This book of poetry reads mostly like a prose fiction story, but not as prose poetry (there is a subtle difference). I am assuming that Taking to Water by Jennifer Conlon is fiction, however, as the protagonist of the book is a woman disliking themselves, their body, their gender and all that is associated with that, and I have not found anything that said Conlon went on that journey themselves (please let me know if I have interpreted this incorrectly).
The themes of water (positive, negative, even erotic), fish/nature, and gender (the role it plays in families, how male-father figures treat the narrator, and a poem that tells how the narrator did not open their eyes right away “as if they didn’t want to see themselves yet” ) and perhaps a few more. I am not sure of all of them as I was not halfway finished and had to stop. Not because the work was bad, but because it went “there.”
I am not really a prude but I admit, I am a bit conservative with language when it comes to sexual descriptions. I like certain things used at certain times. And a use of a word made the poetic atmosphere disappear. The poetry was flowing and was calm, but also intense. It was like the water it had been describing. And the symbolic use of fish and other animals that can change gender allowed for that theme to come into play naturally. The poem Church ruined things for me when they used pu$$y for vagina. I have nothing against that word, it just grabbed me and tossed me out of things.
I knew that religion was going to play a part (the publisher descriptions said, there was a lead up to it within the text) but it felt too aggressive and not real to the tone. With that said, what I read before that was good, and it should be read. Perhaps things were too emotional at the time (a lot had recently happened, and subconsciously that plays a part, plus, there are some serously emotionally graphic poems). I think I need to step back and start over with that poem, or as this was read as an online reader copy, I might need to physically read it. Due October 2023.