Book Review – That’s Not Poetry

That’s Not Poetry by J. Warren Welch

J. Warren’s Instagram handle: @j.warren.welch

The Amazon link

I read this book in paperback. This is a unsolicited review.


What I Loved:

I found Mr. Welch over on Instagram and immediately his work spoke to me. Upon realizing he had a book… two in fact, I ran over to Amazon and purchased this first one. At first, when I pulled it out of the box I was like, this is a big one! But even at nearly 300 pages, it still felt just right in length.

J. focuses on love, hatred, social media, religious hypocrisy, lust, and self-hatred coated in arrogance. I know a book is a sure-fire favorite when I pull out my pen and start writing in it. Furiously circling, underlining, and highlighting. I felt I had to restrain myself because I wanted to mark up nearly every page.

Speaking of pages… the publisher did an amazing job formatting the book. It’s very pleasing to the eye, utilizing full-bleed background tints on some pages, such as all grey or straight black with white lettering. These ‘little’ touches helped the book stand out from the rest. The font was perfect for the content. And, being it was Amazon, who is known for poorer quality printing, the paper is thin and somewhat see-through, I was still pleasantly surprised Amazon managed to actually print a great quality book for once. It felt great in the hand.

What I Didn’t:

There was nothing I didn’t love about this collection. It currently sits on my shelf, read-through several times, my now-favorite book of poetry.

My Favorite Bits:

(Many of the pieces are unnamed so I will have to go by page number.)

The section names are so clever, especially once you start reading what’s in there: We Can Be Monsters, Open Book, Atonement, All This Animated Worm Food, Somewhere Between, Undefeated.

Pg 14 – “it never feels freaky or filthy when we do all those wonderful things we do to each other It just feels like making love”

Pg 18 – “… I was never a man worth having until she gave me the freedom to be myself…”

Pg 172 – “the line between being honest and being an asshole is a very fine line indeed You are just a fucking asshole Stop trying to pretend it is a virtue”

And the poem Undefeated on page 248 – damn, so good… ends with “you are undefeated not because you never lose but because every time you do you choose to become a better version of you”

My Overall Score:

5 stars – doesn’t get any better than this, the formatting and editing is perfect, the cover is attractive and engaging, the length is just right, there are no slow spots or gratuitous sections, excellent flow.

My Final Thoughts:

This is exactly what I love about short, modern pieces. While I typically prefer longer poems, Mr. Welch is able to pack a punch with each deep thought he lays down. Thoughts that many of us identify with. He’s got the perfect mixture of in-your-face rough (and unashamed) love, arrogant self-realization and introspection which remains honest (good, bad or ugly) and witty sarcasm.

Highly recommended to those who appreciate short modern poetry that is unafraid to pierce fragile reality. Contains plenty of cussing, but not without premise. Now I’m off to order his second book…


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be a good writer: read.
~tara caribou

**If this review was helpful or you’ve read it and want to add to the discussion, please let me know in the comments!

6 thoughts on “Book Review – That’s Not Poetry

    1. His publisher did an excellent job with the book. I actually talked to Mr. Welch about the book and the publisher (who sadly is not taking on more clients currently). But his poetry definitely stands on its own.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is disappointing about them not taking any clients right now… but at least he didn’t say no… just not right now… I’m sure your work would fit right in… so when the day comes and if not… you are doing pretty awesome on your own…

        Liked by 1 person

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