The collection is a poetic story of different relationships which are organized into the stages of a relationship; that initial attraction, the circling dance around each other, the honey-moon stage, the souring, the fighting, the breaking up, and the recovering. This work is deeply personal, but relatable all the same. Autobiographical at its core, it aims for love’s failures and triumphs, its disappointments and celebrations, the bad, the good, and the downright ugly. It is a poetry collection that reaches for the hearts of anyone who has ever fallen in love, thought of falling in love, fallen out of love, or is in love with the idea of love. Written in letter format, the collection includes a few sonnets, a couple villanelles, and a pantoum among the formal verse poetry, but mostly it is an experimentation with prose poetry and free verse that hardly seems free at times due to the skill with which the poet wields words.
Dear Lover, includes Maple Summers’ sharp eye for detail and idea organization, as well as her ability to express these ideas using the most evocative language, and effective, if not always proper, grammar. She wields the vocabularies that she has gleaned from her artistic background in a way that adds a delicious realism to even the saddest of poems. Because love does not always come with lovers, Dear Lover, also includes a section about casual sex, because Nelson frowns severely on slut-shaming and believes in the power of sexual freedom associated with “having sex the way that men do.” She accepts the positive and negative that comes with the act and includes her experiences in the collection. Love is not always easy and that’s what this poetry attempts to communicate.
Let’s talk about relationships. They are not always what they should be.
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