The Universe of Us by Lang Leav
Leav’s collection was a decent read for me, but it it didn’t quite hit the mark as the most impressive poetry collection I’ve read. The theme of her book revolved around romanticizing space and the time with reflection upon her past relationships.
Each poem related back to the main theme again and again. Leav has a knack for writing attention-grabbing, dreamy images that pop out onto the pages for her readers. My favorite poem was: The Weather; as I read it, her picturesque words came alive right before my eyes, awakening all five of my senses:
It was raining on the day I met him—hair wet and tangled—
droplets of water sliding down my cheeks like crystal teardrops.
He says he can taste sunlight on my skin whenever cherries are
in season. With me, he doesn’t think about permanence or
possession. He knows I’m just like the weather—I’ll keep
changing my mind (Lang 36).
Here, her clear images (“crystal teardrops” & “cherries are in season”) unravel, one after the other, creating something really distinct and original that it took me by surprise and swept me away for a moment into a different place.
I love when that feeling happens.
On the other hand though, some of Leav’s poems didn’t seem like poems to me. For example, one poem she wrote called: Conversations, had lines with quotation marks around them, giving me a stronger impression that it was more of a beautiful, prose piece of dialogue, rather than a poem.
Another poem: Recognition, by Lang Leav wrote as a one-liner:
I’ve never met you before, but I recognize this feeling (Leav 11).
This was a poetic line for sure, but it’s only a mere, simple thought. Maybe it’s just me, but I’m not a fan of one-liner poems because it can be difficult to convey that much in a single line and the chances of a person plagiarizing your work (or you plagiarizing another person’s work) increases the less amount you write.
Her ideas got a little repetitive too. She mentioned the concept of “collisions” and “spinning worlds” more than once. There are so many cosmic events that can happen in the universe, so I think she could’ve done a little more space research on her part.
The cover was an okay choice for her collection. In the introduction paragraph, Leav mentioned that her collection was also inspired by how she used to “look upwards at the stars.” It’s a shame Leav wasn’t depicted like that on the cover, but I suppose that this is something one could blame on the publishing company, not her, the author.
* page numbers correspond with the ebook, not the print version.