Note. Direct quotes may appear differently than intended due to editing issues on this blog.
Winters’ collection is both the storm and the silver lining. It starts out well and keeps getting stronger with each poem. Immediately, we’re thrown into a sea of darkness with the poem “Undrowned”, struggling to find ways to stay afloat. It sets out the tone of intensity that is to be expected throughout the collection. In Duologies, Winters writes:
is the part in the nightmare when you wake up
just before you hit the ground”
(Duologies, p. 22)
I loved these lines because they portray a perfect juxtaposition, the danger of falling is intertwined with the hope of healing. This is what delineates the collection; the interplay of fighting to survive.
It’s a perfect balance of resilience and strength in the midst of darkness. These following lines show that so well:
“No one ever taught me how to tie a noose,
but no one ever taught me how to heal, either.
This is learning curve beginning with exit wound.”
(Battlefield, p. 30)
There’s a sense of hopelessness but also of hope, in a way that the person is stuck between two possibilities without any help or direction. I also felt a few waves of loneliness, but at the same time, there are strong vibes of independence. We’re all alone to face decisions, the difficulties, the attempts to heal and get better. It centres to the person and the being rather than the surrounding environment. In these poems, I kept finding the reasons to standing back up and fighting, amidst all the pain.
I had to include one of my favourite poems in this review. There’s something about these lines from “Here / Where You Are” that I found to be just perfect:
“ she said i don’t think i’ll ever understand you
just text me when you get home safe okay
i wanted to say what do you mean
i wanted to say i’m already here”
(Here / Where You Are, p. 38)
I’m already here. Winters found a beautiful way to write about, to what I assume, an unrequited love. It’s romantic yet painful.
Throughout the collection, Winters plays with spacing and format, and she commands the language to serve her poems. It’s one of those things in which I enjoy in poetry. All in all, it was a pleasure to read and would definitely recommend others to check out this collection
I received a free eBook copy in exchange for an honest review