To Journey Through a Conscious Mind
by Tyfany Janee
THE iREAD REVIEW
Author Tyfany Janee’s debut book, The Invitation, is a very unorthodox poetry anthology in which different subject matters including death, romance, and hope, expressing a variety of emotions, including angst towards lost love and the promise of success by embracing one’s self. Although some of the poems do rhyme, most are free-verse.
The writer divides her collection into subsections. “The Work of Art That Is Me” opens with a free-verse poetic foreword inviting the reader into her mind and ending with mourning of her grandmother. Other sections include “It’s complicated,” with its initial entry, “Center Stage,” describing her soulmate as a show she hopes won’t end. It ends in verses that are, as their subtitle indicates, “An Ode to Luther Vandross.”
While perusing the first few poems, readers will find the poet’s style inconsistent. The first poem of “Stay Away Break Free” is political, although she doesn’t take open shots at either side of the partisan spectrum; for example, one of the lines reads “black lives matter,” which is followed, though, with “all life matters.” She touches again on ethnic issues in the section “Where do I fit in?” with its sole elegy, “Young Black Boy,” addressed to African youth, telling them to embrace their heritage and aim high by doing things like entering the Ivy League. The most rhythmic piece in the author’s assemblage, “Beautiful Mistake,” is one of many odes to former love. The final poem in the concluding section, “For Yet I Live”, finishes things on a high note with the reminder that sunrises provide new days to embrace.
One can best describe The Invitation as experimental, given its variable structure and infrequent rhyming. The flagrant use of the F-word in “Rockstar,” for instance, seems somewhat out of place, given the otherwise family-friendly nature of the collection. The target audience seems to be African-American youths, given the niche subjects of some of the poems, and while those expecting a conventional poetry anthology will find disappointment, those interested in a daring one will enjoy its sundry yarns.
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