Version of the Self – Christy Birmingham

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 Replies to “Version of the Self – Christy Birmingham”

  1. 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!

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    1. 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. 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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    1. 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.

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    1. 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.

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      1. 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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        1. 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.

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    1. 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.

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    1. 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.

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