Sunday, 28 May 2017

Even This Page is White [Poetry Collection Review]

Hello everyone!

Title: Even this Page is White
Author: Vivek Shraya
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Published Date: 13th September 2016
Rating: 3 Stars

*Thanks to the publisher for the review copy*


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Synopsis: Vivek's debut collection of poetry is a bold and timely interrogation of skin: its origins, functions, and limitations. Poems that range in style from starkly concrete to limber break down the barriers that prevent understanding of what it means to be racialized. Shraya paints the face of everyday racism with words, rendering it visible, tangible, and undeniable.

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Review: I decided I wanted to read Even this Page is White by Vivek Shraya because I am someone who loves to read poetry, but rarely reads any modern, newly published poetry that isn’t classical. This particular collection caught my eye because it is about white privilege, and how to handle the topic of racism when you do care about it but don’t know how to approach it. In other words, it sounded like the perfect kind of poetry collection to get me started on modern poetry. However, it didn’t quite work for me in the way that I hoped.


It didn’t have anything to do with the content of the poems, or me having any difficulty understanding. Shraya does a wonderful job of discussing white privilege and the way that it can truly make it difficult to show empathy, and understanding. It’s hard to acknowledge that people have suffered, and that you want to help them in a manner which doesn’t champion their suffering and put you as the ‘leader’ again. It’s about give and take. In all honesty, I hadn’t thought of the difficulties that someone could face when handling the theme of racism from this perspective, as I am so used to seeing it portrayed through the eyes of minority. It was very eye opening for me.

It reminded me that we truly need to take all perspectives into account when it comes to handling a problem we all want to overcome. Shraya also uses the different forms of poetry to give more perspectives on the matter. One of the poems was in the form of an interview with three people. It was different from anything I’d read before, but that way we got to hear more voices.


However, his writing style truly wasn’t one for me. It wasn’t necessarily the lack of punctuation – there was some. I also didn’t mind the lack of capital letters – that’s a technique I usually harbor myself quite a bit when it comes to writing my own poetry. But his enjambment, and the way he structures his lines of poetry and sentences is far too choppy for me. It was sudden, and disjointed. Overall, I felt like I couldn’t get a grasp of rhythm when reading his poems. They were broken too randomly, and too jarringly.

I could see how this could be a representation of how we are all broken and disjointed when it comes to this subject. That although we all have the best intentions and we all feel that this matter is one which needs to be conquered, there is still a failure of communication which is leading to a lack of rhythm and connection to all our actions. Despite being able to see this, it just didn’t work for me. Rhythm, I discovered, is one of the main things I can appreciate in a poem. It makes it complete to me. So I couldn’t enjoy this collection nearly as much as I wanted to.


I do think that if rhythm doesn’t take such a forefront in your enjoyment of poetry, you’ll be able to enjoy this collection. It covers and discusses such an important subject, and Shraya uses literary techniques and his style to even portray another perspective on the matter. It’s impossible not to appreciate the poetry he has crafted in this collection.

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Gif Summary:



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New Video! My video book review of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. 


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Links: Goodreads and Amazon!

Olivia’s Question: Do you read poetry? Who is your favourite poet?


Olivia-Savannah x

14 comments:

  1. Ah. This book has been on my wishlist since I've seen it last year. You're so lucky you got to read it! I'm absolutely dying to get my hands on a copy.

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    1. I hope one ends up in your hands very soon, and that you'll be able to enjoy it :)

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  2. I got this book a few months ago because of some awesome reviews I read; yours seems to be the first not-awesome one but I'm still very intrigued about it and I wanna read the book during the summer months. Thanks for the honest review Olivia! xx

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    1. Even though the style wasn't for me, all the other elements of the collection were fantastic. I hope you can read it soon!

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  3. Glad you are getting back into reading more modern poetry. It must be a nice change once in a while.

    Dinh@Arlene's Book Club

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    1. I've missed poetry. I am so glad to be returning to it ^.^

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  4. This sounds like a very unique collection that attempts to tackle is delicate subject. That being said, I think the poetry and especially the author's literary ticks (punctuation and capitalization) may have actually distracted from his subject.

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    1. It really does manage to handle the subject spectacularly well. It was a shame about the distractions though :/

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  5. Generally, I avoid poetry because I just don't understand them as well as I'd like. But, I did just order Between My Bleeding Lines--a collection of 100 free verse poems about love and loss!

    Lonna @ FLYLēF

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    1. I hope those love and loss poems will be something you can understand, and therefore really enjoy in the end ;)

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  6. Your photos are amazing, Oliva! I don't think that this book is for me - poetry just isn't my thing.

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    1. I am glad you like the photos! Ah, I understand.

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  7. Sounds interesting! Sometimes you just don't gel with poetry *shrugs* - that's ok! Btw, I love the way you did your make-up in that pic - dramatic!

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    1. Yes, I think your response to poetry is very personal, more so than with novels. So it really depends. Oh, and thank you hehe I was just playing around ;)

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