It’s nearly the end of National Poetry Month and today is World Book Day (yay!). Though I haven’t been a strong presence in my actual poetry community, I am trying to remain present in the online community. I have been writing daily, and reading as much as time permits with my busy work-mom-life schedule.
So it is fitting that I am reviewing another poetry collection. And I am over the moon excited about getting to do so! This time, MAGIC WITH SKIN ON by Morgan Nikola-Wren is my latest dessert for poetry this month.
Decadent, a bit gothic, and filled with delectable moments of urban fantasy, Morgan’s writing atmosphere is complete and propels the story. There is a whole world involved in the character’s need to make sense of and control the whimsy of her absent muse. A tale told in seven acts, readers will devour it in less than two hours.
More than once, I was reminded of my favorite Lilith Saintcrow (fiction) series– Working for the Devil — the dark hues, the temptation the muse (or fallen angel), and the heroine’s quest to remember herself. It is gritty and wonderful. I highly recommend it for a fantasy escape into a chewy world in which the heroine finds enormous agency in a sea of doubt. She magics herself into completeness; threads the muse into her body. They become one as she powers forward into a world of word-bliss.
I have always been a fan of genre crossing and mixed forms of art. This collection is like that — it can be read as a collection of stand alone poems, but it is really a complete story. It drives the reader all the way to the end. When I read poetry collections, it is common for me to jump around and bop in and out of place with the poet. Here, I was bound to stay on track and read through. But at the end of the journey, I find that reading it backwards also has its pleasures.
So many of Morgan’s lines are bite-sized and perfect. The toothy-ness of her story is worthy of adorning coffee houses, and home-offices for writers and others to draw inspiration. My own wall beyond the computer screen now boasts this, my favorite line, “tonight,/i say we host/a dinner party for our demons” . Yes, let’s. They have been eating me alive for years, but I never thought, perhaps if I invited them to dinner, we could be friends.
Morgan’s collection gleams with the kind of magic that heals our (very) human, messy lives. A fitting read for our time/s. Brava!