Since starting university I’ve read so many great books… and some not too great ones. But rather surprisingly my favorite read of this year wasn’t a part of my required reading. In my poetry class we had the opportunity to chose what collection we wanted to analyse and review. Without any hesitation I told my professor that I was going to chose Branches by Rhiannon McGavin. I didn’t even own the collection at the time, I had to order it as soon as I got back to my flat.
I’d come across Rhiannon’s work via YouTube, she has a channel called The Geeky Blond where she shares not only her poetry but general life chatter. She’s one of the people who influenced me to become a poet. I’m not sure if it’s her personality or delivery of her work that I enjoy more but either way she’s a joy to watch.
Branches is everything I love about her work, it’s the perfect poetry collection in my eyes, every poem is a pleasure to read. When reading it I have the book in one hand and a pencil in the other. Ideas I’ve had whilst reading the poems are scribbled in the margins. Some pages have big stars in the corners for the ones I really love. Words are underlined and stanzas and circled.
Her work has this uncensored realness that’s not only refreshing but insightful. Possibly my favorite poem in her collection is ‘Things that could happen to a girl wearing jeans’. I first heard it as a performance pieces on her YouTube channel and that soon made it’s place on my top five poems, I had no idea it would be included in Branches.
Every poem is well thought out and can hold it’s place on the page. There isn’t one set style to her work either what I love even more. Some poems forms puzzle and excite me, I can read them several times and get new meanings for them every time. Some are short and sweet, others last several pages. A few poems when read back to back feel like chapters of the same story. The diversity of this collection is astounding, the fact that it all fits in and complements each other is credit to how talented Rhiannon is as a poet.
The collection houses 27 poems, the perfect size to take with you on a train journey and get lost in the words. This collection will take you on a quick witted journey as you watch the author grown up through the pages. I’ve mentioned in previous posts that I’m currently in the process of writing my own poetry collection and Branches has been one of the biggest pushes for me to push past writers block and get creating. It would be an honor to be a poet half as good as Rhiannon is.
How about you guys? What has your favorite read been in 2019? As I mentioned in the start of the post, I’ve read so many amazing books this year. It was difficult to chose my favorite.
For 2020 I’m setting myself the goal to read 15 books. I’ve never been able to reach that target but I’m hoping that a year spent at University will help me along nicely with that. I’m open to all genres so if you have any recommendations please let me know and I’ll check them out.
Wishing you all a safe and enjoyable new year.