Intro : Phoenixes Groomed As Genesis Doves (PGAGD) is the second poetry collection by author, poet and blogger Jasmine Farrell. I received a copy of the book from the publicist for review.
Amazon Synopsis :
Phoenixes Groomed as Genesis Doves is a collection of poetry that draws the reader into the world of personal identity, inner growth and the complexity of human relationships. Ordinary and common images, especially ones found in nature, are used to craft poems that appeal to the uncommon, the suppressed and the others. Filled with incredible grace and accessible wisdom, the poems explore a wide range of complex emotional themes. With unexpected metaphors and sparkling similes, the pieces vary in rhythm and theme making each one like a foil-wrapped candy: something to savor, enjoying each new bright color on the tongue.
Review : There are times when you start reading a book and it all goes downhill. You feel like you just want to give up. This book was one such for me. When I read the first few poems, I felt as if I had made a huge mistake. The voice was raw and unrefined. The poems lacked a proper flow and it seemed as if no attempt was made by the poetess to make a rhyme. In fact, at many points it seemed to me that the text was more prose than poetry.
But I persisted. Largely because I’ve seen that many a times, books can surprise you with how rewarding they can be if you stick through the not-so-good chapters. And credit to Ms. Farrell, she made me go “wow” with the way the poems got better. This book is very much like our own journey in life. It starts off with naïveté and mistakes and is hotheaded and temperamental. Trained by the experiences of early age, it corrects course, mellowing down and wisening up. Then, by the time it fully grows up, it has such a compelling, strong voice of its own that it is ready to drown you into its quality. Yes, that’s just about how I felt about the book.
While “Blossoming Black Hybrid” talks about child abuse and the protagonist coming to terms with it, “Forever Love” is about a love that has been lost to time and still is the source of inspiration. “Serene’s Coffee Shop,” “The R Train Phoenix,” “Canvas” and “Nikki” are among poems that are thematically about self-discovery and love.
Then there are poems like “Cherry Colored Casket” and “Ruby” which tackle the scourge of racism. The former is about the killings of young black men at the hands of the police while the latter celebrates black women like Ruby Nell who stood up to the discrimination and segregation they faced.
The book also makes reference to the Yoruba religion through poems that talk about Orishas. “Letters To A Few Orishas” and “She Asked About You” are chief among these.
Quite a few poems attack the repressive societal standards that expect people to adhere to and fit into them, especially standards of beauty and weight. The most notable of these are “She Is Beautiful” and “You’re A Star.” I simply loved the two. The poetess pulls no punches as she lays into the norms and exhorts the reader to embrace her imperfections, because that’s what real beauty is.
Towards the end of the book, we have poems that are hugely accomplished in how they sound. “The Morning After” details escape from an abusive relationship and “Grass Ain’t Finna Be Greener” deals with adultery. The poem “Ma” is a thank-you letter to mothers everywhere, the women who believed in us when no one else did.
“To The Wonder Women Clan” is among the poems that celebrate women who have inspired others to follow in their footsteps.
The final poem, “How I’m Doin’” completes the transformation of both the poems’ protagonist and the poetess herself. It has a mature voice that tackles the themes of religious dogma and conservatism. It details how the protagonist found humanity after breaking the shackles that religion can sometimes bind us in.
Ms. Farrell appears very much at ease discussing these varied themes. The poems boldly put forward her views while calling out the hypocrisy and injustices that people have to face in their daily lives. This is not to say that the book is flawless. As I mentioned at the start, it can sometimes be jarring. The absence of a proper flow hampers the experience of the later poems too. And some sort of rhyming structure would’ve been welcome too, although I do accept that the messages and themes of the book are way more important than plain rhyming. We can read nursery books if rhyming is all we want.
Verdict : Phoenixes Groomed As Genesis Doves is a book that picks up from a disastrous start to dazzle in patches and promises great things for the poetess’ future.
Rating : ⭐⭐⭐1/2
Have you read Phoenixes Groomed As Genesis Doves (PGAGD)? What did you like about it the most? Do tell me in the comments section.
Thanks for reading.