Hey guys, today I’m writing my review for Put Me Down, I’m Terrible; which is a poetry collection that the author sent me in exchange for an honest review. Here’s the blurb so you can understand a bit what it’s about.
In Put Me Down I’m Terrible, Katie Lewington explores mundanity: a couple making love in a car, a woman preparing for a date, a donut shop. But to say these occurrences are mundane is only half the story. In poetry as achingly familiar as it is uncharted, Lewington feeds readers scenes of fumbling vulnerability, teeth-clenching honesty, and unrelenting self-awareness. There’s something in every poem that rings true; the awkward intimacy of a dentist appointment, the doldrum of Mondays, the inexorable journey of stray hairs. But Lewington takes these occurrences further, with precision as sharp as a knife, making the familiar strange and shaking up the norm. A walk of shame becomes a woman’s sphere for agency. Cold sores become a badge of power. New shoes, an insufficient patch. Uncompromisingly honest and hauntingly explorative, Put Me Down I’m Terrible is a celebration of the now, the everyday life, and the vulnerability that comes with it. As Lewington pens in one of the poems, “I don’t need to journey I’m gonna celebrate where I’m at.” Each poem is a celebration, and the collection, a festival unto itself.
I have a lot of mixed thoughts about this poetry collection. I was really really excited when the author contacted me because I’ve been really loving poetry lately and have been gobbling up as much as I can, but this collection fell a bit short for me. There were so many elements that had the potential to be wonderful but just didn’t quite come together.
Some of the poems started off very relatable and had me thinking about things I hadn’t thought of before, but then they felt like they strayed a bit and started getting a bit weird and made me uncomfortable. I think to a certain extent, poetry is supposed to make you uncomfortable and push you, I know Milk and Honey certainly did, but it didn’t seem necessary in Put Me Down, since I couldn’t ever quite grasp what the poems were trying to share and make me feel.
There were some parts of poems that I really liked, and some lines that I’ve saved to look back on. One of these is “I don’t need to journey, I’m going to celebrate where I’m at”, which is very relatable to my life at the moment, and reminded me that it’s okay to be where I am and not move for a little while.
I think a lot of these poems were written with the author fully understanding what they mean and refer too, but they weren’t quite taken far enough and fleshed out enough, for the rest of the world to understand them. I think if she had done this they would have been a lot more enjoyable and relatable for readers like myself.
In a poetry book especially, every word and poem needs to be necessary. They need to add to the overall picture and story that the collection is trying to tell. They need to stand on their own as well as together, and I just don’t think that the poems in Put Me Down did that. I really wanted to enjoy this collection, but I just couldn’t grasp an overall point and I kind of just wanted to get through it as quickly as possible to see if something would make sense or stand out to me.
However, I do think that poetry is one of those things, where every collection that exists will speak to somebody and change their life. This collection wasn’t the case for me but it quite possibly might be the case for others, and they might come away with something I didn’t. I possibly didn’t relate to this collection much because I haven’t experienced much of what happens in it, but others perhaps might be able to relate.
While I didn’t enjoy this collection as much as I was hoping to, and the poetry didn’t quite make sense or connect for me, I think the author still has a lot of potential, she just needs to take everything one step further, and really think about how the reader will understand it. I would still recommend this collection if you’re looking for something a bit different on the poetry front, and I think I will pick up more of Lewington’s work in the future and see what I think of it as her writing develops.