- Olivia Velasquez
Monsters Can Be Real - "To Make Monsters Out of Girls"
The term “modern poetry” itself might raise a few eyebrows, as it is certainly cause for suspicion. The truth is that short, aesthetic-looking poetry books have been quite popular among young people over the past few years. For example, “Milk and Honey” by Rupi Kaur has been one of the most notable collections in years but has been scrutinized for its “insta-poetry” feeling. “Insta-poetry” referring to the general feeling that the poetry was quickly and half-heartedly thrown on a page. Most of the poems are incredibly short and read more as aggressive tweets than the angsty poetry it’s supposed to be. Though not all are great, there are some works with a short and choppy nature that simply execute the style much better.
“To Make Monsters out of Girls” is the first installment in Amanda Lovelace’s “Things that H(a)unt” series and was released in 2018. The poetry collection was published by Andrews McMeel Publishing and contains 168 pages of heartbreaking poems mixed with gorgeous illustrations throughout.
The collection is about an abusive relationship and the realities of self-discovery and self-love. The book is split into three main sections, “monster-boy,” “monster-girl,” and “sun-heart.” Each section takes an in-depth view into the topic with illustrations to accompany the works. Lovelace digs into her personal hell, unleashing her demons for the reader to meet.
Speaking on such sensitive matters can be difficult and must be done with intensive care. “To Make Monsters out of Girls” does a beautiful job at telling a story and sending a message. Each poem extends further into some of the darkest elements of human relationships and makes the reader see, hear, feel, and taste the pain within.
While these poems can be quite short, and the book itself can be read in 30 minutes, this collection doesn’t feel like an “insta-poetry” collection. I find this is due to the fact that each element of the collection (the poems, the illustrations, the structures) have a meaning. Things aren’t scattered around for the sake of cool-looking poetry. There are reasons for every aspect of Lovelace’s work and it’s what makes the book worthy of your time. The simple readability, the length, and the message all make this collection something I would suggest to people looking to get started reading poetry, or someone who may be looking for something real in a sea of decent poetry. Please read the trigger warnings Lovelace provides at the start of the book before choosing to read.
“To Make Monster out of Girls” is available as a print book and an eBook. These can be found at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Google Books, Apple Books, etc.. For the sake of the illustrations, I recommend finding a physical copy of the book.
Amanda Lovelace has written five other notable works, including “The Princess Saves Herself in this One” and its three sequels, as well as the “To Make Monsters out of Girls” sequel, titled “To Drink Coffee with a Ghost.” Her first collection was published in 2016 by Andrew McMeel Publishing and she continues to release poetry collections. In 2017, Lovelace graduated Kean University with a BA in English and a minor in sociology.