Side Steps Terrorizing Sound Bites

Amy Jean

Publisher: Jean Publications Pages: 188 Price: (hardcover) $19.66 ISBN: 9781734476644 Reviewed: August, 2020 Author Website: Visit »

Amy Jean’s Side Steps Terrorizing Sound Bites is a poetry collection with a playful attitude and a feminine perspective.

The book contains 33 poems, each complemented by charming, full-color illustrations by Eric Savage. Jean writes in an opening page that the “book boldly depicts Woman’s struggle to be recognized in a male-dominated society…”

Indeed, the book’s exploration of feminine resilience in a man’s world is appealing for its energy. The poems are proud, enthusiastic, and sometimes defiant, as in “4 Endurance”: “A man who wants/ a puppet on a string/ is no match for me/ I demand to be free.” And they realistically acknowledge that there are ups and downs as a woman finds her way. In “31 I’m Back to Where I Began,” Jean’s narrator laments her pattern of returning to someone who doesn’t appreciate her, which many readers will find relatable: “I’m back to a man, who didn’t see the plan,/ my worth, my value, or even understand/ the things I could do,/ who knew?”

While interesting in theme, however, the poems demonstrate several flaws that impede their effectiveness. Not all poems rhyme, but when they do, they often seem more interested in the rhyme scheme than the message, as in “3 Feline”: “The Jaguar rebounds, closer to the ground/ Why? –so you won’t hear a sound/ Solitary and unbound,/ the rose is rarely found.”

Most poems offer straightforward language with little lyricism or poetic flair: “A sharpened knife/ A stab to the heart/ To break a girl/ Why is that a rule?” Metaphors and similes are rare and when used, as in the aforementioned lines, they lack freshness (the much-used “knife” and its “stab to the heart”).

In sum, those looking for “I am woman, hear me roar”-type poetry may appreciate this collection’s brashness. Those seeking poetic mastery, with fresh images and more unusual takes on male-female dynamics, however, will want to look elsewhere.

Also available in paperback.

Author's Current Residence
Charlotte, North Carolina
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