Sweet and Sour Poetry

By Julia Cirignano

Thank you to Augury Books for gifting me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Alicia Rabins’ poetry is as refreshing as a ripe piece of watermelon. Befittingly, her upcoming release is titled Fruit Geode. This 71-page collection of poetry is sweet and sore and it dribbles down your elbows as you dive in head first.

Rabins continues throughout this collection to tell her story using her senses. She begins by telling us what being young tasted like,

“The plagues we wished upon ourselves

With aloe juice and cayenne

The planets we strained to reach

That was how being young tasted”

One of the biggest reoccurring themes within this book is how baring a child changed Rabins for the better. She talks about pregnancy from countless different angles, exploring the home that her body was for her two children, and how that relates to the individual she is. She reminisces about a time when all she had to worry about was herself and her own happiness and then explains why she is glad that those times have passed.

“once life was a blank

white sea with blue lines

every day I set my sails

until I gave the blank page

to the embryo of a person”

Over and over again we see Rabins use her past to understand her current self. She talks about seeing old pictures of herself and remembers being embarrassed about her mustache. She explores her own insecurities, and how growing and birthing a child made her understand and love herself even more,

“I love that past self now so much more

Than I loved my present self back then

And I love my current self now”

Rabins uses poetry to understand her life. She turns the world upside down and inspects it like a bruised piece of fruit – learning to avoid the rotten areas and biting into the parts that are still good/sweet.

I especially enjoyed when Rabins uses light humor to tell her story. In her poem titled “Home Birth Video,” she begins with the lines,

“as it turns out closely

resembles amateur poem”

Humor is also used by Rabins to envision the perfect birthing experience. She reimages herself giving birth as a perfect moment, yet she hints towards the real story in several poems. In one poem she outright talks about how her midwife had to rush her to the hospital after planning a home birth. In a handful of poems, she also drops hints towards a c-section, such as this stanza in “My Whole Vagina Life”

“in the end nobody came out of it

they took the escape hatch”

Whether you’re a mother like Rabins or just another human with their own struggles, her lessons will still be inspirational. Life happens, but after all the love and pain, good days and bad, after slow childbirth and quick romance, Rabins says,

“I thought to myself,

now that I have been

broken,

I can begin.”

 

Enjoy some of my other favorite quotes from Fruit Geode,

“Gravity moves up and down,

magic side to side.

I stood beneath the traffic light

waiting for you.”

 

“you honor me

with the name

mother

although in my heart

I am both vain

& ugly”

 

Expected release: October 2018

 

 

 

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