ARC REVIEWS: the mermaid’s voice returns in this one by Amanda Lovelace, and Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility

Rating: (2 out of 5) The mermaid is known for her siren song, luring bedroom-eyed sailors to their demise. However, beneath these misguided myths are tales of escapism and healing, which Lovelace weaves throughout this empowering collection of poetry, taking you on a journey from the sea to the stars. They tried to silence her … Continue reading “ARC REVIEWS: the mermaid’s voice returns in this one by Amanda Lovelace, and Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility”

Cover of the mermaid's voice returns in this one by Amanda Lovelace

Rating: Rating of two out of five stars represented by bumblebees (2 out of 5)

The mermaid is known for her siren song, luring bedroom-eyed sailors to their demise. However, beneath these misguided myths are tales of escapism and healing, which Lovelace weaves throughout this empowering collection of poetry, taking you on a journey from the sea to the stars. They tried to silence her once and for all, but the mermaid’s voice returns in this one. (Goodreads)

I was vaguely aware of Amanda Lovelace prior to reading this as the author of the princess saves herself in this one, which I hadn’t read but knew had received some raving reviews, so I thought I couldn’t go wrong. Unfortunately, this poetry collection fell quite short of my expectations.

I don’t begrudge Lovelace her premise (this collection is part of a poetry series called Women Are Some Kind of Magic) or her intention of female empowerment, especially for victims of sexual abuse, but her writing isn’t for me. Her poetry lacks a strong voice and a distinct style. The language is for the most part bland and unevocative, as well as void of stylistic devices. Most of her poems consist of texts with line breaks after every single word while others don’t have line breaks at all; both of these are absolutely valid stylistic choices, however here they don’t seem to serve a clear purpose, and the lack of craft leaves me questioning whether any of these texts are really poetry at all.

My favourite works in this collection were the guest contributions in the fourth part of the book, where Lovelace has curated some real gems, though sadly the comparison highlights the shortcomings in her own writing even more starkly.

Thank you to NetGalley and Andrews McMeel Publishing for providing an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.


Cover of Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility

DNF @ ~50%

Are there moments in your life when your femaleness is a source of power or hardship? When does your voice ring its clearest? When have you been silenced?

Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility brings together international poets and essayists, both award-winning and emergent, to answer these questions with raw, honest meditations that speak to women of all races, nationalities, and sexual orientations. It is an anthology of unforgettable stories both humorous and frightening, inspirational and sensual, employing traditional poetry and prose alongside exciting experimental forms. Feminine Rising celebrates women’s differences, while embracing the source of their sameness—the unique experience of womanhood. (Goodreads)

Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Visibility won’t be receiving a rating from me because I decided to put it aside at around the 50% mark, but I still wanted to share some thoughts on it.

The introductions by both of the editors, Andrea Fekete and Lara Lillibridge, as well as the foreword by Dr. Amy Hudock made me suspect the anthology would tend towards some trends in feminism that are anything but intersectional, but they were promising “to give a microphone to those who had never had a chance to have their voices heard”, so I wanted to give Feminine Rising a fair chance.

If you read the summary, you’ll see that something is notably absent from the equation here: disability. If you want to uplift the voices of women who have previously been silenced, it is unacceptable not to include disabled voices, considering disabled women have been some of the most disenfranchised, abused, and unheard, even in feminist circles. Additionally, any feminism that doesn’t even attempt to challenge the gender binary is far from revolutionary, and this anthology reeks of biological essentialism. I have to admit that I don’t know if there are any trans voices present, but I have my doubts, considering how strongly the relationship between womanhood and menstruation or childbearing keeps being drawn.

I think one of the pitfalls of Feminine Rising is that Fekete didn’t seek out a co-editor (or co-editors) who would have been able to cover some of her own blindspots. In her introduction, she details how the anthology came to be, and it sounds like she didn’t actively approach marginalised women for submissions, which is another issue. I also felt like one text in particular written by a white woman used people of colour, and specifically women of colour, as learning experiences. A more diverse editing team would almost certainly have balanced some of these issues, and it’s unfortunate that that doesn’t seem to have been a priority.

There were a select few pieces that stood out from the throng, but overall Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Visibility fails in what it set out to do.

Thank you to NetGalley and Cynren Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.

2 thoughts on “ARC REVIEWS: the mermaid’s voice returns in this one by Amanda Lovelace, and Feminine Rising: Voices of Power and Invisibility”

  1. Sorry that these two didn’t work for you! I loved the mermaid’s voice returns in this one, but I think that was more based on the content speaking to me more than the stylistic choices themselves (which the linebreaks were a little annoying). Great and honest reviews!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! I fully admit that I’m a rather harsh critic when it comes to poetry, but I can totally see why people do love the mermaid’s voice. Poetry is so subjective in the ways it speaks to us, and this just didn’t speak to me, but I can see it being important to lots of people.

      Liked by 1 person

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