Review: There Are Girls like Lions by Cole Swensen + Various Authors

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There Are Girls like Lions by Cole Swensen | Rating: ★★☆☆☆ (2.5)

As a note, a copy of this novel was sent to me via NetGalley by the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not effect my opinions in any way.

While I didn't totally hate There Are Girls like Lions, and found a good few poems to be thought-provoking, new-to-me and powerful, the collection as a whole just didn't work for me. Not completely. I found that the foreward was wonderful, that there were some standouts in prose, but the better portion of this collection felt choppy and incoherent. And I'm so, so, so disappointed in myself for just not connecting with it full-time.

But, it happens. My experience with There Are Girls like Lions wasn't fully negative but it wasn't exactly positive, either. In the better moments, there were various poems that made me nod my head in something like encouragement or agreement. In its lesser moments, I spaced out and had that nagging thought: am I going to finish it? In its in-between moments, I had just enough curiosity to finish the collection and consider what I was feeling.

In half, I did find the collection to have that emotional charge required in poetry. Some of these works, or writers, were familiar to me and there was already that groundwork of kinship between the words and me. I liked the illustrations that I could see (my galley was a bit... off, so I'm not certain that I was able to view everything) and thought they amplified the experience.

Throughout, I couldn't shake the feeling that not everything fit together. Did it excel in vocalizing the experience of being a woman? Yes. I just felt like, in order to be all it could be, there should have been more to it--and a lot more coherency.

Then again, is life ever coherent?

There Are Girls like Lions wasn't my favourite collection but it certainly was an experience in its own right, and I don't regret picking it up.

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