miserable
Not because there is poverty, but because there isn’t."

This collection documents brief encounters with the self and with humanity, and it captures one writer’s ten-year journey through self-discovery and self-awareness. Lengthier poems such as “My Choices” and “Gerascophobia” provoke rumination about one’s brief existence and the modern world’s fear of aging. One-sentence, rapid-fire poems like “Color Me” and “Mind games” invoke a spirit of confident selfhood, while Zen-like, two-sentence poems such as “Equality” serve as a call for individualism in the face of adversity.

The book fuses vivid color photography with the poetry to show the internal—and external—struggle of reaching peace with one’s self, one’s existence, and one’s place by exploring the juxtapositions, contradictions, and parallels humans face in everyday challenges and existence. Other prolific poems in the collection such as “The Con of Man” reflect on humankind’s struggle to co-exist with nature, particularly agriculture, and the personal, generational, and universal consequences of that struggle. The poem “Cloud Messenger” portrays a kinder, savior-like nature which acts as a conduit that sends messages from one human to another.

While the book’s longer, rhyming poems like “All She Needs” and “Leap of Faith” may not appeal to those who prefer more philosophical and experimental pieces, this collection is a brief, insightful read for those who are just beginning their own journey into the reading, analysis, or writing of poetry. The book’s balance of poems and photography provides a threefold experience: the reading of the actual poetry, the visceral observance of the photography, and then the fusion of the two that enhances some of the less noticeable poems like “Child” in the collection. The author’s book is part social commentary, part philosophical reflection, and part individualistic manifesto. Readers of Yrsa Daley-Ward, Rupi Kaur, and Nikita Gill will not be disappointed with this offering.

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