True Lies: A Book of Poems
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14 best poetry books | The Independent
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When a poet dies, his publishers often hurry into print whatever scraps lie stuffed in his desk drawers or overflow his wastebasket. This is the book business at its darkest and most human, but many balance sheets have been balanced by a posthumous work or two. Death is the moment when all eyes are upon the poet for the last time; beyond, for most harmless drudges, lies the abyss. Leonard Cohen, who died two years ago, wore many a fedora — poet, novelist, songwriter, a singer of sorts — but only the last trade, which he took up reluctantly, made him a star.
Cohen was never taken very seriously as a poet. Many found him a bit much, his heart-on-his-sleeve misery no more appealing than plunging your hands into boiling tar. Such songs now form the hoarse, moaning soundtrack to countless movies and television episodes. The religiose sentimentality and painful growl, like a halibut with strep throat, have patched a lot of plot holes.
With a plan laid down by the singer himself, the editors have included his own choice of some 60 poems, the lyrics from his last four albums and a long dreary selection of notebook jottings. Their free verse poetry eschews difficult metaphors in favor of clear, plain language, and this accessibility is precisely what has garnered the new wave of " Instapoets " such a large and dedicated following. But in terms of sheer numbers, Kaur remains the most popular — and the most controversial.
After all, honesty, vulnerability, and a willingness to tackle tough issues are valuable qualities in any writer, but content and form are ultimately separate, and one does not cancel out the other. In an age when increasing attention is being paid to narratives of female trauma — particularly those communicated in a confessional vein — it can easily lead to the exploitation and commodification of those who experience said trauma.
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In March , Kaur was still a student of rhetoric and professional writing at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. She had a modest internet following when she uploaded a photo to Instagram of herself lying in bed, menstruation bloodstains on her clothes and sheets. She hit back on Tumblr and Facebook , saying:. The story went viral, gaining attention from media sites across the world , including Jezebel , BBC Newsbeat , Mashable and the Huffington Post , the latter enthusiastically praising Kaur for breaking down the stigma surrounding menstruation.
- The Official Website of Author Keith Maillard.
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- Daisy and Dancer (Pony Camp Diaries).
- True Lies of a Northern Bush Pilot- George Greening in Northern Saskatchewan.
Emboldened by her new fan base, Kaur released an updated edition of milk and honey with new poems and illustrations later that year. The poems in the collection can be broadly divided into two main categories: emotional and empowering. Kaur deals with the pain and joy experienced in familial and romantic relationships, as in:. It is perhaps telling that only the second, broader, and more general half of the poem went viral, rather than the first, which alludes to war crimes and conflict in Somalia and Kenya.
Kaur's stylistic similarities to writers such as Nayyirah Waheed and Warsan Shire, however, have also had negative consequences, with Waheed in particular recently leveling accusations of plagiarism now deleted at Kaur on Tumblr.
Kaur has stated in interviews that she takes inspiration from Waheed and Shire, but Kaur works within a subgenre predicated on minimalist style — like short lines and a lack of punctuation — which makes it impossible to tell where inspiration ends and plagiarism begins. This is not the only censure Kaur's work has been subject to. Yet many of these poems are not in the individual confessional vein for which Kaur is known and celebrated.