46 by Melissa Burke
In her fourth book, 46, author and poet Melissa Burke brings us a collection of poetry and a few short stories that focus on what it’s like to be mixed up within the throes of depression and mania. There’s a nice mixture here of stories and poems that speak about love, darkness, light, confusion, pain, weirdness and everything that falls in between. As the author explains in her introduction, she is a woman who is suffering from nearly every kind of illness or disorder that you can imagine, but that has not stopped her from writing through all of the craziness. Although the author is not confident about herself, and even claims to hate herself, through her words and reflections the reader is able to see a deeper side of her, where she bares herself on the page through her poetry. We witness the struggle through her prose as she describes the kinds of things that she’s gone through, never censoring herself, as is clear with poems with titles like ‘Rat Poop in Camelot’ and ‘Rape: The Aftermath.’
We’d find it hard to find another collection that is more raw or heartbreaking than Melissa Burke’s 46. And since poetry is all about leaving nothing behind, pouring your soul out onto the page, Burke succeeds in what she’s set out to do: reveal everything that comes to her mind. While the pieces and organization are somewhat unorganized and messy at times, it works for the collection as a whole, since this is the kind of poet who doesn’t seem to care for any kind of cleanliness in her life. Rather, she’s been unable to achieve a certain sense of balance, but that hasn’t stopped her from writing, and we’re so glad that she’s found an outlet through her poetic craft.
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