Summary From Goodreads:
The wildly unrestrained poems in Splinters Are Children of Wood, Leia Penina Wilson’s second collection and winner of the Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry, pose an increasingly desperate question about what it means to be a girl, the ways girls are shaped by the world, as well as the role myth plays in this coming of age quest. Wilson, an afakasi Samoan poet, divides the book into three sections, linking the poems in each section by titles. In this way the poems act as a continuous song, an ode, or a lament revivifying a narrative that refuses to adopt a storyline.
Samoan myths and Western stories punctuate this volume in a search to reconcile identity and education. The lyrical declaration is at once an admiration of love and self-loathing. She kills herself. Resurrects herself. Kills herself again. She is also killed by the world. Resurrected. Killed again. These poems map displacement, discontent, and an increasing suspicion of the world itself, or the ways people learn the world. Drawing on the work of Bhanu Kapil, Anne Waldman, Alice Notley, and Mei-mei Berssenbrugge, Wilson’s poems reveal familiarity and strangeness, invocation and accusation. Both ritual and ruination, the poems return again and again to desire, myth, the sacred, and body
–Craig Santos Perez
Splinters Are Children of Wood by Leia Penina Wilson is a poetry novella.
Poetry is a new genre for me. All that I’ve read of poetry thus far is Emily Dickenson, and I adored her works, as well as that of Robert Frost. This was…not that sort of poetry at all. For a word of warning, this book contains harsh language that I wasn’t quite prepared for. And their misspelling of the word “girl” to “gurl” was irritating after the sixth or so page.
I wanted to like this more than I did. I really wanted to dip my toes back into poetry, but this was extremely off putting. I can, on the one hand, see why some people enjoyed this book. But to me? No. Two stars, and I will probably not be reading from this author again any time soon. I will say that I still rather like the book’s title and cover, and that’s pretty much it.
Final Rating: 2/5 stars