2 out of 4 stars
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From the Ashes I Will Rise by Soyadeba is a memoir of the author’s painful past and her expression of optimism, frustration and survival told through poetry and prose. The author introduces the collection with an explanation of her inspiration. As a victim of multiple types of assault, Soyadeba originally sought out writing as a coping mechanism; Soyadeba now writes to raise awareness and provide hope to others. The poems and prose included in From the Ashes I will Rise are written in a free verse style and range in length from one sentence to one or two full pages.
Certain works in From the Ashes I Will Rise are emotional. It is clear the author is writing from a place of truly intense feeling. Further, the author showcases a strong point of view in her writing. The use of certain descriptions was fascinating; for example, the description of a feeling’s “rose-colored-haze.”
There doesn’t appear to be any distinct organization regarding the order in which the poems are laid out; further, there are no titles for the poems and no defined sections. Though this is not necessarily negative, it made for an awkward flow from one work to the next as they rarely seemed connected; the poems do not tell a complete story. A stronger connection could have been made with the reader if there was a sense of linear progression throughout the collection. Many poems seemed to tell only a very small part of a story, some seemed to tell someone else's story, and some poems seemed to connect to others, but it was impossible to tell in the current order. If this book was not advertised as a memoir this would not have been such a disappointment.
The poems are all free verse and rarely contain any notable meter. Some felt incredibly emotional while the majority felt contrived or unfinished. Much of the work would be better classified as quotes instead of poetry. For example, one poem in its entirety reads: “"In a world full of beautiful people, she was looking for beautiful souls." Though this sentence can be very meaningful, without any other context it fails to evoke emotion or understanding. The majority of the work is not much longer than the example mentioned and there is roughly one poem per page, this constitutes approximately 150 different poems throughout the collection, many of which felt like nothing more than abstract thoughts jotted down in a journal. Overall, the abundance of short poems felt repetitive and prevented the poems from standing out.
There is a wealth of potential throughout this collection and I commend the author for seeking out poetry as an expression of her deep emotions. However, the collection lacks thoughtful flow and organization. Overall, much of the work felt incomplete and failed to convey a meaningful message. For those reasons, I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. I did find certain aspects of this collection to be interesting and thus recommend From the Ashes I Will Rise to those interested in abstract, free verse poetry.
From the Ashes I Will Rise
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