Melissa Stein’s Sophomore Release “Terrible Blooms”

By Julia Cirignano

Thank you to Copper Canyon Press for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Reading Terrible Blooms by Melissa Stein feelings like reading a diary. It’s not perfect, but once I picked up this book, I couldn’t put it down. Stein’s poetry feels like a natural flow of thoughts; one idea blending into another, creating one fantastic phenomenon. This is especially evident in “Seven Minutes in Heaven”.

I have many other favorite poems within this collection, such as “blessings”, where she uses wonderfully abstract imagery, a strength throughout this collection. In her poem “Crush”, the author explores the importance of innocence. I truly enjoyed this authentic interpretation of a coming-of-age poem.

Have you ever read a poem titled “Portrait of my family as a pack of cigarettes”? Well, now you can! Enjoy this whimsical poem, as well as “Quarry” (as seen on page 57, there are three poems with this title), a poem that starts off warm, and takes a dark turn at the end.

“Slap” explores a concept I myself have found intriguing for a while now; the idea that a writer might have a lover who doesn’t understand poetry. Stein then talks about the inevitable imperfection of sex in “Wormhole”.

Another one of my favorite poems in this collection is “Montgomery Inn”, a poem truly summed up in the lines,

“I can’t remember what I drank—

chardonnay? Vodka concoction? Champagne?—

but I took off early in my Corolla

and swerved home blasting Joy Division

and the Cure. I was twenty-four

and heading soon to graduate school

to get three thousand miles away

and write some poems and learn

to hike the California hills and have

anxiety attacks”

This collection of poetry is honest and raw, which inevitably means there are some flaws. While some of the flaws I genuinely enjoyed, the one criticism I have is that there were some poems that didn’t do much for me. They felt like filler poems to make the book longer and fell flat for me in comparison to the others that truly struck a chord.

Besides that, this collection was a joy to read. One of the biggest compliments I can give a book is that it inspired me to write, which is something that I’m proud to say this book did.

Terrible Blooms is due to be released on April 18th, 2018!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: