Thank you to Andrews McMeel Publishing and NetGalley for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Trigger Warning: This novel and review discuss the following: feminism, relationships, sex, grief.
Goodreads Rating: 2.5 Stars
I somehow managed to go almost a year without reading poetry, even though I have about seven collections on my TBR… so I was happy to break the streak with Tomorrow’s Woman. According to the publisher notes, this is Bellamacina’s first United States publication, with her distinct French and British influences.
The collection is broken into four sections: Tomorrow’s Woman, Pregnancy, Love, and Loss, Grief, and Thunder. There is an introduction by Robert Montgomery who instantly disects the uniqueness within Bellamacina’s poems, and gives insight to the reader about what you will experience as you read on. One of the things he notes is,
“I have believed passionately that poetry in English, to be new, needs to forget the English language as much as possible…Twenty years ago, I began to look for a poet who could do that- when I found Greta, I finally found that poet.”
This unique style of Bellamacina’s, however, is quite possibly something that the average dabbler in poetry (like myself) wouldn’t be able to “get”. I say this because, as I read through the collection, I kept thinking, I have no idea what she’s talking about. However, for the sake of this review, I’m going to give it my best interpretive shot.
Tomorrow’s Woman is the section about women’s oppression, and the will we have to move beyond it, to push through that figurative glass ceiling we always mention. Pregnancy is a little more obvious, discussing the miracle that is a woman’s body, discussing birth, rebirth, miscarriages, and other aspects of womanhood. Love recounts the obvious, of emotions and feelings surrounding love, being loved, and of heartbreak.
Loss, Grief, and Thunder is about life and death, and the whirlwind of personal relationships.
This collection covers topics that should be relatable to most women, but because of Bellamacina’s style, it’s really hard to comprehend what I’m supposed to be relating to. It feels as if the poetry has gotten lost in translation, or honestly as if she strung together some lofty, creative words to form a stanza that should create some sort of imagery, but it doesn’t- or not consistently enough for me. There are some lines that I did think were beautiful, or that caught my imagination, but the poems in their entirety did not leave a lasting overall impression.
In the end, this was a bit of a disappointment for my return to reading poetry. Although there were some lovely high points, they weren’t the majority of my reading experience.
Published: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
TL/DR: Tomorrow’s Woman by Greta Bellamacina is a poetry collection about womanhood.
Read it? Sure. I won’t discourage anyone from reading this collection, because poetry speaks to everyone in different ways.
Recommend it? No.
Buy it? No.
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