Poetry Book Review


NocturnalTitle: Nocturnal
Author: Wilder Poetry
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
First Published: May 7, 2019
Pages: 86
Genres: Poetry
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
Rating: ★★½


The poems of Nocturnal—newly revised and expanded—are constellations to guide those on a journey of healing and self-discovery, no matter how dark the night.

From @wilderpoetry comes a heavily expanded revised edition of Nocturnal, a collection of poetry and beautifully illustrated black-and-white imagery inspired by darkened days and sleepless nights. Poetry meets presentation in each of the four sections ("Dusk," "Northern Lights," "Howl," "Lucid Dreams,"), which trace the author's continuing journey of self-discovery while illuminating a path for others along the way. Ink stains, landscapes, dreamlike animals, blackened pages, and textured spreads create a multifaceted reading experience. And true to the moniker, these poems are linked by a motif of "the wild." Celebrating the art of self-love poetry with both word and image, Nocturnal will leave readers comforted, curious, and inspired to explore the world around them.

My Review:

Nocturnal is a poetry book about self discovery, love, and healing. This book shared a lot of similarities in style and themes with other popular instapoets such as Rupi Kaur, Alison Malee, and Amanda Lovelace. Like the aforementioned poets, it’s all free-verse with random spacing between lines. While I can appreciate the form at times when the spacing is used to emphasize specific words, most of the time it just feels pointless and serves no real purpose at all.

Now aesthetically speaking, Nocturnal is one of the most beautiful poetry collections I’ve read in some time with full-page art gracing many of the pages. The book’s design is gorgeous and there was a large variety of different illustrations from page to page, I greatly appreciated the attention to detail. A turn of the page would have a feast for the eyes with many of the illustrations being nature-themed and I cannot understate how pretty this book was, excellent job to the publishers and the book designers for the marvelous work that they did on this book.

Unfortunately, looks were pretty much all this collection had going for it. While the book was lovely to look at, the content was forgettable. I didn’t find all that many lines that really stood out to me, there was no rhythm to them. Often I found that as I turned the page I had already forgotten the poem I had just read. The themes were repetitive and they are the same ones you see in every poetry book being published lately but it never manages to do anything new or memorable.

I thought that I would like this collection a lot more than I did, and I honestly wanted to love it with how beautifully the book was designed. If you’re a fan of simple, positive poetry or the poets that I had mentioned earlier than you might appreciate this collection. Like many others, Wilder Poetry has an Instagram account dedicated to poetry that is very pretty to look at. For myself personally, I feel like the market is getting oversaturated and it’s getting to be a little boring. It’s not to say that this collection was bad, there was just nothing that stood out about it to make it great.

“I will wait at the corner of I miss you and sorry”

I’m a Filipino American blogger, historian, and lazy writer. I enjoy books, video games, anime/manga, and smoking hookah.


  • Sophia @ Bookwyrming Thoughts

    MOOD. A lot of people I notice call it Tumblr poetry? I don’t know, but I’ve always appreciated particular forms rather than free verse (but I love it if it’s intentionally written in a certain way). Sorry the only thing Nocturnal had going for it was the art and design – personally I love seeing art with the book if it’s adding to the poem, but not if the words are forgettable.

    • Jamie

      I was really put out by how underwhelming the writing, considering every page was so pretty you could take them out and frame them! I’ve seen Tumblr poetry be tossed around a lot, and really many poets that are on Tumblr are also on Instagram due to the nice picture wall format. I used the term “instapoet” after seeing it used in a few articles about the new trend in popular poetry.

      Completely agree with you on preferring other forms over free verse, which can be very hit or miss to me. There are poets that can just draw you in with the beauty of their writing and the way that the poem reads when spoken, and I just don’t get that from a lot of the “empowering” and “healing” poetry that has become popular as of late.

  • Jennifer

    1) John Green just published a new YouTube Channel with authors reading poetry. It looks like something you would like, and maybe something nice to play if the girls happen to be in an earshot lol

    2) I totally get you with the whole visuals. I recently read Book of Lies by Aleister Crowley and it was from the library. It was totally pared down, just the text, when one poem ended, it started the next one right on the same page, etc. Then I saw pictures of the original and there are all these beautiful drawings and painting, and it would of totally changed the reading experience. Which isn’t bad, but doesn’t mean the poetry stands so well on it’s own.

    • Jamie

      Oh I love John Green’s channels, I’ll definitely check out his new one! As for the Crowley book, that’s a tragedy to hear that they just slapped all of the poems together. They must be relying on the poems to stand on their own, but poetry is an art and I feel can be greatly improved upon with audio or visuals. Perhaps the publishers were saving space, and to some degree I get it also, I’d rather they not waste so much paper if all they do is one poem per page, but it can be nice to have something extra. A drawing, a design, or maybe the text is aligned in a certain way – something. It’s a shame when a poet provides drawings or other extras that get cut out.

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