Poetry Reviews

Stephanie Pizzella

Simply put, I adore poetry. Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love to get lost in the world of my favorite books and authors. But something about poetry just ignites my soul. It makes me feel things I am unable to conjure up myself. It makes me feel vulnerable. I love looking back at past editions of the Bridge Journal and seeing all the imagination and creativity that went into that edition. That is why I picked out my top 5 poetry pieces from previous Bridge Journal editions that I believe everyone should read.

“I’m Trying” by Picabo Miskiv – (Volume 15)

Wow, this poem brought a tear or two to my eye. There are always love poems about someone else, and how that person rocked your world. But, a lot of times, there aren’t love poems about ourselves. And there should be, because at the heart of it all, we truly should love ourselves first. I believe that is what Miskiv is trying to convey in this poem. However, that is the hardest part. Loving someone is easy. But, loving yourself takes courage and time. I was shaken by the line, “And I’m trying/ every goddamn day/ to ignite the fire/ and let my love burn” (5-8). Normally, we would read that and think Miskiv is talking about falling in love with someone. However, the speaker uses that powerful feeling we have inside our souls and tries to use it on themself. Miskiv wrote the emotions that encompass this truth in such a heartbreaking, evocative way. Miskiv ended the poem with “I am trying” (17). This emphasizes the trials and tribulations that loving yourself takes. I love this spin on the idea of a love poem.

“Vindicta” by Kayla Roy – (Volume 16)

I fell in love with this poem more and more as I read on. I was encapsulated by the way it began with a child and their relationship with their grandmother. The speaker describes their grandmother in such a beautifully loving way that it gave me goosebumps and reminded me of my own grandmother. I was entranced by the way Roy compared their grandmother’s love to that of a flower. I think that is so pure because nothing is more naturally beautiful than a flower. I was immediately intrigued by the metaphor in the line, “For it was like pulling the hair from/ Mother Earth, stealing her favorite children/ away” (23-25). This line reminded me of when I was a kid picking flowers in my backyard. I love the symbolism in the gentleness of the natural world. The atmosphere starkly changed however when “Mother Earth took her revenge” (36). I love the contrast between good and bad here. Revenge is such an abrupt, harsh word while Mother Earth is perceived as serene and gentle. The last stanza really made my heart break. After all her beautiful flowers died, the speaker seeks revenge on the serenity of life. I was heartbroken by the line, “Mother Earth took her most beautiful/ bloom from me” (40-41). I believe this line could potentially be a metaphor for the speaker’s grandmother passing away, which makes this poem even more heartbreaking. The last line really sums up the bitterness you feel when you lose something or someone you love. I think the speaker wrote that pain in such a realistic, heartbreaking way because most of the time, we are angry. Of course, we are sad, but anger encompasses the heartbreak in the beginning and can even make us act out. This poem and its complexity blew me away.

“Solar Recovery Alive” by Elizabeth Brady – (Volume 15)

I was captivated by the way this poem was written. In three stages, Brady describes the heartbreak and rediscovery of yourself. In “Solar”, I love the break in the verse when Brady writes, “But then I saw you” (5). I am fascinated with that feeling- looking at someone and the whole world just stops. I love the optimism in “Solar”. Brady does not even bring up heartbreak. Brady is flabbergasted and content with their new love. Then “Recovery” hits you like a ton of bricks. The speaker describes the rough, bitter heartbreak that renders them. I love the line “Roses/ tangled with/ poison ivy./ But you,/ You wanted everything there/ pretty” (10-15). I believe it describes the bitterness of heartbreak. I love the symbolism and contrast between the rose and poison ivy. This person was once a rose to the speaker, but now they have turned into poison ivy. “Alive” comes in and puts a twist on the story. Brady goes back in time and reminisces on the happy times with that person. However, their love was struggling. I love the line “I could almost/ see you in there./ I could almost/ reach inside/ and pull you out” (5-9). This line highlights the struggle the speaker was facing while trying to help their lover. I think the speaker’s lover needed to truly find themself first but was unable to do so. I think this ultimately led to their relationship’s demise. These 3 poems take us on a journey of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery in such an enchanting way.

“20 Love Letters” by Morgan Amaral – (Volume 14)

I was intrigued by the structure of this poem right off the bat. I truly admire its simplicity. It doesn’t contain extravagant or flowery language. However, it doesn’t feel like it’s missing it either. This poem is straightforward, yet heart-wrenching. The speaker becomes vulnerable by giving us a glimpse into their past loves and heartbreaks. I love the line, “Dear Sean, I can’t listen to the same songs I used to” (19). It is such an evocative line to me because it is a small, yet powerful act you share with someone you love: sharing music. I love the organization of this poem and how the lines were separated. Even though these relationships are over, Amaral is reminiscing. Whether it was heartbreak or a mutual breakup, this poem is essentially an ode to them. The last five lines caught me by surprise. Sean, to the author, was the one. We root for them. The repetition of “I still think of you” (20) really puts into perspective how much Sean meant to the speaker.

“Kaleidoscope Limbs” by Abbey Branco – (Volume 18)

This poem crushed me. I was so invested from start to finish in the direction of where the relationship was headed. The beginning started off in a more uplifting tone, comparing the speaker’s relationship to “periwinkle blue and crushed sea glass” (1-2). These two things are admired for their beauty and uniqueness. The speaker describes how they cherish their lover and how their relationship has consumed them. There is a switch in tone when Branco vulnerably divulges how their relationship is scaring them. The way Branco describes the feeling is heart-wrenching in the line, “I thought I could make you as happy as the sky,/ but I don’t really dwell on false hope anymore” (19-20). This line is so despairing because we all know that feeling. The feeling of falling so hard in love that it ends up being too much. That feeling of wanting to go back and reminisce, but the pain is too much to bear. They consume you, but not in a positive way. Branco expresses those feelings that are sometimes too somber to put into words. Branco did so in such an emotional way that this particular piece truly tugged at my heartstrings.

You can check out any of the past issues of The Bridge Journal here: (https://bridgebsu.com/journal/) And who knows?… Maybe you will discover your new favorite piece of art or literature!

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