Thank you to Guernica Editions for providing me with a copy of the book to review.
I think 3.5 is a more accurate rating for this book because, although I loved it and there are so many things that can be taken out of each poem, not every single one of them spoke to me. Usually you know what stuck in your memory when someone asks what comes to mind when you think of a book. In this case, when I think back to reading Reaching V I think of mangos, sea salt and geese, a bizarre combination at first glance yet will be clear to anyone once you read this book.
True to its title Reaching V combines what it means to travel and the innate human desire of being at home which is compared to the travelling of geese. Even more amazing is how this is transmitted through so many voices and characters, whether you’re experiencing life through the eyes of a blooming adolescent girl or Feng Shui-ing your room. The poems are melodic in their own way which is why some were much easier to slip into and wear their skin than it was with others. My favourite section of the book would have to be the first one, titled “Goose, Plummeting”, which deals a lot with the aspect of travel and foreign juxtaposed with the familiar home. But it’s within every single one of these poems that you will find littered beautiful images of things like sunny mango, geese, and monks. It’s a book that has much to offer for any kind of reader as long as they look not just at the beauty on the outside but the steady beat that pulses through the whole book.
It’s hard to judge, which is why I will say that the only reason why I didn’t give this a higher rating was because I couldn’t connect with every poem. Some didn’t touch me on the same level, the imagery didn’t create the same complete atmosphere the way it did in other poems. But this shouldn’t come across as discouragement, rather as opposite of that. Because of the wide diversity of the poems and the ways in which the subject is approached there will be something for everyone to enjoy, which is why I recommend this to anyone who catches a glimpse of this book, whether online or physically on the shelf of a bookstore.
It’s been a while since a poetry book has surprised me in such a pleasant way, especially in the way which it approaches its theme/topic. I don’t remember encountering such wide diversity, as well as the refreshing format of the poems themselves. A definite recommended read to any poetry lover, and anyone who is considering giving poetry a chance – this book would act as a perfect introduction into the genre with its balance of playfulness and seriousness, a journey which you know will always take you back home with an open mind and bursting heart.