The red cover, that simple cursive spelling out love and the illustration of a girl with full bangs was enough to make me cross the aisles to the display shelf at my favorite bookstore. Even the alliteration in the author’s name was amusing enough for me to purchase the book. I didn’t however buy it at the time I saw it. But it haunted me and in my experience the only real way to get rid of your ghosts is to face them head on. So, I did pick up the book and decided to read it.
I didn’t expect it to be poetry. At first that scared me. Love poem. Love poems scare me. But then I remembered my favorite poets who were able to make me enjoy love poems, I decided to give this a chance. While reading the book, the look and feel reminded of something. Yes the cover and the binding were new, but the type (the fonts), the way the lines broke and even the little index at the end was reminiscent of something. As I ran through my own little mind palace, I was reminded of this pink hard bound book of poetry I loved. Lang Leav’s layout was reminiscent of Emily Dickinson’s volume of collected poems. I wouldn’t say they are exactly the same, but the similarities in the presentation are uncanny, as seen below.
I don’t know if Leav consciously decided on this similarity. Of the little I know of the author from her page, she does love Emily Dickinson. Lang Leav’s Love and Misadventure is divided into three parts: Part 1: Misadventure, Part 2: The Circus of Sorrow and Part 3: Love. It’s the hit and misses, the broken heart and finally finding love again that is mapped out into tiny poems and prose poems that makes this poem almost like a story. To those who have fallen in and out of love, none of this is new, but sometimes in the hands of a poet, these experiences can be a tad more bitter or far sweeter than any of us can articulate.
Here are some of those poems.
The writing style, to my amateur poetic eye is similar to that of Dickinson. The way the lines are broken, the word choices, and even the pattern of the rhyme remind me of Dickinson. This is not to say it is a rip off of the poetess, but I would say it must be in some ways inspired by it. I have always loved Dickinson and her poetry in its less fluid rhythm. Its imagery has always given me a strange, funny and light feeling, and in many ways so does Lang Leav’s book of poetry. Below is an example of Leav’s and Dickinson’s poems to give you an idea by what I mean by ‘similarity’ in treatment/expression.
In some poems I enjoyed the alliteration, the imagery and the whole theme in terms of its originality. Some poems, I found too trite in its word play. Nonetheless, it is wonderful to see such works selling like hotcakes in book stores and the whole collection is cohesive and the poetry accessible to everyone who has ‘been there, done that.’
And since its almost Valentine’s, it’s a little book worth snuggling with this time of the year. Should you worry that it’s “POETRY,” don’t. I think the author has done a wonderful job in making each poem speak easily to our hearts without us worrying about the ‘inner meanings’ of the work. After all, poetry is not the language of the mind, but that of the soul.