the witch doesn’t burn in this one by amanda lovelace (DRC): Women! Feminism! and…a Broken Laptop?


3 stars

amanda lovelace’s series of poems in a witch doesn’t burn in this one aim to inspire and empower women to take control of their own stories.

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I guess I’m just not a modern poetry person.

I’d like to preface this with the fact that most of this is just pure personal preference. I’ll indicate when that section starts, but there’s not much to comment on the actual writing style/technique when talking about modern poetry.

After seeing this on Netgalley, I decided to give modern poetry one more shot. After the near disaster that was me+milk and honey (review here), I still held out one more time for modern poetry by a different author.

I have finally learned my lesson that it’s just not for me.

I liked how on a technical standpoint, this appeared to have a lot more substance than milk and honey through the lack of aesthetic Tumblr line drawings and seemingly longer poems, and also how lovelace played around a lot with the format (because if you’re going to use the enter key liberally, I’d suggest going all out.).

This was mostly the reason why I gave it 3 stars instead of 2 or 2.5.

lovelace plays around a lot with positioning and spacing and staggering and bold/italic/repetition as well as fun formats (i.e. a recipe or a list). It definitely made the book a little more interesting, and although I kind of followed along with part of the book where they were
d r a g g i n g
things and repeated this process on my Instastories, I did think it was fun to see all this playing with the format.

The words are very provocative (not in an explicit sense usually, but just inspiring passion) and I think they did end up being successful in conveying the message for the reader who is able to disregard modern poetry formatting.

But for me, as with milk and honey, I did end up focusing a little too much on the structure because although it was Unique, it was also kind of much for me. (aka the start of the personal opinion.)

Despite how I liked the message, it did a little repetitive at times, and even though it’s a good message, sheer repetition might not be the best way to convey this. I got it the first time–you shouldn’t have to repeat “Sasha’s hair was black” ten times throught the novel for the reader, you should only have to say it once, just like you don’t have to repeat to me “Women don’t need men” ten times.

And I do understand how this is something that’s supposed to provoke and inspire and tell women that they aren’t doing anything wrong and they have control over themselves and their bodies–not men and not society. But also, just repeating the message doesn’t really do much for me, I want more original content instead of repeating the message that is splayed across Tumblr that has begun to feel banal & overused in this medium.

I reemphasize the idea that this Tumblr modern poetry (for lack of better name for it) will always feel a little overdone on a literary standpoint after milk and honey. You could argue that “how can women’s empowerment be overdone?” but the answer is that it happens. Why not show women’s empowerment in a different format? Why is it Tumblr poetry that keeps popping up for me?

It also (especially in part 3, I think) felt a little too male-focused for the female empowerment. It was all like “I am woman. I spite you men. You men don’t live up to anything. You men are bad. You men are rapists. You men men men menmenmen.” and I just wanted more womanwomanwoman. (To say it in the way Lovelace does). I would have liked this to be a little more spread out rather than spiting men in one section just because it made that section give too much to the men and made them more of the focus, which I didn’t want.

And, I do have to mention this, just the format. Remember E.E. Cummings (or better known as e e cummings)? Well, he died in the 1960s, yet his legacy still somehow lives on. He was one of the earliest poets who used these techniques (and similarly a lack of punctuation and capitalization–thanks dude :/) and yet people are still doing what e e cummings did first today.

When e e cummings did it, he was one of the first. He was original. Now it just feels like modern poetry, for a lack of better word, is losing the personal style. (Also, to e e cummings: why the lack of punctuation? I’m still tearing my hair out over this.)

And so, even though I just am not a fan of modern poetry, I do think a lot of people who have found themselves to enjoy this will like it. Even if it does look like sentences without basic punctuation and capitalization spaced by random enters.

Y’all are just lucky I didn’t decide to
t h i s

Thank you to Netgalley and Andrew McNeels Publishing for providing me with a digital review copy in exchange for an honest review!

much love, vicky

What do you think of modern poetry? Let me know in the comments below!


3 thoughts on “the witch doesn’t burn in this one by amanda lovelace (DRC): Women! Feminism! and…a Broken Laptop?

  1. I’ve heard so much about this book and Lovelace’s previous poetry book, but I just can’t bring myself to read them because I think I’d feel exactly the way you did. Tumblr poetry is just not my thing at all. Great review!


    1. yeah, if you’re not a fan of Tumblr poetry than I definitely wouldn’t recommend. If you want something poetic but not Tumblr-y, I’d suggest trying a book in verse (the most recent one I read and love was Blood Water Paint by Joy McCullough which tells the story of a historical Italian painter!)


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