DEAR YOU, I DARE YOU by Nasheema S. Dixon

DEAR YOU, I DARE YOU

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Debut author Dixon offers a poetry collection that doubles as a self-help book.

Positive thinking, encouragement, and faith form the basis of these free-verse poems by a New York City–based poet. It begins with “A Letter to Myself,” which, along with a later pair of poems, “I Dare You to Begin” and “Start Today,” push readers to take the first steps toward their own goals. “Untitled” and “Short Letter to Pride” ask judgmental people to reconsider their behavior, in line with the golden rule. Family-focused poems explore healthy boundaries and the legacy of fatherlessness (the author is a single mother). In “Mommy, I’m Watching You,” the speaker recounts efforts to change her life in order to be a better role model for her daughter. Toxic romantic and platonic relationships take center stage in “I Dare You to Walk Away” and in “Mean Girls,” in which the speaker warns “Love is blind, / In friendships too. / We often deal with those we knew / for longer than we need to.” Simple illustrations, reflective of the content, are sprinkled among the poems and include images of pregnancy as well as empowerment symbols, such as a crown and a butterfly. Dixon’s poetry is unstructured, other than the fact that it uses stanza formatting and occasional rhymes; the most complex are a pair of haikus. Inconsistent capitalization and punctuation, as well as intermittent profanity throughout, may detract from the reading experience for some. Self-help aficionados, however, will likely be attracted to many of the author’s maxims, such as “Just because you have an excuse it / doesn’t mean you are excused” and “Solve the problem before adding another factor to the equation.” Dixon excels in the most personal and descriptive poems, such as the lusty “I Want”—the strongest work here, and one of the few in which the author uses truly original similes: “I want it boiling hot / Tonight I want to scream / As loud as the whistle / Blows on the teapot.”

An uneven set of simple and mostly uplifting verses.

Pub Date: April 17th, 2018
ISBN: 978-1-73211-770-9
Page count: 102pp
Publisher: Dear You
Program: Kirkus Indie
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