Swallowtail

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 07 Feb 2020

Member Reviews

Swallowtail offers in-depth truths and horrors of women experiences in today's America. Some are hard to grasp and a lot are what we've either witnessed or experienced ourselves and this is something everyone needs to read in today's climate.
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I so related to this collection of poems that dissected topics like loss and grief, pain and trauma, and what it's like to be a woman in this world. Twohy's writing is just stunning and you can almost feel the emotions that were swirling around inside her as she wrote it, even if you never had a similar experience. I loved how she used references of nature and wove them into her words. This felt like a complete and well-plotted poetry collection. *Advance copy provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
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Swallowtail is one of the best poetry books that I've read so far. All the poems are deep and beautiful. I absolutely love the cover too.
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This book is INSANE. I absolutely love reading poetry. The descriptive words and phrases had me turning page after page. I could not get enough and was devastated when it ended. This is not just another poetry book regarding abuse. It focuses on recovery. Beauty. Pain. Emotion. So eloquently written.
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I really, really enjoyed Twohy's interpretation of some very dark aspects of life. Assault, early love, lust, etc. are all aspects of the poems she presents here. 

The language is sharp and insightful, and matched with her hilarious poem titles it was a win-win all around. 

Probably a bit too much language for a high school classroom, but a library could surely include it for both YA and adult readers. 

Highly recommended read for poetry.
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A beautiful book of poetry. She has some very profound things to say about grief. She has a 3 or 4 line poem on forgiveness that completely captures the essence of what is meant by the word in current context. I really admire this young woman.
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My horoscope reads,
"Happy Birthday, Gemini
Mercury is retrograde
and didn't buy you a present.
The planets didn't think you'd make it.
We watched you collect pill bottles
and we settled in for a long winter.
We saw you pacing on that bridge
and the whole sky dressed in black."


I wish the whole poetry collection packed as much of a punch as these lines from the poem "January." Seeing as this collection dealt with rape and abuse and grief, it could have. Seeing as every Button Poetry video of Brenna Twohy has been phenomenal, it could have. But many of the poems changed thought midway. Many of the poems felt unfinished, like they were waiting to be further fleshed out. 

All in all, this book was a solid 3.5. I really enjoyed "January," "The Fisherman Takes the Fish Home & Tells Her He Loves Her," "Neville Longbottom's Boggart Attends Severus Snape's Funeral" and "The Author's Mother Writes a Grocery List."


I have spent years just like Spider-Man, convinced
the best way to protect the people who loved me
was to leap from a tall building.
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I really loved this collection. it was unique and not exactly what I expected but it surprised me in a good way.
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I got really caught up in the story. I followed her words like a movie, almost seeing images in my mind of what she was describing. I could relate on a lot of topics, which helps to understand and be touched, I guess. 

Beautiful words, really loved the rythm. Great poetry books. Thanks for letting me read this!
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"Swallowtail" is the first collection I've read from Brenna Twohy, though I'm familiar with her poetry from social media. Twohy is predominantly a spoken word poet - for me, this sometimes means that the poems don't work as well on the page as they rely heavily on the physical delivery, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that these poems worked as page-poems also. 

Twohy explores such tricky subjects as femininity, suicide and abusive relationships with a  firm yet delicate hand, and the book left me wanting more, which can never be a bad thing!

An accomplished poet with a deft touch - I look forward to seeing what Brenna Twohy does next. 

Thank you to NetGalley, who provided me with a free ARC copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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The first poem is what drew me into the collection. I remember thinking, "this is beautiful and heart-breaking" and falling in love with the prose.  It made me think about similar experiences in my own life, and I loved the raw honesty I found in the collection.There are themes of nature, feminism, rape, relationships -- so many things related to womanhood, really, and I enjoyed many of the poems, which were personal, thoughtful, but also open...as if they could be the stories of anymore. For these reasons, I deeply enjoyed Swallowtail.

I do, however, have two complaints. The first is...some of the poems are a bit repetitive. Given the core themes of the collection, this isn't really a big deal, but it did give me the feeling, as I progressed, that I had already been here, read that. So it lost a little bit of shine with me for this reason. My second complaint is about certain poems within the story...most notably the Harry Potter poems. To be honest, these felt out of place within the collection. Sometimes the titles were....I'm not sure how to put this. They came off rather sexualized to me, which isn't necessarily a problem for the poems themselves but again, this felt out of place within the collection. Not to mention the tone switch was jarring. For the most part, though, I just didn't like these poems...which is weird because I am a huge Harry Potter fan. I just think these were too out of place and jarring for me.

This said, I would still recommend this collection. It's important to talk about these experiences, and Swallowtail does it fiercely.
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I initially selected this book based on the cover. I am a horrible cliche, and absolutely judge books by their cover when initially deciding to give them a try. I don't normally read poetry books, preferring to read a few individual poems here and there, but Brenna Twohy grabbed me and held me for an hour straight as I read, no devoured, her work. It was incredible. After I finished reading, I had this immense sense of guilt that I had read it too fast. My inner-self telling me poetry is to be savored, so I went back to page 1 and started again, planning to read it slower this time. I did not, I turned each page and again devoured her words in no time at all. 

Her poetry flowed through a common thread of loss and pain—connecting her pain from the men in her life and her own experiences, like an entomologist collects butterflies. Each butterfly perfectly placed and pinned, just as each word, phrase, stanza was crafted. Her words spoke to me in more ways than just seeing another person's loss. In some cases, it was like staring into a mirror—particularly, when it came to her pieces about her romantic life. More than once I caught myself swallowing a lump in my throat when my own memories crashed into being after reading Brenna's own memories. 

Absolutely, a recommended read for readers who are looking to engage in some poetry, deep emotions, and know what loss is, and what it is like to break a little.
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I enjoyed reading this very much. As a poetry lover, this one definitely makes modern poetry just as enjoyable to read as classics.
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I absolutely loved this poetry collection. I love when writers don't shy away from the darker side of the human condition. Twohy's was with words was extremely moving. It was an amazing read.
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This review is posted on goodreads under my account @Jax Quenault and on my Wordpress blog. 

My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars 

Poem 1 - 3/5 Stars

Poem 2 - 2.5/5 Stars 

Poem 3 - 5/5 Stars 

Poem 4 - 3.5/5 Stars

Poem 5 - 3.5/5 Stars 

Poem 6 - 5/5 Stars 

Poem 7 - 3/5 Stars 

Poem 8 - 2/5 Stars 

Poem 9 - 2/5 Stars 

Poem 10 - 5/5 Stars 

Poem 11 - 3/5 Stars

Poem 12 - 2.5/5 Stars 

Poem 13 - 2/5 Stars 

Poem 14 - 2/5 Stars 

Poem 15 - 2/5 Stars 

Poem 16 - 2/5 Stars 

Poem 17 - 2/5 Stars 

Poem 18 - 2/5 Stars 

Poem 19 - 2.5/5 Stars 

Poem 20 - 4/5 Stars 

I was very kindly given a free ebook on Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. Overall, I really enjoyed this poetry collection and I think they were brilliantly written and that explored a lot of really difficult themes in a variety of different, creative but raw and honest ways. There were some poems that I didn't like so much but I liked a lot of them and loved others. I would be highly interested in reading more this author's work.
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This poetry might be the most heartwrenching thing I have ever read. As a longtime fan of Brenna, I was over the moon to find she was releasing this book of her writings, and even more so to see she is now working in the justice department. 

The poems are for the most part short, witty and heartbreaking. Whilst I wouldn't suggest it to those going through a hard time, I would reccomend it to those who want to know how it really feels to be in those places she has been. 

Brenna establishes a deep connection with the reader though colloquial language and soul baring poetry which she has forged with those same hands that have built the metaphorical house that is her body. Her reflections are painful, but necessary, she is a pioneer of imagery and being raw.
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This poetry was very standoffish and came off as annoying a lot of the time. The poet tried to come off as independent and sarcastic when in reality she just sounded really rude and that really puts me off of her poetry.
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This collection of poetry is shows a lot of pain. A very dark collection with hope at the end. The words are beautifully crafted together. Some longer poems are almost like letters.
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T/W: Sexual Assault, Suicide, Anxiety, Loss of a Loved One, Abuse, Grief

I really enjoyed Swallowtail. I like the poet's story, her style and her openness.  Through this poetry collection I was really able to feel how much the Towhy had revealed herself to her readers/listeners. Each poem packs a real punch and I can see why she has won spoken-word competitions in the past.

I found that some of the pop-culture references were a bit too gaudy for my personal taste but I thought it was interesting how the poet used them. The sudden use of explicit language seemed a little out of place amongst the rest of her carefully chosen words in the poems. I thought some of it was unneeded. 

Towhy's poems aren't pretty but they are very clever and I admire her ingenious use of metaphors and large vocabulary to express feelings that must be very hard to share and even harder to express. 

My favourite poems were found on pages 12, 17, 20, 41, 49, 53, 58, 63 and 66. Swallowtail is my favourite poetry collection that I have read this year and one of the most moving that I have ever read.

Thank you so much to Button Poetry and NetGalley for granting me this e-ARC.
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"To love me
is to love a haunted house.
It's fun to visit once a year,
but no one wants to live there."

At the stroke midnight, when the year 2020 began, I started reading this poetry book by Brenna Twohy. And my-oh-my, I could not have chosen a better way to start my new year. The book features a collection of poems revolving around grief and abuse. There are so many things the poet talks about, and in so many ways, that by the time I was done with it, I was drenched in tears. The night being the New Year's, it was certainly not a good idea.

I absolutely adored the way Twohy had penned down her words. Although the themes of grief, loss and abuse are quite popular, Twohy found a way to talk about them without boring me. Her metaphors about ghost stories, and her fanfiction poems from Harry Potter—all of them spoke out to me.

One of my favourite parts was reading this:

"I get it.
I know you are tired of hearing rape poems.

I am tired of hearing rape poems,
the same way soldiers are tired
of hearing their own guns go off.

We all wish the war was over. But
you are staring out at a world on fire
complaining about how ugly
you think the ashes are.

The poems are not the problem."

This portion of a longer poem spoke out to me in a way none had spoken before. The feminist take on certain ideas didn't go unnoticed. The poems made me feel and think about what I read. They spoke to me on a new level and changed my way of thinking about certain things and ideas.

Twohy's poems reminded me a little of Sylvia Plath. I remember reading her works a couple of years ago and absolutely falling in love. Brenna Twohy's book gave me the same kind of feeling. I'm certainly happy at finding out about it.

I mean, 2020 is only just beginning and I've already found a new favourite.
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