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Version of the Self – Christy Birmingham

09 Nov

coloursplash2Imagine a shift to the way you see the world that arises through poetic narration. Imagine the world, at its base level, is a collection of selves. These selves collide, disperse, intermingle, and share themselves in lines of free verse. Such is the premise of Versions of the Self, poetry that assumes multiple types of selves exist and relate in ways that alter them. Each of the eight chapters looks at a different type of self, including the singular “I” and romantic interactions. These unique 80 poems definitely color themselves outside of the lines.

Indulging in the work of a fellow blogger, whose writing you enjoy is always enjoyable so the theory is that his or her writing in book form should be even better.  No screen, just paper, print and if you cram your nose really far into the book a faint scent of what I think I bizarrely plastic bags.

That may say more about my smelling habits than it does about anything else so I will leave that for another blog post… Christy writing in her usual honest and positive way engaged this reader from the very beginning of this very personal chronicle of self-examination and its accompanying realisations.

Each of the poems are direct and convey their emotions simply and fluently.  There are plenty of excellent phrases scattered generously around showcasing Christy’s ability to convey maximum feeling in short bursts on the page; Which I find to be mirrored with the excellent cover design.

The book begins on a moment, a teetering between directions, it is a threshold choice taken and slowly explored and dissected.  The reader is invited to watch the author explore herself and her relationships in a sincere and lyrical way and feel like we not only have an understanding of the writer but perhaps a better understanding of how we ourselves interpret and deal with things.

Regret and respect play
In my mind, dueling on
A tennis court that surrendered its
Net many years ago.

Each part of the book explores Christy’s various Selves that go into making up her singular Self, the examination of the way we interact and think with different parts of our minds on various levels. With friends loss, romance and hurt all taking their turns, I found myself compelled to just ‘read one more’ and ended up poring over the book for far longer than I had anticipated I would.  Works of poetry usually demanding my contemplation before reading on.  Yet in this case, I just wanted more as soon as possible.

My standout poem – if I had to pick (and I will) – was You, Colours and Realisation; an artfully realised poem of change, endings and beginnings, regret and comprehension.  I also found the theme of water flowing through the book to be manifest with symbolism but above all as a cleansing ritual of which the words of strength and self understanding wash over the reader.

There is light, discovery and melancholy to be discovered in this sensitively penned portrait, the mix of emotional states makes for a varied and very readable collection, I enjoyed it and will be reading this book may times in the future no doubt but the most important thing I learnt through this voyage of self discovery is that Christy really loves her bed!

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37 Comments

Posted by on 09/11/2016 in Poetry

 

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37 responses to “Version of the Self – Christy Birmingham

  1. Christy B

    09/11/2016 at 17:03

    Thank you kindly for the review and all of the thought that you put into it! I am smiling at the last sentence; I do indeed enjoy sleep. Your take on the book is wonderful, and it’s an honor to be part of your poetry week here!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      09/11/2016 at 17:06

      It was a pleasure reading your words and of all the things I wrote, I am glad I nailed the bed liking haha! I shall post up on Amazon and Goodreads and such later on.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  2. Letizia

    09/11/2016 at 18:04

    Lovely review of a lovely blogger and poet.

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    • Ste J

      09/11/2016 at 18:10

      Thank you my friend, I was planning this to go live about three weeks ago so it is a relief to finally get started properly with poetry week!

      Liked by 1 person

       
  3. shadowoperator

    09/11/2016 at 18:34

    thanks for the review of Christy’s book–and now, when are you going to contribute a poem to your site next?

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      09/11/2016 at 18:37

      Well I am debating, saving my words, finding a structure and maybe doing my own book. All these poems have inspired me somewhat.

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  4. Resa

    09/11/2016 at 18:38

    Excellent! I loved the book, I adore Christy, and your review rocks!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      09/11/2016 at 18:43

      Thank you, it is a book that demands rereading, we have excellent taste my friend but we already knew that!

      Like

       
  5. Sheila

    09/11/2016 at 21:50

    Beautiful review – I’m happy you enjoyed it because I just bought this book last week. Now I really can’t wait to lose myself in it as soon as possible.

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    • Ste J

      10/11/2016 at 16:54

      You have good taste in books. I am happy you liked the review and the book is a fine addition (and edition) to our libraries.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  6. Jill Weatherholt

    09/11/2016 at 21:53

    Great review, Ste J! I love that cover!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      10/11/2016 at 16:53

      It is a wonderful cover, I bet it took loads of paint to get that just right!

      Like

       
  7. clarepooley33

    10/11/2016 at 00:57

    Intriguing review which makes me want to read Christy’s book. Thanks Ste J!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      10/11/2016 at 17:06

      I could get into this reading poetry in a big way. Of course my wallet cringes at the thought but I do have £10 on my stamp card at Waterstones which always helps in the short term.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • clarepooley33

        10/11/2016 at 19:45

        Those stamp cards are so useful! My daughter keeps taking mine 😮

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        • Ste J

          11/11/2016 at 19:11

          I bet that’s more than frustrating but nice to see that the book love has been passed on.

          Liked by 2 people

           
          • clarepooley33

            12/11/2016 at 14:08

            I’m usually the one who ultimately has to pay for the books anyway so I don’t mind really.

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            • Ste J

              12/11/2016 at 18:49

              A worthwhile investment though and of course that gives you the right to borrow any books you wish as well.

              Liked by 1 person

               
  8. Liz Dexter

    10/11/2016 at 08:59

    Interesting – I’m not very good at poetry, so will watch your poetry week posts with interest!

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    • Ste J

      10/11/2016 at 16:56

      Me neither, I have had to temper myself from reading straight through, although with this one I did fly through it admittedly. It has been good mixing up the way I read as well as the content. Two reviews down and two more coming within the next four days.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  9. Liz

    10/11/2016 at 14:44

    Great review of a wonderful-sounding book. I was compelled to order it immediately and look forward to diving in. Cheers!

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    • Ste J

      10/11/2016 at 17:01

      Excellent, I do hope you like it as much as I do. I am on a bit of a roll with poetry recently, really getting into it like never before.

      Liked by 1 person

       
      • Liz

        10/11/2016 at 17:06

        I always aspire to get in to poetry. I give it a try every now and again, but always seem not to be able to ‘get it’. Perhaps I have not yet found my poetry niche and will keep looking – fingers crossed that Christy provides a breakthrough!!

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        • Ste J

          10/11/2016 at 17:09

          You would think with the short length of most poems it would be easy but I find it demands a different mindset to read such and it is one I had to be in the mood for…that and I put pressure on myself as I planned to do this week for a bit but it was a good push to get into something I don;t read as much. I hope you do get into this book and that the poetry world opens up for you as it has done for me.

          Liked by 1 person

           
  10. Jess

    10/11/2016 at 16:09

    Hmmmm seems I have something new to pick up!! ^_^

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      10/11/2016 at 16:52

      That’s the risk you run by coming here!

      Like

       
  11. Gitanjali Singh Cherian

    11/11/2016 at 04:15

    Wow! This sounds like a fabulous read! It also sounds like something that would be difficult to review, but you have done an excellent job. I’m going to try and get my hands on it.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      11/11/2016 at 19:23

      I thought it would be a challenge but by the end of the book, my notes were surprisingly long and equally shockingly. coherent as well. It’s always pleasant when that happens.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  12. dragonscaleclippings

    11/11/2016 at 10:45

    love your review! like you, I had to keep reading, just one more…!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      11/11/2016 at 20:31

      Thanks! It wasn’t expecting to read straight through but I like that feeling of being off balance when reading a book.

      Like

       
  13. Andrea Stephenson

    13/11/2016 at 13:30

    It’s great to see you review Christy’s book and you’ve done a great job of enticing me to read them!

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      13/11/2016 at 14:44

      I think you will enjoy them, it’s great to understand a blogger a little better and to have really enjoyed C’s words. Poetry is no longer a closed book to me now.

      Liked by 1 person

       
  14. Bumba

    16/11/2016 at 20:43

    Another fine review, my friend! I’ll check it out.

    Like

     
    • Ste J

      18/11/2016 at 15:33

      Thank you! I think reading all this poetry may help the reviews to become better. Sharing fellow bloggers and their work is always a pleasure.

      Liked by 1 person

       

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