Breathe. Breathe.

Breathe. Breathe. - Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi I don't read much poetry. I like it well enough, but I'm also extremely picky about what I like. I'm soothed by the cadence and rhythm of the words. I love the experience of reading out-loud a well-crafted poem, where speaking it correctly is a performance in itself.

And then... there's poetry that doesn't rhyme. Mostly that just bothers me. Some of it I like, but it's never sent me into the peaceful place that the more structured, traditional stuff often does. So, I realized within pages that maybe I wasn't the right type of poetry reader for Erin Sweet Al-Mehairi's Breathe. Breathe. But, I had committed to reading it. So, I shifted the lens through which I was viewing it, and plunged onwards.

There were a few pieces which I truly enjoyed, and I want to give them special attention.

The first two were in Act One. The first was The Society of Fireflies - it was gorgeous and evocative. The second was The Lighthouse Keeper's Tale - though I do admit this one frustrated me a bit. I wanted more at the end.

From Act Two, there were two more: I liked Misunderstood and Wraith of the Lonely.

And, funnily enough, there were also two in the Short Stories section that I really liked as well.
The Madness of the Woodpecker was right on the verge of being great, but I felt like the ending was just a bit too rough for it to work completely. And Life-Giver of the Nile - This was an interesting one. I liked how well she visualized everything, and how it circled back at the end.

Breathe. Breathe. has a lot of poetry (and a short story) that revolves around domestic abuse. For some people it's going to be a trigger. I'm sure if you've been through a domestic violence situation, the poetry will speak to you. I wasn't really able to connect with those poems. I do wish there had been a bit more variation in how a lot of the poems ended, but I understand that poems aren't stories, and therefore it's the emotion that counts. So I didn't count that against her.

Overall, I have to give Al-Mehairi props for putting her own work out there for others to read. It's always easier to critique, to edit, and promote than it is to put forth your own work. My personal dislike of the poetry style aside, I can see where others can connect with it deeply. I liked the touch of fantasy that colored some of the poetry in the first act. There's one about what I assumed was some sort of Nosferatu creature that was pretty cool for that aspect.

Breathe. Breathe. will appeal to many readers. It's a quick (easy - for me) read that's worth checking out if you're into poetry and laying bare your emotions.