Book Reviews: 5 Poetry Anthologies

I ordered five poetry books from Indigo during their boxing week sale, and I just went on a binge and read them all in the span of four days.

The books, in the order that I read them, are:

Our Numbered Days, by Neil Hilborn
Helium, by Rudy Francisco
Chasers of the Light, by Tyler Knott Gregson
Depression & Other Magic Tricks, by Sabrina Benaim, and
Adultolesence, by Gabbie Hanna

I decided that since they are all fairly quick reads and I likely wouldn’t have enough to say to do a full post review for each, I would do a big post on all of them at once.

Without further ado, here we go with the poetry books!

First: Our Numbered Days, by Neil Hilborn

I first discovered Neil Hilborn on Facebook. One of my friends shared a video of him performing his poem, “OCD.” It is amazing, and is shared in several places. This book is sponsored by Button Poetry, which I think is where the performance I saw was originally shared from.

Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy his book of poetry as much as I’d hoped to. In fact, “OCD” was my favourite poem in it. I fully acknowledge the possibility that his poetry is all meant to be spoken, and that reading it from a page does not do it justice. Alas, that’s what I did.

I did, however, like that his poetry had a lot of references to other writers. It was really interesting to see how he incorporated their work into his poetry, and made it his own,.

Favourite poem: “OCD.”

Overall, 3/5 stars. An interesting read, but not as soul-crushing or inspirational as watching him perform “OCD.”

Second: Helium, by Rudy Francisco.

This was partly a cover buy, and I partly bought it because Indigo recommended it and I trust them.

Favourite poem: “My Honest Poem.”

Francisco writes killer metaphors. My favourite poem from this book is direct evidence of that.

I also really liked that his poems addressed topics such as the environment, race, and politics.

Overall, 4/5 stars.

Third: Chasers of the Light, by Tyler Knott Gregson.

I had already read one of Gregson’s other poetry books, All the Words are Yours, before purchasing this one. I really enjoyed it, and this one was no different.

Favourite poem (Gregson doesn’t title his poem, so I’ve just included the whole thing):

“If I died tonight
I think I
would like to come back
as your morning
coffee.
Just as strong
and just
as necessary.”

One thing I didn’t enjoy about this book was that it felt repetitive. However, he writes his poems on a typewriter on top of found paper and they are very visually interesting, which adds to the appeal of reading the poetry for me.

Overall, 3/5 stars.

Fourth: Depression and Other Magic Tricks, by Sabrina Benaim

Favourite poem: “nature versus nurture.”

I really liked the way that Sabrina put a voice to her depression. It felt relatable in a way that mental illness doesn’t ways feel.

I did find that some of the poems were a bit meandering and not quite catching or impactful enough for my liking.

Overall, 3/5 stars.

Fifth: Adultolescence, by Gabbie Hanna.

Favourite poem: “Worry.”

This book of poetry is hilarious. The “advice” poems running through it add a great thematic thread and are very funny. The drawings really add to the poetry. Also, each poem never feels too long or circuitous like some of the poems in a couple of the other books were.

At times it felt a little too Sesame Street, with its funny rhymes, but most of the time that aspect of it was humourous endearing.

Overall, 4/5 stars.

Out of all the books, I’d say my favourite was Helium, closely followed by Adultolescence.

Happy reading!

– Paperback Patronus

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