Are.You.Ready.For.Something.A.Little.Bit.Different? Youarethenthatsgreat! This is poetry like you have never seen it before. An experience that may leave you with a little bit of a headache and seeing dancing blurry dots for a while but trust me, it is totally worth it. It is B e a u t i f u l !
Today is my turn on the blog tour for #LoveLikeBlood (Published By Knives, Forks and Spoons Press) By Sascha Aurora Akhtar. A big thank you to Fly On The Wall for my copy to review and for the invite to take part in this wonderful blog tour, always appreciated. Prepare yourself dear reader, and expect A N Y T H I N G and E V E R Y T H I N G.
About The Author
Sascha Aurora Akhtar feels deeply connected to her ancestral roots in Lancashire, South Yorkshire and Pakistan.
Her first poetry collection was The Grimoire of Grimalkin (Salt, 2007), followed by 199 Japanese Names for Japanese Trees (Shearsman, 2016) & the first of its kind a deck of Poetry cards with fine art Only Dying Sparkles (ZimZalla 2018). In 2019, she has published The Whimsy Of Dank Ju-Ju (Emma Press 2019) & #LoveLikeBlood (Knives, Forks & Spoons Press 2019).
Her fiction has appeared in BlazeVox, Tears In The Fence, The Learned Pig, Anti-Heroin Chic, and Storgy.
Sascha has performed internationally at festivals such as the Poetry International Festival in Rotterdam, Avantgarde Festival in Hamburg, and Southbank Centre’s Meltdown festival in London, curated by Yoko Ono.
With #LoveLikeBlood, which is the title of a very famous song Love Like Blood by 80’s stalwarts Killing Joke, Sascha Akhtar takes her poetic journey back to her origins. The first poem in the book is called GirlChild of the 80’s to send the tone straight from the beginning. She IS in fact an 80’s child & wants others to know this, with the names of the Barbie dolls specifically from the 80’s mentioned in the poem. This collection of poems is meant to contain the poet’s life – a legacy of mental imbalance, undiagnosed aspergers for most of her life- through language. ‘I believe all of my life- from my father leaving when I was 4, to a legacy of abuse ( physical & emotional), a history of mental illness but striking out anyway on my own- leaving Pakistan, leaving America all of it alone – has been rupture and that is what this poetry collection contains: rupture, deep emotions & process but also alchemy & ‘becoming’ ( the poet is also a meditation guide & healer which was prompted through her own healing). The dedication reads: This book is dedicated to You, for there is no ‘I’ except in You & the same love runs through our veins. Like blood.
Akhtar’s poetry is definitely an experience that all should discover. I don’t think I can do it justice with mere words, you have to see it for yourself. But I will give it my best shot. Come, follow me down the rabbit hole dear reader.
To some, Akhtar’s poetry on the page may look like a catastrophic whirlwind. There is big open spaces, verses dotted all over the place and words squished together with no gaps to breathe. Her poetry is literally jumping out from the page at you screaming, “Notice me, read me, indulge me!”. But that is what makes it deliciously exquisite. It reminds me of a fun house at the fair. The ones that have a room full of mirrors. You turn one way and you are all wobbly and thin, you turn the other and you’ve become a blob. No two images are the same, they are all uniquely distorted and show you another way of looking at yourself and the world. This is what Akhtar’s poetry mirrors, the good, the bad and the downright ugly. It’s pure and tainted, one reading is not enough as you quickly find yourself queuing up for another go.
Akhtar’s choice of words and language beat rhythmically in her poetry. The sounds they create breathe life into the emotion and raw passion that she bleeds openly onto the page. She also sometimes speaks in French which gives it that Je ne sais quois adding to the whole immersing mind-trip as you gracefully welcome the unknown. It’s bewitching to witness.
Throughout history the English language has changed drastically to what it is today. Text speak has become a common choice of dialect that breaks the formality and elegance that the English language upholds. When placed in a poem it pulls you into a virtual world, one where barriers are broken and time is of the essence as words are hybrid into a creative shorthand. The use of this technique that Akhtar uses is visionary, making you appreciate the time and effort she has spent crafting these magnificent sculptures. It’s different and interesting to read.
I found her use of full stops effective. Often it can be overused and draw away from what the poet is trying to express. But not here dear reader, Akhtar wields it like a second tongue, breaking each word down when it is required which forces the reader to sharply stop. Breathe. Continue. Stop. Breathe. Continue. It is delicately forceful, allowing the reader to absorb each word that is said, the sounds and tones that it creates, they are surrounded and willingly surrender.
There is also a fond use of repetition that when paired with Akhtar’s use of full stops becomes a powerful, inspiring voice that thunders at the sky. You are drawn to it, to keep reading and feel the rhythm that Akhtar creates echo inside your head.
like…no scratch that, love about Akhtar’s poetry is her refreshing, unique approach. She takes risks, is bold and experimental and creates a new direction for poets to follow. To not be afraid of colouring outside of the lines, create and write what inspires you, tell it like it is and just be yourself. Let the creativity flow from your veins onto the page.
I give #LoveLikeBlood By Sascha Aurora Akhtar Four out of Five paw rating.
A revelation of refreshing poetry that you have to experience to fully appreciate the beauty Akhtar has created. I can imagine some of these poems being displayed in an art gallery. The way they are written on the page, the shapes and images they create is breathtaking and an art within itself. Mesmerising and diverse, Akhtar is a poet that breaks the mould in the most captivating way possible.
Don’t forget to follow the rest of the blog tour, dates below, enjoy!
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