A debut collection of poetry explores the many flavors of love.
Almost everyone can relate to the confusing cocktail of excitement and pain that comes from romance. As Toth writes in one poem, “my emotions; broken glass / my tears; liquid fire.” Such is the pitch of this volume of verse, which documents some of the many impulses and aggravations inspired by heartache. The book is divided into three sections: the Sour, the Savory, and the Sweet. Each comes with its own pleasures and dissatisfactions. The ironically named “happy” is found in the Sour section: “bullets / you fired at me / struck / just how you wanted them / right through / my heart / and it gave me a sense / of lust.” A few pages later comes the one-line “cycle of love”: “create then destroy.” The Savory section includes the economical “jealous”: “love is endless / and infectious / love; / restless / and out of all people / it made you jealous.” The poems in the Sweet portion strike a more conciliatory tone. The grateful narrator of “universe” admits “you found a place for me even / if i didn’t know i had one / thank you.” The next poem—titled just with a smiling emoticon, “:))))”—is as begrudgingly earnest as it is self-aware: “if it’s cliché / i don’t wanna hear it / but i love you.” The teenage author comes from the Rupi Kaur school of poetry. She writes in free verse, generally without punctuation or capitalization, giving the poems the feel of dashed off social media posts. They tend not to make an argument so much as simply offer an image or feeling—and often one without much complexity. The first poem, “he’s evil,” reads in its entirety: “his lips are sour / and his spiky hair / made from knifes / that cut deep into her soul / and he left his mark.” The poems are accompanied by simple, uncredited, hand-drawn illustrations: a sun, a bolt of lightning, a hand holding a rose. Toth succeeds in communicating the rawness of love and anger. But even within the world of Instagram poetry, there are books that display a bit more craft.
A spirited but uneven volume of poems about romance.