Forgive Yourself These Tiny Acts of Self-Destruction

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 02 Mar 2020

Member Reviews

are exactly like that—
no matter how ready you think
you are for them,
they always leave you with so
many things you want to say."

Reading this book wasn't what I expected. I know that reading someone else's poetry you enter in a part of their soul that is not always available to anyone else. Poetry can get very personal. It's not only a writing genre where you put words together to make them rhyme, but it's also a process where you express what you can't say with your voice in a certain moment, and I feel this process is different than writing a diary because mind and heart look for the correct words or even invent them to capture them on a piece of paper to never let them go.

Jared Singer talks about different kinds of love: the one that is romantic, the one that comes from friendship, the one that comes with one's identity and culture and self-love but also about their counterparts, like a partners' loss because love is gone, the loss of friends due to suicide or hate crimes, the loss of one's self, which happens often and can involve any of the aforementioned losses and, therefore, the need of self-destruction as well as the path to acceptance.

I'd say "TOXICITY" and "I STILL MISS YOU" were poems that felt like a bunch of slaps because they reminded me of myself. And that's the thing about poetry that differs from characters in novels. Even though these aren't your words, you can find your feelings finally expressed and that you are not the only one that thinks the same.

The only one I disagreed with was "YOUR SLEEPING PILLS." Didn't I get the point of it? Maybe. But as someone that has been in treatment for months, I can't tell myself that I don't need them. Of course, my body and mind would love not to take them, that I'd be better off without them in a certain way, but taking those pills is something that I need to get used to since what I have is not something that will ever end. Still, even with those pills, I do have those moments of self-destruction (you need to read the poem to understand such moments).
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Poetry is subjective, so YMMV, but this book did not work for me at all. There were some misogynistic undertones to poems that I could not ignore. The voice was one that I did not find relatable.
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I absolutely loved this collection. I read some of the poems twice! Singer's voice and experiences resonated with me and often times I felt myself so moved I had to pause. There were only a few moments where a few particular lines took me out of the experience but that's more my personal preference and not the writing ability. Overall, I thought it was a well thought, cohesive collection.
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This was such a touching read; it managed to make me laugh and also make me cry. This dealt with such heavy topics but did it so sensitively
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(Follow @justagirlhighonbooks on Instagram for more reviews!)

"When the time finally comes to say
goodbye to me for the last time,
don't hurt yourself trying to
sum up everything you want to say.

Raise a glass, drink it down,
I'll be listening."

The first thing I have to admit about Forgive Yourself These Tiny Acts of Self-Destruction is that it was a very personal book. In every poem, in every line, in every word, you can see the Jared Singer's personal thoughts reflecting. You can see how much the book means to him. You can see why poetry is so important to him, why speaking onstage is important to him and why one should read it.

"I hope we are reborn as flies
so that we can love each other
as hard as we were meant to."

It's beautiful in every single way. The poet pens down his words in a miraculously calm manner, even though when you read them, you can feel the passion behind them. Singer talks about many of his experiences in this book. He talks about his brother's death, his friend's suicide, how being Jewish in America changed a lot of things for him and also how his "fatness" (he's just fat, nothing special about it) affected his life. All of these things he discusses in the book. He says out words that he probably hadn't been able to say before. Or maybe he had. I can't say for sure, though. And all the while, you can imagine him crying in his corner while writing or shaking his head in anger—that's the power of this book. That's how great it is.

The only thing that I didn't like about it, however, was that most of the times, it didn't seem poetry to me. Don't get me wrong, the words Singer used were poetical enough. However, they seemed more like poetic sentences broken in places than actual poetry. Yes, I felt for him. I felt the emotions he portrayed throughout the book. However, I just didn't think it was poetic enough. And that is what bothered me, majorly. This is why I'm not giving it a 5-star rating. But here's to hoping the next book is better!
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Let me start with this: "A Letter to Sarah Contemplating Superpowers" just flat out made me bawl. Being a spoken word poet myself, I went looking for the video on YouTube, which is a far more visceral experience than just reading the words. 

I wish we didn't live in a time where we get taken by surprise when someone we know, a friend, a loved one, turns up dead by their own choice. But we live in a time where a lot of us do to various degrees. What can we say to that, other than:

"If I could travel through time, I would go back
to the moment before it was too late.
Right before you wrote a suicide note that started

Dear Jared:
I’m doing this now because I know you will be the one to
find me. Of all of my friends, I think you’re the one who’s
strong enough to take it.

What made you think I was strong enough to take this?"

There was a lot of poems about this topic. I'm not sure if they were about the same person or if Singer had to experience more than one. But if that sampler wasn't enough to clue you in, 'Forgive Yourself These Tiny Acts of Self-Destruction' is in part, raw with pain and in other parts, breathtaking in how an image was woven out of words. 

The other piece that stood out for me was 'Artifacts', excerpt: 

"Why do you think rich men buy the
instruments of famous musicians

and put them behind glass instead of playing them?
To protect a valuable object? Do you see their
families in cases? Their egos? Their legacies?"

I can't relate to his poems about being Jewish, but I can appreciate how poetry allows us to talk about things we each experience differently.

This eArc was courtesy of NetGalley and Button Poetry.
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I really enjoyed the sections of this poem book that I related to. It had many different poems in the book that I highly related to and this is what I look for specifically in a poem book.
I also really enjoyed that the poem book had a range of lengths, some poems were short and some were long - I really like this as I find that it keeps me interested in the poem books for longer. 
Overall, I think it was a good poem book with some really insightful poems that are relatable. 

However, I also found that I felt that the poems about suicide specifically were slightly out there. From my perspective, it felt as if the author was trying to say that suicide is a choice, and I got the impression from two poems in the book that the author was implying that those who do commit suicide are ungrateful - due to other people dying of other causes. I don't agree with this and feel like it is slightly out there for an author talking about mental health to make statements that suicide is a choice, maybe this was just the way i interpreted the poems but this is how i perceived them and i did not like these two poems and this is what lowered my rating.
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This collection was another book of very hard hitting poetry, which examines a number of sometimes difficult subjects. Singer discussed a number of personal experiences and triggering subjects for him. With this in mind it made the poems more full of depth and more jarring.

There are a number of triggering subjects so if subjects like suicide, body image issues, loss of loved ones and more so if those subjects are too triggering for you go into this with caution. The poems are very heartfelt and definitely show a journey that hopefully lead towards acceptance and growth.

All in all it was a great collection that is sure to pull at the heartstrings and have great impact.
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this was really a personal book. don't know if enjoyable is the right word for it, but i felt a connection with a lot of poems, specially the last few. 

This is a book i'm going to read again sometime because i saw myself in a LOT of poems. my heart aches.
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Any time I see a Button Poetry book on here, I have to request it ASAP. Jared Singer is brilliant and I will definitely be purchasing my own copy. I cannot wait to read more from Singer.
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This lacked a poetry feel. Just felt like a celebrity who was trying their hand and something new unfortunately it just didn’t work for me.
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This book was amazing!  The author's writing made it feel like he really understood my personal struggles with some of the issues that were written about.  I think anyone that picks this one up will instantly love it!
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