[Review] If The Sky Won’t Have Me by Anne Leigh Parrish, contributor Lydia Selk @PoeticBookTours

Publisher and Publication Date: Unsolicited Press. April 4, 2023.
Genre: Poetry.
Pages: 166.
Format: PDF e-book.
Source: I received a complimentary pdf copy from Poetic Book Tours and Anne Leigh Parrish. I am not required to write a positive review.
Audience: Poetry readers.
Rating: Excellent.

Poetic Book Tours

Link for the book @ Amazon.

About the Book:

The poems in If The Sky Won’t Have Me weave a brilliant tapestry of the human condition, focusing on nature, the female experience, family drama, aging, politics, and regret. Images of water feature strongly, as do rebirth and regeneration, both physical and spiritual. A perfect sequel to the author’s debut collection, the moon won’t be dared, these poems expand and deepen our understanding of what it means to be alive in a complex world.

Award-winning novelist Anne Leigh Parrish doubles down on her provocative debut poetry collection the moon won’t be dared with a new book of resonant and deeply emotional poems. If The Sky Won’t Have Me echoes with themes of love gained and lost, including relationships with family and the environment, through every stage of a woman’s growth. Recurring images of nature and water link the poems, culminating with the title poem where the poet craves rebirth in water: “If the sky won’t have me, … / I’ll stay just until clouds gather, / Rain falls again & I release myself once more.” If The Sky Won’t Have Me is filled with ringing poetic images that often read like personal parables and leave the reader wanting more. – Terry Tierney, author of The Poet’s Garage.

Satisfying. Brilliant. Necessary. A beautiful and masterfully written collection of poems whose words evoke a sense of movement that beckons us back to the page and to the places we belong. – Loic Ekinga, author of How to Wake a Butterfly.

About the Author Anne Leigh Parrish:

Anne Leigh Parrish is the author of nine previously published books: A Winter Night (Unsolicited Press 2021); What Nell Dreams, a novella & stories (Unsolicited Press, 2020); Maggie’s Ruse, a novel, (Unsolicited Press, 2017); The Amendment, a novel (Unsolicited Press, 2017); Women Within, a novel (Black Rose Writing, 2017); By the Wayside, stories (Unsolicited Press, 2017); What Is Found, What Is Lost, a novel (She Writes Press, 2014); Our Love Could Light The World, stories (She Writes Press, 2013); and All The Roads That Lead From Home, stories (Press 53, 2011.)

Visit her website.

Link to the book on GoodReads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/75676110-if-the-sky-won-t-have-me

Link to the book on Amazon: https://amzn.to/40lWUcv

Link to Unsolicited Press: https://www.unsolicitedpress.com/store/p407/iftheskywonthaveme.html

My Thoughts:

I’ve recently read three poetry books. If The Sky Won’t Have Me is my favorite of the three.

I took three pages of notes while reading the book. This is a bonus when I review.

What I ask while reading a poem is what is the poem telling me?

Other things I look for:

  1. How do I feel about the choice of words?
  2. The arrangement of the words.
  3. The structure of the poem.
  4. The use of nature and other objects in a poem.
  5. And an important point is how does the poem impact me. In other words, does the poem speak to me.

The poems are non-rhyming.

Black and white illustrations are included. They are a mix of people with abstract type geometric designs. Collage is a good word for the illustrations. To me this added to the overall book.

Some of the poems are written with anger and bitterness and even a seething pattern of emotion. However, some of the poems are cynical. And I feel some hold back emotion. While others are visceral and bold.

A strong use of nature: birds, water, mountains, trees, and the sea.

The poems are a broad-brush stroke of various objects from nature to pianos and music and relationships and a house.

I noticed the color blue is used several times.

Slight political references. For example, the environment, a virus identifier.

This is the second book of poetry of the three read recently that has references to sexuality and abuse.

In specific about some of the poems:

The first poem is “Snow Country.”
The first stanza.
“Inside a house with blue walls
One shuts out the world
To make a palace for the heart”

The season may refer to a season in life, and inside the home and inside the relationship it’s blue. A “gentle hue.” But they are “waiting for spring.”

“In Turn”

This is a poem heavy with nature and a reference to the color blue. I happen to love the color blue so this is a positive aspect. But blue is not necessarily a reference to the color itself but to a feeling.

“Above Us”

I wonder who “he” is?

First stanza.

“I call anything above me sky
He says God is above us
& I say sure, but you can’t see that
& he says, oh no, I see God
Everywhere, every day, even when I
Look at you”

There is cynicism in the poem. Unbelief in God-unsure of Him. The thought is to focus on what can be seen in the science of life.

“Square by Square” is seething with anger and bitterness behind the words. I actually have mixed feelings about this poem. It is not a feel-good type of poem. My mixed feelings are that I don’t quite understand it.

“Like A Shade of Dawn”

This is a brilliant and powerful poem!

“In shadow the glow is soft
In sunlight, it’s hard candy
A room in a house through
Trees with a purple-pink light”

I could read this poem several times and pick out certain things that stand out. For example, I love the use of colors that are unexpected for an object like “trees.” I love the pairing of “sunlight” and “hard candy.” Later in the poem, “color” is in reference to a big change about to happen.

“No Matter”

This is a stream of thought and powerful feeling type poem. It is hard to ignore the references to abuse and its aftereffects.

Final Thoughts:

When I review a book of poetry, I don’t necessarily like or agree with every poem, nor do the poems need to be positive feel-good reading material.

What I am looking for is a poem that speaks to my heart. I want to be provoked, prodded, amused, or moved.

If The Sky Won’t Have Me is a collection of poems that fulfilled the above sentence. They do provoke, prod, amuse (some), and move or stir my heart.


2 thoughts on “[Review] If The Sky Won’t Have Me by Anne Leigh Parrish, contributor Lydia Selk @PoeticBookTours

  1. Pingback: If The Sky Won’t Have Me by Anne Leigh Parrish (April 2023) |

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