About BREATHE. BREATHE.
Breathe. Breathe. is a collection of dark poetry and short fiction exploring the surreal depths of humanity. It’s a representation of how life breaks us apart and words put us back together. Purged onto the pages, dark emotions flow, urging readers into murky seas and grim forests, to the fine line between breathing and death.
In Act One, readers are presented with a serial killer in Victorian London, a lighthouse keeper with an eerie legacy, a murderous spouse that seems to have walked right out of a mystery novel, and a treacherous Japanese lady who wants to stay immortal. The heightened fears in the twilight of your minds will seep into the blackest of your nights, where you have to breathe in rhythm to stay alive.
In Act Two, the poetry turns more internal and pierces through the wall of denial and pain, bringing visceral emotions to the surface unleashing traumas such as domestic abuse, violence, and illness.
In the short stories, you’ll meet residents of Valhalla Lane whose lives are on a violent parallel track to collision, a man who is driven mad by the sound of a woodpecker, a teenage girl who wakes up on the beach and can’t find another soul in sight, a woman caught in a time shift pitting her against the Egyptian goddess Anuket, and a little girl whose whole world changes when her favorite dandelion yellow crayon is discontinued.
Do you ever hear a song and think, “It’s songs like these that make me want to learn guitar (or other instrument of choice)?” I hear songs that impress me so much, I just wish I could express my own feelings using that particular instrument (basically anything by Days of the New makes me want to learn acoustic guitar).
Pretty much the entire time I was reading “Breathe. Breathe.” I found myself thinking, “It’s writing like this that makes me want to write poetry.” And I mean that as a great compliment because reading and writing poetry is often not easy for me, as much as I wish it were so. The way Erin writes her poems (and stories!) just flows through my imagination and paints pictures of beautiful characters and scenery that may come with an unexpected or dark ending. Many of Erin’s poems made me think something or feel something, and I don’t always get that with poems.
My favorite poems were Earl Grey Tea, You Say You Love Me, and Driftwood of Wishes. Earl Grey Tea almost brought me to tears, then it twisted my heart at the end in a different direction. I had to take a second and think after reading that one! You Say You Love Me moved me very much into a mixture of both sadness and anger. Driftwood of Wishes had very tangible imagery that had me smiling at first, but had a very haunting end.
To me, the collection of poems moved between what I would call more seemingly concrete characters, objects or themes to the more abstract. I believe anyone who enjoys poetry will find something they like in here because there is a variation in length, style, topic, etc.
The final act of the book includes a collection of dark short stories. They are all very well written. Probably the one story that resonated with me the most was Dandelion Yellow. Beautiful imagery but with a lot of heartaches.
Some of the poems didn’t necessarily speak to me, but that’s OK! Everyone is different and what speaks to you may not speak to me – and the other way around. But overall I find Erin’s writing style in both her poems and stories to be very enjoyable.
This collection beautifully showcases the beauty in the worlds we create (either physically or in our own heads) and also reminds us of the sickening cruelty inflicted onto others. A great collection for anyone who enjoys reading work on the darker/haunting side, and who may want to feel a little vengeance a little once in awhile!
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