“Long Live Phoenixes” by Jasmine Farrell

“Phoenixes” is the poetry of a young woman breaking free from the cocoon of her youth, rejecting while respecting the wisdom and desires of her family and background in favour of her independence. Her poems reveal glimpses of her past: sometimes gently, other times with less gentility, leading us to wonder whether there was a dark side to this nostalgic picture. The later part of the book moves to her romantic life, where it seems she had even less good luck. 

The poetic style of these works strikes a delicate balance: enough poesy to touch our emotions directly, but enough practicality that we have some handle on what the poet is talking about. 

I enjoyed the poems concerned with the breaking free of generations, but I’d have to say the theme palled with repetition, and I found myself leaning more towards those works with a more metaphoric style. I particularly enjoyed the poem simply titled, “Phoenix,” which ends with “Those aren’t heavy weights on your shoulders. They are wings.”

Great poetry for young people at any stage of transition and also for their elders who are watching them go through the changes. It is to be hoped that not all of the readers will experience the conflagration involved in the birth of a phoenix. Leave that up to the poets.

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