Please Don't Go Before I Get Better: Poems by Madisen Kuhn

That title. I am a sucker for a title like that. My favorite poems tend to be those that are a little raw by nature. They tend to break my heart a little. I’ve rarely been one for a happy poem. That title drew me right in to a collection I knew I’d enjoy.

As a format, I would not turn again to audiobook for poetry. I imagine that most people don’t and that’s why Read Harder chose this particular combination for task 8. That part, I pretty much hated. I resisted going back and reading the poems and seeing them and their measure and all the beautiful intricacies that can be a part of poetry outside of the words. I resisted because the collection was read by the author and had a rather interesting afterword that talked about the events that the collection discusses. I wanted to sit with it for a minute before writing the review. Then I decided that since the audiobook was the challenge, I’d let it sit for the review too. I’ll probably go back and look through the poems some other time. It feels a little weird, a little icky, to only have interacted with them in audiobook. I never have this feeling with prose work, but poetry just doesn’t sit right.

That said, the collection still did what I knew it would do. It still took me through the motions of pains that are not mine. I’m not otherwise one of those people who wallow in pain that is not mine or try to live off of someone else’s tragedy, not since I realized that was what I was doing and became entirely disgusted with myself over it. I just feel like poetry let’s me off the hook a little. Poetry is meant to make me feel on that level. Poets use every trick of literature and language to ignite some spark into places where we don’t normally sympathize. I have never enjoyed love poems, but something else happens when there is that little tinge of loss there.

Just writing this makes me feel like a bit of a sadist, but that’s not the point. This collection delivers on that feeling but it also leaves the reader in another place with it by the last few poems. They tell a whole story, almost like a memoir in poetry, that moves to a place of healing, and I especially appreciated that. Though my first instinct is to say that though this is good, I didn’t find it as polished as amanda lovelace or rupi kaur, I also read their work and am not sure if this disparity is more about the audiobook format. I know I won’t do that again unless specifically challenged to do so and probably come back around to an author I know I like already.

As far as Read Harder goes, I’d definitely recommend it as the collection to listen to for others, along with my favorites. Add it to your Goodreads or Litsy TBR.

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