May 2, 2009

Call Me Sonya Grey by Sonya Tupone Lloyd

BOOK #: 33
RATING: 2 stars (Just okay)

Call Me Sonya Grey is a collection of poems written by the author over the course of her childhood and adolescence, starting at age 9. She began writing after the loss of her mother at age nine. While I support and encourage the use of writing to heal emotional wounds, just because you write it doesn't mean you publish it into a book.

Now I understand that poetry is very subjective, but there are also certain elements to poetry that I feel should be in place. Considering this is marketed as emotional poetry, I feel it should make me feel for the author. Most of the time I did not.

This book gave me mixed reactions. I tried to keep in mind that she was young when she was writing these and was also probably developing both her writing skills and her ability to express herself clearly. Sometimes she hit the mark, sometimes she missed completely. A few of the poems would make sense until I got to the last stanza and then I would be completely baffled at how that thought could have followed all the others on the page.

I did find a handful of poems throughout the book which I thought showed some promise: Mother Dear, First Kiss, Escape, and Day to Day were all poems I could see talent in. I would have liked to see more of these and less of the poems that were more rambling than actual writing.

Here is an example of one of the better poems in the collection. It is entitled Escape:

I want to write a poem
About my teeth hurting
And my fingers burning

Of my heart breaking
From loneliness, the cause
Of which is my differentness

To pen in script
What it would be like
To lie in a crypt

I need to break the oppression
Of my life and escape the depression
Holding me tight

In my personal opinion, while there are a few nicely written poems, this collection is not any better than any other teenager's rants and ramblings. If this is all it takes to get published, I should send in my own collection of poetic shortcomings. Another thing, the book is overpriced for what it is. It is 40 short poems for $15 and the poems were definitely not on a scale with other contemporary poets.

So, my final analysis is that these poems are more for a passing curiosity than for a search of talent, teenage angst, or emotional response.

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