Book Review: Eye Level by Jenny Xie

Eye Level is a short poetry collection written by Jenny Xie published this year. When reading any poetry collection, I am always curious to find out how the title formalised and look for links between the poetry and the title. This intersection was revealed in the poem Ongoing which states “She had trained herself to look for answers at eye level, but they were lower, they were changing all the time’ 

WHAT DID YOU THINK OF THE TITLE?

The title is very simple yet metaphorical. To me, eye level means seeing the ordinary and not actively looking to see the deeper meaning. It embodies the readers perception on subject matters of the poems which are open and metaphorical but to the reader, they also have the choice to see the semantics or read the piece at ‘eye level.’ or even both!

 

WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT THIS COLLECTION?

The collection is very simple and easy to read. It was quite fluid on the place, the space and the content of the poems which makes it flow naturally. However, it seems that sometimes the focus is  lost and moved from one topic to another very easily. Hence, it can be said that if you prefer fluidity in a piece rather than rigidity, then this book is for the lover of free verse poetry.

 

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE LINES AND WHY?

My frugal mouth spends the only foreign words it owns.

I love this line because of the oxymoron between frugal and spend. The imagery of doing the exact opposite of what you’d expect from frugality makes this a powerful imagery.

I’ve grown lean from eating only the past.

Again the imagery and the oxymoron is quite vivid and can be imagined easily.

Heads bowed, yes, but to what.

This imagery is bold inviting the reader to challenge norms. At least for me, this line means respecting something or being obedient to a cause, a concept and idea but not understanding why. It  encourages me to try and understand the meaning behind an action.

CONCLUDING THOUGHTS

This piece is well edited and well written with an extensive vocabulary which I genuinely appreciate. It is very rich in culture which is why i felt some poems I didn’t understand or couldn’t relate to. Nonetheless, it was very simple to read and universal phrases stood out to me like the ones expressed above.

I would give this collection 3 stars.

 

Four Stars

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