Hearing The Underwater – Savannah Slone | Book Review

Recently, I had the chance to receive a copy of Savannah Slone’s debut poetry collection ‘Hearing The Underwater’ in exchange for a review. I have to be honest, at times I have a little trepidation, the poetry world is becoming so saturated that you have as much chance at finding something a bit rubbish, as you do at finding something wonderful. Luckily, ‘Hearing The Underwater’ definitely belongs to the latter category.

First, have a read of Slone’s author bio:

“Savannah Slone is a queer writer who is completing her M.F.A. in the Pacific Northwest. Her poetry and short fiction has appeared in or will soon appear in Glass: A Poetry Journal, Hobart, Crab Creek Review, FIVE:2:ONE, Pidgeonholes, decomP magazinE, TERSE, Pithead Chapel, and elsewhere. She is the PoetryEditor of Boston Accent Lit and is the Editor-in-Chief of Homology Lit. She is the author of HEARING THE UNDERWATER (Finishing Line Press, 2019). She enjoys reading, knitting, hiking, and discussing intersectional feminism. You can read more of her work at www.savannahslonewriter.com.”

It’s an impressive list of credits and that in itself piles even more pressure onto the book to deliver. It does. Hearing The Underwater is a short collection of often seething, often passionate and often deeply emotional poetry. It is a collection that explores both feminism, identity, sexuality, politics and more. It is not afraid to delve into the known and unknown of these worlds and brutally list its thoughts.

There were moments I spent reading each poem, feeling an honest tug at my heart that I do not find present with much else. That feeling that something you’re reading is really special, that it resonates with you and that something has been sacrificed in the making of it. Slone crafts a careful and what seems to be a very selective series of narratives, only accepting the very best. The writing itself is articulate and comes with a variant of styles, some more like classical poetry, others feeding into the rhythm of spoken word.

Slone is trying to make her point, to plant a flag on the world and write her name across it. There is an essence of her own identity coursing through the veins of each page, and although I did not know her previous to this book, I feel confident I could identify a Savannah Slone poem just from its tone. That’s not an easy feat.

To wrap up then, Savannah Slone is a bold writer with no problem baring all in the interest of social and political upheaval/change. She is writing her own story to share with others, as much as she is listing a manifesto which she continues to implement. It is like ‘Hearing The Underwater’ is a taster of a young writer’s promises and demands, and her future is the journey of a leader.

As ever, I’m quite strict with my ratings and something ever so small is holding me back from giving this 5 stars. It may be a slight disjointedness, which may have been intentional, but which made for slightly difficult reading at times and also at points beautifully descriptive sentences just fell short with me in terms of their necessity. Of course, everything is subjective but I find it wrong to write a stunning review without some justification as to why this book does not quite reach 5 stars.


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