I came across Lang Leav’s poetry on Tumblr. (Yeah, yeah, like everyone else, right?) Though that was some years ago, I recall liking some of her words or poetry. I remember thinking that there was a potency in her words, a sort of tragic profoundness in her writing and in the subject. However, after reading Love & Misadventures, there are three possible explanations as to why I have given this book a one-star:
1. Leav wrote poetry that she thought would appeal to the masses, thereby curtailing and muting her creativity, and is actually capable of writing better poetry.
2. Leav may just not be a good poet.
3. Leav’s poetry is just not my taste (not anymore, anyway).
(Or maybe all of the above.)
Love & Misadventures was awful. I am not the kind of person that revels in giving negative reviews or deriding authors or their work – on the contrary, I love liking books and writing glowing reviews – but if I said I had a glimmer of fondness for this book, I would be lying. And I am sad that I have such opinions of this book, because I wanted to like it, to treasure it deeply, since it was the first (and currently, only) poetry book that I own.
When I read poetry, I expect the poem to resonate with me, to strike me, or to, at the very least, make me feel. I look for poetry that lights up my mind, that helps me rediscover buried feelings, and the fortunes and misfortunes of life.
Unfortunately, Love & Misadventures fails to do any of three for me. The poems are shallow; Leav writes about the lingering and fleeting feelings one feels when in love, when yearning or when hurting. Unfortunately, the poems lack depth and do not capture anything earnest or genuine about the feelings that she write about; in fact, they border on being puerile.
The poems are very short too. That’s not to say that short poems are inherently bad, but Leav ends the poems before they can develop to have any real meaning. There is nothing thoughtful or contemplative about the poems. They are bite-sized, written for easy consumption and digestion, because they are abrupt and devoid of substance. Thus, there is no permanence in her poetry; there is nothing that really endures, nothing very memorable, or emotive. It is shallow writing about hollow ideas and emotions.
It’s a shame, because despite my negative opinion about Love & Misadventures, Leav could be a good writer or poet. However, I think she should relinquish trying to appeal to a large audience. Maybe I am wrong, but I get the inkling that Love & Misadventures isn’t Lang Leav, not who she really is. I believe if Leav wasn’t so complaisant, she could be more — but perhaps it is wishful thinking.
Love & Misadventures was a quick-read, and for that same reason, I may give her second book, Lullabies a go. If there is anything positive to be said about reading Love & Misadventures, it is two things: One, I am now motivated to read good poetry. Two, the minimalist in me loved the format and layout; it was simple and really beautiful; what a shame it is just a facade with very little behind it.
Who and what are some of your favourite poems or poets?
Book Name: Love & Misadventures
Author: Lang Leav
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing