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  • Kelly Jarvis

Book Review: What the Moon Gave Her by Christi Steyn

The poems in Christi Steyn’s collection What the Moon Gave Her revolve around the theme of self-discovery through the natural world. Divided into six chapters (“birth by the ocean”, “you plucked too many petals”, “how to grow wings”, “dancing dolphins”, “full moon/bloom”, and “two trees intertwined”), the book explores metaphorical birth, awakening, and connection.

The poems are often personal with Steyn advocating “if you cannot write poetry / write about yourself my dear / there in the lines / a poem will appear.” This excerpt is similar in style and tone to many of the poems in the book which directly address the reader and use simple rhyme. Several poems suggest the reader connect with nature to “become a waterfall” or “let [your] wings grow”. Some poems meditate on the pains of romantic break up, isolation, and loneliness, while others unfold as lists such as “how to be invincible” or “how to become love”. An interesting series of poems sets out to explain colors to someone who can’t see, and a standout in the collection, “hands and names”, uses the moving image of the hands of the poet’s grandmother to explore love and loss.

The poems are scattered with simple pen and ink drawings that match the mood of the collection. Although I didn’t find any memorable stanzas and was sometimes underwhelmed by the simple use of rhyme scheme, there are many pieces which may resonate with female readers who have experienced friendship, doubt, love, loss, and spiritual awakening. Like the moon in the title, the collection offers readers the potential for beautiful transformation.

You can purchase the book here.

Thanks to NetGalley for providing a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Kelly Jarvis teaches classes in literature, writing, and fairy tale at Central Connecticut State University, The University of Connecticut, and Tunxis Community College. She lives, happily ever after, with her husband and three sons in a house filled with fairy tale books. She is also The Fairy Tale Magazine's special project’s writer.



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