Review of A Sparrow Stirs its Wings, Rachel Finch by Kristiana Reed

Originally posted on Indie Blu(e). 

From the moment Sudden Denouement Publishing announced the publication of Rachel Finch’s debut poetry collection, I could not wait to read it. Finch made a brave and bold entrance onto Blood into Ink, with ignition pieces like Girls are not for Beating (pg.35). I was hooked by her ability to sing fire with a bloody mouth.

A Sparrow Stirs its Wings houses this spirit of fight and flight. Flight not from fear but from the space she has shaped to soar. The structure of the collection reminds me of Alfa’s Silent Squall except Finch begins with the girl crossing her heart and hoping to die, walking on eggshells (pg.19), and ends as a woman who recognizes strength and hope in her reflection:

‘I did not notice the growth, until I had grown,
I had not seen myself changing, becoming,
until the woman I forged reflected my gaze
and held my stare with no shame.’ – Hold the Stare

In fact, I would even say Finch’s sparrow does more than stir its wings – it unfurls them in the morning sun and defies the laws of gravity.

This debut collection is more than just honest, beautifully brutal storytelling. Finch has created a collection the reader will feel compelled to return to, time and time again. Moon Breathing makes me fall in love, Heal is the advice I need imprinted on my palm and Still Smouldering never fails to provoke a visceral reaction:

‘I was reborn a dragon feasting on the fire in my belly, lit with milk teeth in my mouth’

Finch’s voice has found a home, in these pages and in my chest. She touches her readers. She tells the truth and explores hers. She leaves you with the following words:

‘You are the smell of rain before it hits the soil.’

And you can’t help but believe them.


To buy:
US
UK


Kristiana Reed day dreams, people watches in coffee shops, teaches English and writes. She is a curator on Blood into Ink, a collective member of The Whisper and the Roar and blogs at My Screaming Twenties. She is 24 and is enjoying the journey which is finding her voice.

Nicole Lyons Reviews Rachel Finch’s A Sparrow Stirs its Wings

Every now and then, when the world seems to be rocked in chaos and people are screaming without listening – vile words and cries for help climbing on top of and over each other – a single voice stands out, and that voice is pure in its truth and stunning in its wisdom.

Rachel Finch, and her debut book, A Sparrow Stirs its Wings, is that voice right now. Turning her heartbreaking abuse into heart-wrenching prose, Finch writes her truth and gives her strength to every unnamed victim turned survivor.

A Sparrow Stirs its Wings’ is both a hard and a beautiful book to read, the wisdom and the pain contained in these pages demand to be heard and felt long after she puts it all to bed.

There is no voice quite as beautiful as the calm and cool voice of a survivor, an advocate, and a poet, and Rachel Finch is all of these things and so much more.

A Sparrow Stirs its Wings deserves a much-loved place on the bookshelves of survivors across the globe, literature lovers everywhere, and the therapists who are breaking out of the confines of antiquated methods to treat people with breathtaking art therapy.

A Sparrow Stirs its Wings is available at Amazon.com


Nicole Lyons is a force of nature disguised as a writer, a social activist, a voice for the downtrodden, and a powerful poet with a delicate touch. She is a best selling published author, poet, and also a consulting editor for Sudden Denouement.  You can read more of her writing at The Lithium Chronicles.

Faye K. Brown Reviews Rachel Finch’s A Sparrow Stirs its Wings

“Pieces of me lie scattered in his fingerprints, his voice an echo at the base of my throat and as he nears me, I cross my heart and hope to die.” (He Will Carry Me, As Long A I Will Carry Him)

Amidst the hardships flowing through her veins, Rachel Finch has found salvation from sexual abuse and trauma through her poetry. This piece is just one of the many heart- wrenching, soul-shattering poems in her debut poetry book “A Sparrow Stirs Its Wings”.  Rachel invites her readers to over 120 pieces of her heart & soul, and I can guarantee you will need a box of tissues by your side for this book.

Split into two sections (Part One: Broken Egg Shells/ Part Two: Flight); readers can clearly identify the mood on the pages. Described within her poetic words are hellish moments worded so beautifully that you can’t help but to fight back the urge to dive in between the lines and save the girl before danger strikes. Rachel’s writing is spiritual, delicate, truthful, and at times, heart-piercing. There is a cleansing spirit even within the darker portions of the book:

“He thinks the darkness will swallow me whole, but he has forgotten that light burns within me.” (Inner Flame)

The emotions felt are powerful, and paralyzing.  Her words are a comforting hand to hold while they take you back to your own tragedies, as she holds you tight through poetry, and comforts you through her ability to be triumphant within turmoil.  A mark of a great poet Is the ability to make emotional connection with their audience, and Rachel Finch does exactly that.

Abuse is one of the most difficult subjects to write about, talk about, and acknowledge personally, let alone publicly.  Rachel has a way of bringing abrupt attention to the matter without glorifying it. This subject is trip-wired with fine lines, and she brilliantly dances right over them with a healing warrior goddess mentality and message:

“I spent so long in the dark that the moment the light streamed in, I let it swallow me whole. The beauty was everywhere, is, everywhere. People are so breath-taking. When they let themselves feel, when they choose to house truth on their tongue, when they grow from the pain.” (Growth from Part Two: Flight)

So often we feel ostracized and ashamed because of the terrible things other humans have inflicted upon us.  Rachel preaches to us to “Shed The Shame” because we are survivors, not victims; we can learn and grow from the pain, not let it destroy us; we have a choice to harness our power and use it for good, not continue the cycle.

Rachel reminds us that no one can take who we are away from us. We are warriors and she is holding up the eternal flame of righteousness, proudly displaying her battle scars – not for glory – but to share her bravery and reminding us that we are not defined by our tragedies, pain, and suffering. I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t ask for a better soul to lead me into battle.

There is no stone left unturned in “A Sparrow Stirs Its Wings”. This is our anthem for 2018. The revolution we have all been waiting for.

Rachel has gained success as an online poet and community leader via Facebook and Instagram on her “Bruised But Not Broken” page, as well as on her poetry page “Rachel”.  She has over 600,000 followers and counting. She is a unstoppable force that takes the time to comfort hurting and lost souls that need direction, healing light, a safe community, and family.  “A Sparrow Stirs Its Wings” is a tangible piece of her online legacy, as well as one of the most powerful collections of poetic literature I have had the honor and privilege to read.  Get ready for your world to be poetically ROCKED!

A Sparrow Stirs its Wings is available from Amazon.com

front cover


Faye Brown is the author of Beautifully Damaged Things. You can read more of her writing at Black Orchid Poetry and FKBrown Poetry.

 

 

Alfa Reviews Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

If you find yourself hungry for the kind of words that walk boldly into the dark filled spaces of your poetic heart, be prepared to put your dancing shoes on.  This anthology is a collective kaleidoscope of fragmented and pulsing light from some of the most talented writers around the globe.  Having them intermingle, and rubbing shoulders against each other in one volume – is a gala for the senses.  Every page begins a new dance, and these writers have intricate and unashamed moves. Shake the dust off and spin that heart and soul around, because you are going to want to twirl all night long in arms of those who will look into your eyes with understanding, and delve into your misunderstood heart with compassion. The writers voices blend together in a satisfying gulp; Tasting one minute like jungle juice with bawdy friends on a Saturday night, and then powerfully like a time travel elixir that lets you relive all the parts of a past you thought were ashes on the moon.

Anthologies are wonderful eye openers because you are exposed to so many new writers and their own individual styles of writing.

Some standouts for me were:

Henna Sjoblom Her poem Miscarriage splayed me. Every word. So good.

Weekly Meetings by Georgia Park brought every insecurity I had out into the cold  and then blanketed them with every word  thereafter.

I found delicious comfort in every scar I quilted. Phenomenal.

These days when you have a daughter by Samantha Lucero lefts its mark because as a mother I found so much truth in her words.

Out of my hands by Matthew D. Eayre  The tears -both happy and sad, would not stop.

In Blues and Golds by Nicole Lyons proves she is a treasure under the sea in her exceptional craftmanship of imagery.

Lost Voice by Christine E. Ray left me spellbound. I felt every word. Like a willow tree shaking her hair after an afternoon romp.

Even now, with every step I feel the vibrations under my feet. I will carry these words with me.

There are so many more I could list, but suffice to say this anthology will be one I read time and time again.

It is an absolute must for every poetry lovers poetic library.

Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective is now available at Amazon.com and Amazon.com.uk


Learn more about Alfa at http://alfapoet.com/

Candice Louisa Daquin Reviews Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective

Sudden Denouement (SD) is a writing collective started on WordPress (WP) among fledgling and established writers and poets who came together in mutual appreciation of the genre of writing poetry, specifically poems that are honest and express emotions without compromise or apology. In this sense, SD was unique among WP authors as being the first attempt to collectivize those specific voices and generate a mode by which writers could advance and gain exposure using a safe platform and not being judged for expressing themselves honestly. “We are stray smoke in hurricane water.” (Stray Smoke, by Mitch Green).

One may imagine this is common-place but even in the world of creative writing and poetry, there are standards and expectations and many poets who tended to write about emotions were labeled as being too self-involved and depressing. Poetry collectives often focus on publishing and highlighting poets who are studying for a MFA, using formal poetic mediums and methods such as Haiku, and following poetry prompts generated by more established poets. In other words, there is often an academic expectation behind any forms of writing and expression, even in the blogosphere. “when did you keep god under your tongue, / like / an uninvited pill” (All the beds are made, by Samantha Lucero).

When SD formed, the idea was to avoid such hierarchy and expectation and lend a voice to poets who wrote frankly about their struggles with mental illness and challenges in their lives. It was never intended to be purely a place to dump ones emotional baggage but soon the quality of poems demonstrated the need to promote less orthodox poets and allow their voices to gain equal traction with the main-stream. One might say, avoiding the typical ideas of what constitutes good poetry and showing that other forms have equal power, was an early goal of the collective. “Reach for the top shelf / My invitation got lost in the mail / Feelings aren’t allowed” (Purge, by Laurie Wise).

All this at a time when motivational and uplifting poetry was all the rage, where if you perused those authors highlighted on WP you may be led to believe anything less than positive was not popular. However, as the readership and popularity of SD demonstrated soon after its launch, there was clearly a need and genuine appreciation for authors who didn’t conform to the conventional norms and standards set by the majority. Whether they be poems of sadness, depression, passion, desire, anger, resentment or suffering, SD had tapped into a hungry audience who deeply appreciated reading pieces that they could personally relate to, that were not formal, sanitized or cautious in their rendering. “once we have / outlived / our bourn indignation / why must we trudge / through the crux / of man’s blunder” (Commonality, by Max Meunier).

After being online for a year SD began Sudden Denouement Publishing seeking to publish collections of the best work on their site from their frequent authors. This led to their first volume of poets Anthology I.  What you will find in this compendium of writings from the leading lights of SD is a diverse comprisement of poems, illustrating the powerful collective voice of a generation. “This city has us in its grinder. What are we doing here? Looking for dimes on the sidewalks, tallying our dollars and paying student debts to the bar. We’ve lost interest in the good life, ferris wheel of office jobs and part-time gigs. Counting days to eviction.” (Modern Heat by Mick Hugh) The creator of SD, Editor and Poet, Jasper Kerkau leads the charge with I Am A F*cking Writer! A lashing against the notion that writing must conform to a certain standard or avoid particular themes, he literally has; “A holy charge to record the divine misery … in collaboration with a silent minority.”

Max Meunier continues in Sentence Of Sentience when he states; “freedom reprieved / of sententious ideal / for what purpose plausible / peers within prisms / but spectacle / cradling consciences captious.” This is the core of SD’s mission, to break free of current ideals and restricting forms, whilst not compromising author’s liberty and to avoid the spectacle of convention that only pretends to have a conscious sense of itself. “Where, then, to deposit the porous clay figures of our / talks?” (N by Ian McCarthy).

Matt Eayre writes in his poem Subjective; “this is poetry, / this is not / this is good enough, / this is crap / you’re a good writer, / you’re a poet / you’re an imposter / and you know you don’t belong.” The theme of subjective versus an assumed idea of what constitutes ‘good’ poetry, is fought over to this day, where masters of fine art degrees and their institutions dictate what is passable, published and trending versus what is considered inferior. “then you drag me / onto the shore / and you fuck me / I see that the pelicans / are pretty / and they never scream” (Pelicans by Georgia Park).

“I don’t care, I want everything out of me, / the twitching / the turning / the hope of a new life / bleeds out on the floor / I thought I could make something beautiful / out of my shame.” (Miscarriage by Henna Sjöblom) The SD voices challenge these norms and institutionalized expectations for an alternative way of appreciating the genre of poetry. “Now that Anya’s / President everyone on earth can attend Harvard; they’ll / learn to turn their despair into / dread, like Franz Kafka. / The American dream is fulfilled; everyone’s a fool.” (Glass Ceiling, by David Lohrey).

 In On Becoming A Writer, Christine Ray advances this idea; “Waking up every morning / to unzip her chest, her gut / and bare her truths to the world / because like others of her kind / she was complex, messy, containing multiple truths, / not a singular one.” The idea being, it is an oxymoron for a poet to conform to a standard or restrict themselves, for the very art of poetry is extracting truth and presenting it, which by its nature, cannot be caged or a singular method, much as mainstream poetry would have us believe otherwise. “My hands weren’t yours to train. Not yours to be enjoyed like a lover’s caress. My body, not yours to educate.” (Never Yours, by Sarah Doughty).

Volume I becomes a collective of visions from these itching poets such as Erich James Michaels when he writes in his poem Genesis; “Something you can’t remember drives you. Not just in the need to remember, … You read your latest poem. / You describe the shadows that lurk in the recesses of your mind, / from former lives forgotten. / You are a poet. You are a writer without a past, who has found a new home.” The voices are interchangeably and at times starkly, male and female; “I quite like the emptiness settled in the pit of me— / The sharp taste on my tongue as I lick the edge of abyss.” (Because I’m A Whore Who Asked For It by Kindra M. Austin).

Reading through so many authors, some are bound to sit closer than others, you may find a few juvenile or lacking in comparison to the shattering earth pieces that will be immediately apparent (Inky Rivers by Ra’ache Khayat and These days when you have a daughter, by Samantha Lucero being two such examples) but that’s half the delight, for by tasting each voice, we go deeper into the veil and touch the source of its myriad faces. “let us know the purity of instinct / the purity of art / that transcends education, / memory or muse / you are scars and sculptures” (Upon realization that perhaps i am completely sure, by Lois Linkens).

If your expectation is a slim volume of precise poems according to a clever little theme, you’ll be deeply disappointed by SD’s offering. Poetry at SD isn’t nice and tidy, it isn’t precise or easily categorized, nor does it intend to leave you peaceful. As Julia Halatz says in her poem What Can I Give You? “Not by blindness / we can reorder colors / but by the painting of a soul.” There is absolutely nothing here that is calm or apologetic, nor will any writer be careful with your sensibilities and spare you the brunt of their truth. “Anything, anything at all / that would explain / these patterned nights, these long long pauses in daylight. / How life has blatantly refused to comply anymore.” (A picture of our torn up praise by Aakriti Kuntal).

If you imagine a group weaving a disharmonious double-jointed vision together, using their blood as dye, you may come close to revealing the proffered mouths of these voices. In Birds & H e a r t s, ra’ahe khayat writes; “we’re not humans without h e a r t s / but hearts without bodies, / being fed to strange birds.” In this simple statement they identify the drifters dilemma when exposing oneself to the elements, the risk of losing one’s skin is ever present and it is this risk we find the courage and horror of our fellow humans, though we may have long given up hope of being understood, we share as much through pain as joy, and are less alone and this is the beauty of poetry. “Every time I get sober, / someone else / dyes / black / my hair.” (Funeral Trumpets, by Kindra Austin).

Samantha Lucero in 1., describes this experience as; “i keep alive by milking goats. / some like lifelines, some like ulcers / the city streets are braided in my hair.” In Conflagration by Nathan McCool he says; “I’m society, some things are outside of it; / and gazes are always turned to those things / like the barrel of a gun. … But to be perfect is to have never burned. / Things that have not endured burning cannot / give light.” The terrible honesty of these visions is uncompromising, unrelenting, a raw shot in the gut for the reader, it’s not an easy read, but like anything worthwhile you’ll be taking it with you after you’ve finished and returning before you expected to.  “I liked the Mmmm of her, the way / it brought out the whites of her eyes, / and I wondered as they closed / if they were watching her thoughts / as closely as they watched mine. / And I wished to poke at them,” (The Mmm of Her, by Nicole Lyons).

It may be tempting to compare authors, highlight the influences, or homage to previous poets and yes, among this compendium there are shades of Bukowski, Billy Childish, Baudelaire, Plath, Sexton, Tracey Emin, but it would diminish the originality of this collection to simply contrast. Better then let the work speak for itself in its ferocious epoch. “Let’s dance with other people’s wives to bubblegum pop, not too close. Leave a void between, the façade of trust and happiness. The empty spaces where attraction used to fit. … can’t die lately, and it’s making me uncomfortable.” (Can’t by Pbbr). We may never ‘know’ these authors as we do, those we learn in English class, but there is something refreshing about reading them as a whole and finding understanding through today’s fractured lens. “I finally let go / tightly coiled control gasp with relief / as I finally unleash the darkness” (Raven, by Christine Ray).

One of the delights of this collection is the sheer diversity of voices, unconstrained, with differing syntax, forms, loss of form, deliberate omissions and styles, one moment you are reading a condensed prose-poem about the origin of life, the next a confessional bleeding rip from the heart about love and drugs. Nowhere else in modern collections have I found such a mélange of tongues, all begging questions, responses, emotions, some disgust, horror, desire. Volume 1 is a true kaleidoscope of the human experience, doused in realism and the phantasmagoric with absolutely no brake fluid.

S.K., Nicolas writes in Reflectors, that; “In schools, they preach hide the soul, and then work comes along and drills it in a little deeper. But art liberates, … But only God can make a tree, so who I am? My reflection and your reflection, so many reflections and all these reflections that keep on reflecting,” Poet, Oldepunk says in his poem Broken; “turning gold to lead, crack and peel / the Narcissist stone! / you do not understand / as the dead envy the living, so / do the broken hate the anointed,” And in Still, this defiance is continued by Mitch Green, as he writes; “to them we are nothing, but gravel / in the making of scars. / Still breathing, / breathing still.”

SD has kicked it out the ball park by locating and birthing a group of unique voices you are unlikely to find in big publisher collections owing in part to the nepotistic methods of author selection. It’s always thrilling to find those writers who aren’t pretty little packages awaiting their deal, but the tumbleweed and very fire in the desert, torn out and presented without respite and without apology, such is the art of SD for bringing together, an unforgettable divergence of talent we may otherwise have never found.

“let me open the door / help me to understand / when I’m engulfed in the blaze / no one will tell you why.”  Richard Crandall, Burning at the Stake

Anthology Volume I: Writings from the Sudden Denouement Literary Collective is now available at Amazon.com and Amazon.com.uk

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Georgia Park Reviews I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl by Nicole Lyons

Sudden Denouement’s own Georgia Park tells you why ‘I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl’ should be in your library.

‘I am a World of Uncertainties Disguised as a Girl is available for purchase at  Amazon.com

Georgia’s book Quit Your Job and Become a Poet (Out of Spite) is available at Lulu in paperback and ebook format.