Dena Daigle Reviews Love, Lies and Lullabies by Ashley Jane

I must admit, before I was introduced to Ashley Jane’s debut book of poetry and prose, Love, Lies and Lullabies (released on July 30, 2018), I had not yet had the privilege of indulging in her work; but after opening the cover, which is adorned with raw yet beautifully soft imagery, I am an instant fan.

Ashley opens this collection with the lines, “We painted with words, immortalized our souls with ink, sold our hearts to the masses,” a brilliant tagline sure to entice any admirer of words. We are then whisked into the whimsical realm of romance, where we experience both the beauty of the fall and the not-so-elegant reality of relationships in the book’s first section, Love.

In this section, Ashley brings us along the journey of a wounded heart that once settled for far less than deserved until coming to the realization that everything she ever wanted was right before her very eyes.  Ashley describes the “quick descent” one experiences when falling in love and puts perfectly into words what we feel in a new relationship, when struggling to find balance between the urge to stay and the instinct to run- a battle of the mind and the heart that anyone who has ever been scorned by love can relate to. But in pieces like Fragmented Heart we experience the patchwork art of careful hands willing to gently put the pieces of a once shattered heart back together.

I practically fell in love myself when I read the poem Lesson in Love, which reads:

“You hold me under velvet skies,
tracing each of my scars
and reminding me
that I am stronger because of them,
leaving me enough of those shadows
to rebuild myself
with bits of love.”

And although in Love is Messy, Ashley says “we try to define it, but it is not meant to be defined,” I believe she describes Love rather perfectly in this aptly titled section.

In the second section, Lies, we relive the pain of betrayal that adheres to our bones like mortar to the bricks we then stack high around our broken hearts.  As Ashley shares with us the misadventures of seeking happily-ever-after in fraudulent fantasies portrayed by “actors who use hearts for a stage,” we are reminded to take caution in the quest for love. She perfectly explains the way we lose ourselves when we become wrapped up in the pretty little lies we allow ourselves to believe against our inner knowing. I love the way Ashley reclaims her power by learning to “filter through the fallacies” in Self-Taught and then seals the deal by scrawling the lying muse’s name into her “little black book” and tossed away the key. My inner goddess cheered with joy as I celebrated that victory!

Lullabies, the last section of this incredible compilation, serves as a beautiful reminder that our inner light is always ready to illuminate the darkness when we are. Its dreamy vibe is filled with magic and mystery, the moon and stars, and an oceanic sky of endless possibilities to soothe the soul.

Ashley Jane’s Love, Lies and Lullabies is a must have for every poetry collection.

Love, Lies and Lullabies is available at Amazon.

Melody Lee: Morning Reflections

Sitting on my back porch

with my pal, my fourteen year old pooch,

enjoying fresh morning air, hot coffee and the whiff of jasmine

thriving on a nearby trellis. I am almost in a trance

from the peacefulness that only these early mornings offer.

Red cardinals and other birds, maybe quails or mourning doves, I am not sure exactly,

entertain me. So sweet they sing, then fly away. Much like love

that comes but doesn’t stay.

 

Beside me, Mary Oliver’s “Devotions,” and a cellphone I am

determined not to touch.

Although this euphoria won’t last as the sun begins to dominate the sky

causing heat and humidity to steal the moment,

it is perfect here now, in the early hours of July.

And I am getting lost in the solitude and simplicity of dawn.

Looking, listening, observing, as poets often do.

 

Red cardinals continue to appear, and I wonder

if my father and my brother and all the kindred souls

I have lost in my life are making grand gestures.

Silly I know, but still, I imagine they are watching me

reassuring me they are not only fine, but together, laughing,

loving, playing gleefully, in the dimension where their spirits now reside.

© Melody Lee

Written July 7, 2018


Melody is the author of Moon Gypsy and Vine: Book of Poetry. Available at Amazon.com.

Indie Blu(e) Welcome Faye K. Brown

Faye K. Brown started her poetic journey as early as she can remember. Pen and paper have always remained close to her heart throughout her life. On social media she has been writing publicly since 2015 via the Black Orchid Poetry and FK Brown Poetry Facebook and Instagram platforms. Her debut poetry book “Beautifully Damaged Things” was independently released April of 2018, and she is currently working on her second collection.  Black Orchid Poetry is an open platform for writers of all stages. Brown offers live poetry book reviews to promote the work of fellow writers, and she provides the opportunity for fans to post their work to the page under “Spotlight Poetry” events.  Anyone and everyone is welcome to send in their poetry to test the waters of writing publicly, and also gain exposure to grow their pages.

Brown has focused her energy on finding artistic outlets to emotionally navigate living with and experiencing depression, anxiety, bullying, eating disorders, abuse, and just feeling out of place in the world. Whether it is music, painting, or writing, her message has been and always will be that we are not alone in what we experience. Throughout all hardships endured, she has found her passion is to uplift, motivate, and provide direction so people can engage in what they want most out of life.

Connecting with people has always felt difficult for Brown. Poetry is one of the ways she can provide comfort to those who seek it. Her style of writing doesn’t always focus on positivity, it is based on real emotion, and life, which is messy. Currently residing in Minneapolis, MN, Brown spends her time reading, writing, painting, discovering new music, new art, upcoming writers, and spending time with close friends and family.

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Published Work

Available at Amazon.com

Beautiful Damaged Things

Beautifully Damaged Things is a collection of poetry written by FK Brown. Her words take readers through a journey of love, heartache, and redemption through real experience and lessons learned. FK Brown invites you to experience both her heart and mind, as she poetically elaborates on her take on life, love, loss, and hope. Her end goal is to ensure those who choose to dive into ‘Beautifully Damaged Things’ understand that no one is ever alone in what we feel and experience in life.

Nicholas Gagnier’s Review of Vine: Book of Poetry by Melody Lee

Some works- be it visual, musical or, in this case, written- are immediately apparent as a labour of love and appreciation for the craft they’re derivative of. There is a metaphysical manifestation in their creation, love of a craft for the craft itself. You can find examples of this phenomenon in any creative industry. The most immediate example off the top of my head is Stephen King, who probably could have retired decades ago and deprived us of some great works. He writes because he loves to. Donald Glover doesn’t have to be Childish Gambino in his spare time, especially with his level of success. He does it for passion.

You can see these energies in Lee’s Vine: Book of Poetry. There is excitement hiding in the way she turns syllables and matches sounds, almost effortlessly at times. There is little social justice warriorism here, and when her feminist side does come out, like in the four excellent lines that make up Warning, virtue signaling this is not, but a deftly applied example of feminine strength.

“They should have warned you

that little princesses grow up

to be red rocks and raging seas

fire dragons and warrior queens”

 Warning by Melody Lee

Instead, Lee tends to ride the line between the universal human experience (Education, November) and the investment in her art (Indelible, Death Lives in the Sepulcher of My Soul) with grace. References to her inspirations abound, Lee is a product of those who came before her, an amalgam of styles she has made her own.

The book is cleverly divided into semi-thematic chapters, each named for a type of vine (Clematis, Honeysuckle, Wisteria). At first, I was perplexed by the lack of an index, until I finished the book and found a helpful appendix to return to previous pieces.

“Wayward November winds

Caress my bare skin

Like dead flowers and silky petals of chrysanthemums”

November by Melody Lee

Overall, Vine: Book of Poetry is an enjoyable read. As a father to a six-year-old girl, I am often on the lookout for books I can pass down to her alongside my own, and I am happy to say Melody Lee’s little book squarely fits into that category. I wholeheartedly recommend it.

Review by Nicholas Gagnier, FVR Publishing

Vine: Book of Poetry is available now at Amazon.com and through other major retailers.

The Innocence Is Haunting: Excerpt from Rachel Finch’s A Sparrow Stirs its Wings

We were timid girls,
that hadn’t known it until
we weren’t anymore.
Taught how to keep our lips closed
and our legs open,
too small to know why until the first
hit,
too small to know how to stop the next.
We were a little nest of sparrows,
huddling to keep warm when the dark drew near,
too weak to sing, too fragile to fly.
She said to me, “how can you fear the wolf
if you’ve never seen his teeth bared?” and I
thought back to the days I would
reach out my hand, with no knowledge of the bite.


A Sparrow Stirs its Wings is available at Amazon.com

front cover