Even This Page is White [Poetry Collection Review]

Even This Page is White [Poetry Collection Review]
Hello everyone!
Title: Even this Page is White
Author: Vivek Shraya
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Published Date: 13th September 2016
Rating: 3 Stars
*Thanks to the publisher for the review copy*

Synopsis: Vivek’s debut collection of poetry is a bold and timely interrogation of
skin: its origins, functions, and limitations. Poems that range in style from
starkly concrete to limber break down the barriers that prevent understanding
of what it means to be racialized. Shraya paints the face of everyday racism
with words, rendering it visible, tangible, and undeniable.
Review: I
decided I wanted to read Even this Page
is White
by Vivek Shraya because I am someone who loves to read poetry, but
rarely reads any modern, newly published poetry that isn’t classical. This particular
collection caught my eye because it is about white privilege, and how to handle
the topic of racism when you do care about it but don’t know how to approach
it. In other words, it sounded like the perfect kind of poetry collection to
get me started on modern poetry. However, it didn’t quite work for me in the
way that I hoped.
It didn’t have anything to do with the content of the
poems, or me having any difficulty understanding. Shraya does a wonderful job
of discussing white privilege and the way that it can truly make it difficult
to show empathy, and understanding. It’s hard to acknowledge that people have
suffered, and that you want to help them in a manner which doesn’t champion
their suffering and put you as the ‘leader’ again. It’s about give and take. In
all honesty, I hadn’t thought of the difficulties that someone could face when
handling the theme of racism from this perspective, as I am so used to seeing
it portrayed through the eyes of minority. It was very eye opening for me.
It reminded me that we truly need to take all
perspectives into account when it comes to handling a problem we all want to
overcome. Shraya also uses the different forms of poetry to give more
perspectives on the matter. One of the poems was in the form of an interview
with three people. It was different from anything I’d read before, but that way
we got to hear more voices.
However, his writing style truly wasn’t one for me. It
wasn’t necessarily the lack of punctuation – there was some. I also didn’t mind
the lack of capital letters – that’s a technique I usually harbor myself quite
a bit when it comes to writing my own poetry. But his enjambment, and the way
he structures his lines of poetry and sentences is far too choppy for me. It
was sudden, and disjointed. Overall, I felt like I couldn’t get a grasp of
rhythm when reading his poems. They were broken too randomly, and too
I could see how this could be a representation of how we
are all broken and disjointed when it comes to this subject. That although we
all have the best intentions and we all feel that this matter is one which
needs to be conquered, there is still a failure of communication which is
leading to a lack of rhythm and connection to all our actions. Despite being
able to see this, it just didn’t work for me. Rhythm, I discovered, is one of the
main things I can appreciate in a poem. It makes it complete to me. So I couldn’t
enjoy this collection nearly as much as I wanted to.
I do think that if rhythm doesn’t take such a forefront
in your enjoyment of poetry, you’ll be able to enjoy this collection. It covers
and discusses such an important subject, and Shraya uses literary techniques
and his style to even portray another perspective on the matter. It’s
impossible not to appreciate the poetry he has crafted in this collection.
Gif Summary:

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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!
Olivia’s Question: Do you read poetry? Who is your
favourite poet?

Olivia-Savannah x

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