Book Review: Like Fire and Ice
Reviewed by Jaylynn Korrell
Confessional poetry with an eye toward hope
We all have a story to tell. Like Fire and Ice, a confessional collection by Eli, is a personal story filled with intense emotion. From the depths of despair to a light at the end of the tunnel, the speaker connects with those who’ve lived through trauma and reminds others to check on the people they love.
The speaker in Like Fire and Ice has a noticeably rough start in life, as their mother abandons them and forces them to live with their alcoholic father. From there, they experience homelessness and abuse on top of some of the more typically teenage issues.
While trying to navigate relationships between lovers, friends, and family, the speaker realizes that they are truly alone and must figure out a way to cope with their lack of a support system. A new career in the military proves to have its own challenges as well, but it becomes a much needed journey to healing and growth.
My favorite aspect of this collection is how it navigates through the youngest and darkest days to some of the brighter times in adulthood. It’s jam-packed with big realizations, growth, and self-awareness. The jump from blame to accountability is one that takes a lot of work. The speaker goes through all the steps to reach a place of healing, and this journey proves truly inspiring to read.
This collection feels like reading a years-long journal, diving deep into traumatic experiences and glimpses of the other side. Sometimes the poems even speak directly to the person they’re talking about, which makes them feel even more personal. Touching on subjects like rape, domestic abuse, and violence, there is a sadness permeating the collection that you should be ready for. But I’m confident that readers will find hope in how some kind of happiness can come out of a dark past.
There are many things to love about Like Fire and Ice, butI do think that its length works against it. There are times where the poems feel repetitive in subject matter. The speaker might talk about aloneness in one poem, only to follow it up with a similar poem a few pages away, and again after that. There are also a handful of the same similes used in multiple poems which kind of minimizes their effectiveness over time.
Still, Like Fire and Ice successfully paints a picture of depression, abuse, and the path to something more.
Publisher: Atmosphere Press
Print Length: 144 pages
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