The Universe of Us by Lang Leav

Received from NetGalley for review.

The Universe of Us is Lang Leav’s fourth book, and though her style (and others like her) dramatically divides opinion, I love it. Just as with Michael Faudet’s Dirty Pretty Things, there’s something about the way the words are put together that make me melt, that make my heart soar; I can’t say exactly what it is, there’s just something magical to me about this style of poetry and the mixture of reality and whimsy that influences it.

I would blanket the world in utter darkness; I would pull back the veil of light and reveal to you a blinding crescendo of stars.

I would drain all the seven seas and ask you to count – one by one – every grain of sand that clings to the ocean floor.

Leav’s newest collection of poetry is influenced by planets, stars, and constellations, so naturally I couldn’t resist reading it. Those themes definitely feature within this collection, though not as often as I expected or would have liked – I found love, relationships, and heartbreak to be the overwhelming theme which didn’t surprise me at all. As with Leav’s other poetry, though, I loved it for the most part. I just adore the way she writes, even though it is often in a very simple way – there are words that resonate with you for unknown reasons and Leav’s poetry overflows with those words for me.

I’ve never met you before, but I recognize this feeling.

I love how subjective and personal poetry is, both to the writer and the reader; I think that’s why poems can resonate so deeply within us. I’ve included extracts from some of my favourites in my review but that doesn’t mean that I found every poem wonderful. In fact, I find that I disliked (or didn’t love) a lot of the poems in which Leav used rhyme, which for some is the hallmark of good poetry. I much prefer her writing when it doesn’t use rhyme, rather a sense of rhythm that develops naturally from the subtle beauty of her words and the topics that she uses them for.

She belongs to no one, to nothing, to nowhere. When you met her you will recognize her for who she is – a free spirit, a wandering star.

Not everyone will like this style of poetry, and the world would be so boring if everyone did. But I urge any lover of words to try Leav’s work if you haven’t before. You never know, you might just find yourself in love with it.

Read: October 9th 2016

4/5 stars

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