"I find warmth in the illusions"

Characterized by the short verse found in some of Robert Bly’s light lyrics or the more modern style of Instagram poets like Rupi Kaur, Black’s book of verse offers brief explorations on her personal experience as a young woman. The works range from two to three-line quips to those that fill a full page, with most averaging about the length of a sonnet. The verse is predominantly free-verse, though there is an occasional use of end rhyme. The poems focus much more on the abstract language of thoughts and feelings than on the concrete, visual imagery of mental pictures. In tone, the pieces are easily accessible to the average reader and won’t confuse with literary jargon.

Black’s focus on basic emotions speaks a common language to a world where nearly everyone has had a first love, a heartbreak, sadness, moments of self-doubt, etc. The vague language will allow some readers to insert their own stories between the lines; however, the lack of concrete imagery and specific, detailed experiences does little to pull a reader into the small, shared bit of reality the poet attempts to create. One of the characteristics which made confessional poets such as Lowell or Plath so moving and inviting was their ability to share minute, detailed moments with all the beauty and ugliness intact and yet imbue those moments with a universal human theme. Black’s verse is not quite there yet, but some of the poet’s best lines are ones that begin to tell the story, such as “Sometimes I break things / Glass / Habits / Trust/ Just to see that I can.” Readers looking to open a poetry collection to a random page and, in a glance, find a relatable emotion may enjoy this collection.

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