I don’t read much poetry, and I read even less inspirational literature, so this is a twofer for my Not My Wheelhouse square.
I feel like I’ve been asked to review The Room. As a comedy, this book gets 1000/5 stars (skip to the end for some schadenfreude). As a deep work of inspirational poetry, zero stars and I want the half hour this took me to read back. There is a reason poetry is out of my wheelhouse, it can be amazing or a haven for people who feel like fewer words means you have to think less about what you write. That title isn’t poorly formatted (at least by me), the author has just mistaken random capitalization for style.
In the first few pages, my first thought was that it reminded me of that inspirational quote generator profiled on This American Life, but the inspirobot at least uses original if bizarre metaphors. “Don’t you think that heartbeats can be a blessing in disguise if we learn to think outside the box?” is actually more poetic than anything in this book, which is hilarious because the author actually calls something in his own poem “a beautiful metaphor” IN THE POEM. Go on, guess which is from the book and which is from inspirobot.
“she emerged from the darkness like a wolf filled with lightning”
“women are the fingerprint of strength”
“use your eyes like ears to hear this truthful melody” (I actually laughed out loud at this one)
“you’re tired of the betrayal of those that don’t deserve passage upon your heart’s bridge”
“I swear to you women like her lit the moon”
Trick question, they’re all from the book.
Other gems: “I miss you almost like the desert misses the rain” (Almost step off the train, I’m nearly walking down your street again, close to past your door, but you might not live there anymore…). Plagiarism doesn’t count if you take the punch out of the words by adding modifiers! “you are a golden moon / in a darkened sky / you are the light that lives / without the presence of the sun.” That’s literally how the moon glows. IT REFLECTS THE SUN. GO BACK TO THIRD GRADE. “you are not fabric / do not let him try you on” has to be a first draft (and that’s the entire poem. Two lines that don’t make sense. You try on clothes, not fabric. What the actual hell?)
On a more serious note, this would just be laughable garbage with meaningless platitudes and weak inspiration (lots of “know your worth, you’re too good for that man” type stuff) but this guy is SOOOOO self important and a serious “nice guy.” One poem, presented in its entirety: “all my critics are underachievers.” I mean, I do love my Netflix, but that’s pretty impressive that he knows that. The inspirational stuff is the same kind of blanket statement – (“I don’t know who you are but you’re beautiful and perfect” kind of encouragement only means anything if it’s specific or directed at someone in particular and all of this stuff is general). There’s a lot of “women should like me and not that guy who’s cheating on them” entitlement, and the empowerment reads shallow because all the condemnation of other men is implied to be in contrast to our author who thinks everyone with XX chromosomes is pure unadulterated shining light. There is an actual poem about how Sylvia Plath and Marilyn Monroe committed suicide BECAUSE THEY HADN’T BEEN ABLE TO READ OUR AUTHOR’S WORDS ARE YOU EFFING KIDDING ME? That is so delusional I’m almost impressed! Sylvia Plath had children, but she just needed to hear “atta girl, Ted Hughes has bad hair and morning breath” from this rando. I’d also bet a nickel this guy has no idea who Ted Hughes is.
You’re welcome, you get all the hilarity without having had to read this dreck. Thanks to my coworker for the loan, I didn’t give this guy a dime.