Book Review — Surviving Home by Katerina Canyon

Rating: 4/5

Genre: Poetry

Concisely arresting and challenging the beliefs of family and the fantasies of tradition, the poems in Surviving Home show that home is a place that you endure rather than a place where you are nurtured. With unyielding cadence and unparalleled sadness and warmth, Katerina Canyon contemplates the prejudice and limitations buried in a person’s African American heritage: parents that seem to care for you with one hand and slap you with the other, the secret desires to be released from the daily burdens of life, as well as the surprising ways a child chooses to amuse herself. Finding resilience in the unexpected, this collection tears down the delicate facades of family.

via Goodreads

This is a beautifully honest collection of poems. Sometimes, poems have a memoir-quality to them and that is how this collection reads. I admire the bravery of the person surviving the stories told in these poems– there is tenacity and hope persevering in each line. Some of these poems will also serve as a reflection of the Tr*mp administration and the era of the “Me Too” movement. A very powerful collection of poems that I highly recommend.

Poems that will stick with me:

  • I left out “Bells and Whistles” written with a little help from Websters Dictionary (Wow, I loved the concept of this one!)
  • NYP Psychiatry
  • Sojourner
  • The Tyger, Interrupted (This one, in particular, really connected with me. As I read more poetry written by people of color, it makes me reflect on how many white poets I was taught growing up, The Tyger by William Blake, being one in particular that I had to memorize. I wish I had grown up memorizing poems by Black women and I hope that this has changed for other young Black girls.)

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