Book Review: We Like Feelings. We Are Serious. by Julie McIsaac

April was Poetry Month and I was lucky enough to win a giveaway organised by Wolsak & Wynn Publishers. I chose the collection written by Julie McIsaac We Like Feelings. We Are Serious. as the blurb sounded interesting and the comments on the cover of the book were positive.

Genre: Poetry

Blurb:

In a powerful combination of prose poems, graphica, lyric poems and lyric essays, Julie McIsaac’s new book is at once fiercely political, intimate and hilarious. We Like Feelings. We Are Serious. is an exploded view of contemporary feminism, sex, loss, beauty myths, self-doubt, psychology, menstruation, resistance, family and love. Intellectually dazzling, emotionally lavish and allergic to bullshit, this is a book that is timely, refreshing and wholly original.

My thoughts:

This collection is divided into the different eras of feminism: from post-activism to the current experience. Mostly the voice of the writing is that of a woman – a rebelling woman, a young woman, a woman who finds herself in a marriage. The few times a man’s voice is used, it is to highlight the way in which women are often viewed.

There were a few poems that I enjoyed in the collection. They spoke to my experience and I understood them. I got the references to women’s lives and the symbols the poet had used. However, there were many more pieces that I did not understand, or see what she was referring to. The words made no sense to me no matter how many times I read them. McIsaac’s writing will not reach everybody as not all readers will grasp what it is she is saying. I do feel that this is an unfortunate downfall of the collection.

I was a little disappointed when I opened the book to see that not all pieces are poetry. Many pieces are prose – and a couple are written as a screenplay. Some of the graphics make an interesting addition to the collection. However, the repetition of one particular graphic did annoy me and was, I believe, a little overdone.

Even though I enjoyed reading some of the pieces in We Like Feelings. We Are Serious. the pieces I did not understand or get the references to ruined my overall impression of the book.

I give this poetry collection ⭐️⭐️ 2 stars.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This novel was the 36th in my book pledge for 2019)

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A Poem by Julie McIsaac

I was fortunate to win a giveaway for National Poetry Month held by Wolsak & Wynn Publishers. I chose to receive the poetry collection written by Julie McIsaac.

Many of the pieces encourage me to think – about what has been written, and about how the poem reflects my own experience. I share one of the pieces with you:

“They took the bus downtown and when they arrived they sat next to a great fountain. They threw pennies in and made wishes. Then they clipped their hair and planted it in the dirty weeds that sprouted through the concrete next to where the fountain was built. They made more wishes. They thought future. She said nothing. (p14, Wolsak & Wynn, 2018)

The pieces in this collection are definitely raw and to the point. I still have many to read and know that they will not be easy reading.

What do you think of the extract I shared?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post is linked to Ambrosia’s Teaser Tuesdays at The Purple Booker)

Companionship

We were made to be social.

To live in a community,

To support one another:

Emotionally, spiritually, physically.

Yet we go our own way.

Solitary.

Alone.

Our thoughts, our hopes, our dreams

Our own. .

We were made to be social.

Instead we suffer in the quiet of our own home,

Longing for a connection to others,

spiralling into the abyss of depression,

Our thoughts pushing us over the edge.

We were made to be social.

To love one another, to laugh, to hug,

To be part of a community.

Surrounded by others,

We are one entity awash in the sea of humanity

Seeking cohesion.

We were made to be social

And in being so will be able to heal ourselves.

(I wrote this thinking how, in a large city, we are surrounded by people and yet are so alone. We are living in an era where depression is prevalent and yet, I believe, it would not be so if people were not so alone and had the companionship of others). 

Are you social? In what ways do you spend time with others?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2019

(This post is linked to Linda G. Hill’s Just Jot It January challenge. The prompt Companioship)

Mom

You carried me for 9 months,

Protected me from harm.

You cradled me in infancy,

Gave me your love, warmth, being.

You picked me up when I fell,

Encouraged me to explore and meet those moments that

Amazed me,

Grew me,

Became a part of who I am.

You celebrated my joys,

Cried with me,

Comforted me,

Wished me well.

You gave me your love with no conditions and no paybacks.

You are the embodiment of Love.

You are Mom,

And I love you.

I wish all fantastic Mother’s a Happy Mother’s Day this Sunday. Especially my mom who lives so far away and whom I miss everyday. 

Five-Minute-Friday-badge© Colline Kook-Chun, 2017

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: mom) 

Surrender Yourself

Surrender yourself to the moment:

To the textures, the sights, the sounds.

Surrender yourself to the moment:

To the emotions, the pain, the joy, the sorrow.

Surrender yourself to the moment

And live the life you have been given

To the fullest.

Experience every

Nuance,

Smile,

Heartache,

Obstacle,

Moment of achievement.

Surrender yourself to the moment

And your life will be one with no regrets.

Surrender yourself.

Do you find it easy to surrender yourself to life?

Five-Minute-Friday-badge© Colline Kook-Chun, 2016

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: surrender)

Follow Your Heart

Do you follow your heart each day?

When you feed the kids; do the chores; sit on the train to go to work.

Do you follow your heart each day?

When you listen to the complaints of co-workers; or care for an elderly parent.

Do you follow your heart each day?

When the bills wait to be paid; and deadlines need to be met.

Do you follow your heart each day?

Or does duty, responsibility, being an adult, wear you down.

Grab onto something:

A dream, a wish, a desire,

And work to make it reality.

Follow your heart each day

And you will find the contentment you look for,

A sense of achievement and fulfilment.

Follow your heart each day.

Five-Minute-Friday-badgeDo you follow a dream, wish, or desire?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2015

(This post was inspired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: Follow)

Day 20: Fear

It was fear that brought us to this place so far away from home.
Fear of crime,
Fear of injury,
Fear of death.
It was fear that drove us to move away,
Far away,
From the imbalances that affect our country’s security.
It was fear for our children’s lives,
Fear for their future,
That drove us to fly across the world.
It was fear for our children that motivated us,
Each and every day,
To not give up.
To struggle.
To strive for that moment when
All we feel is hope.
Hope for the future.
Hope for the children.
And hope that it is not all in vain.

photo (10)If you have missed any of my Migrating North posts, head on over here

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was written for the FMF 31 day challenge hosted by Kate Motaung. Today’s prompt is: fear)

Spring Daffodils

As you all know, it was my daughter’s birthday party last Saturday and our living room was filled with the sound of teenage voices. Some of these girls have been friends with my daughter for many years and I have enjoyed seeing them grow up together. As they come each year to celebrate, I try to send them home each time with a little something different. “Loot bags” have contained items such as a picture book, a set of pens and crayons, costume jewellery, hair clips, and last year even a novel. I decided to go with something completely different this year – a pot of flowers.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Loot Bags ready to go. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

I went to the nursery and decided on mini daffodils. They looked bright and suggested the beauty of spring. It is still a little cold at the moment so I thought it would be a good idea to bring the warmth of the season into each young girl’s room.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Mini Daffodils. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The gifts were taken with smiles of pleasure. I did not, however, forget about my home. The few extra pots I had bought, I transferred into a bigger pot and put on my coffee table. We now have a little yellow brightness in our living room to enjoy each day.

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014
Planted mini Daffodils. © Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

The sight of Daffodils always reminds me of Wordsworth’s poem, I wandered lonely as a Cloud, that I read when I was in high school: 

I wandered lonely as a Cloud

That floats on high o’er Vales and Hills,
When all at once I saw a crowd
A host of dancing Daffodils;
Along the Lake, beneath the trees,
Ten thousand dancing in the breeze.

The waves beside them danced, but they
Outdid the sparkling waves in glee: –
A poet could not but be gay
In such a laughing company:
I gaz’d – and gaz’d – but little thought
What wealth the shew to me had brought:

For oft when on my couch I lie
In vacant or in pensive mood,
They flash upon that inward eye
Which is the bliss of solitude,
And then my heart with pleasure fills,
And dances with the Daffodils.

 William Wordsworth Poems in Two Volumes: Moods of my Mind 7 (1807)

Unlike Wordsworth, I have never seen fields of daffodils. How beautiful it must be for him to have written a poem about it, or to even remember when relaxing on his couch.

Do you enjoy the sight of Daffodils?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inspired by Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge prompt: flowers)

Are you Willing?

Five Minute Friday: RealAre you willing?

To get out of bed each morning and face the world with a smile,

To follow your daily routine without complaint,

To do your best even though all you are doing is making dinner.

Are you willing?

To hold the door open for a stranger,

To help an old woman cross an icy patch,

To look at an exhausted mother with no judgement.

Are you willing?

To do more than is asked of you,

To give love where it is needed,

To give comfort in times of distress.

Are you willing?

To help others without being asked,

To be your neighbour’s brother or sister,

To be what God has asked you to be.

Are you willing?

What actions do you take to show your willingness?

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014

(This post was inpsired by the Five Minute Friday prompt: Willing)

A Journey in Poetry

fwf kellie elmore badgeMy poetic journey has been threaded through many aspects of my life.

I remember reading poetry with our teachers at school as part of our English curriculum. There were times I did not “get it” and, on reflection, I think that was because I was young had not yet experienced all that life throws at you. However, there were poems that we read that captured my attention. The first time a poem really stood out for me was when I was in grade 7. We were doing the First World War in History and our teacher introduced us to the poetry that had been written by soldiers who had fought in the war. Wilfred Owen’s poem, Dulce et Decorum Est, struck a chord in me as I read the words describing the soldiers dying in the trenches.

English at university level introduced me to even more beautiful poetry: my favourite poet became William Blake as I explored his written words with my classmates; and the epic poem by John Milton titled Paradise Lost captured my interest. I read these poems more than once during the year I studied them and I still have their tomes gracing my bookshelves.

Now I read poetry for pleasure. I enjoy the imagery that is created in my mind, the turn of phrase, the succinct description of an emotion or event. There have been moments when I have tried my hand at writing poetic verse on a whim (some of you may have even read some of my attempts!). I have discovered that

Poetry is:

A manner of expression,

A way to create and bring pleasure.

Poetry encapsulates

A thought,

An experience,

A desire,

with words and forms that capture the mind.

Poetry reflects the world we live in,

the environment we experience.

Poetry mirrors life.

Do you enjoying reading, and even creating, poetry?

(This post was inspired by Kellie Elmore – a poet who creates beautiful imagery. Join her and her writing bandits for this week’s prompt)

© Colline Kook-Chun, 2014