Verbal Vomit and Other Poetry and Prose by Stephanie Lamb
Stephanie’s Instagram: @stephanielambpoetry
The Amazon link
I read this book in paperback. This is an unsolicited review.
What I Loved:
I’m not sure how anyone could equate Ms. Lamb’s intensely beautiful writing to “vomit” and yet that’s just what she has done. She writes some of the most heart-wrenching, incredibly gorgeous poetry and prose I have ever read. Definitely not your run-of-the-mill “Insta-poet”; no, what we have here is some exquisite free-flowing work, mingled with nature and indeed the cosmos itself.
When I read her work, I feel it, deep in my bones. It’s like I have known her all my life and have never known her at all. It’s exploratory while feeling like home. To be honest, I’m not sure how she does it, but it’s magnificent.
It’s a smaller book than I prefer but at just over 100-pages, it’s a good break-in to her work.
What I Didn’t:
I hate to pick on a book with such incredibly elegant writing, but this is a review of the entire book, and so I must be true to the analytical reviewer part of me, without remaining solely in the drenched soul of poetry.
For me, I didn’t care for the general “look” of the book. The front cover didn’t work for me, feeling incoherent and sophomoric. The colors and background image, and the title, weren’t the problem, more the fonts/sizing. It just doesn’t fit the delectable inner parts. With work this good, I need the cover to reflect the artist within.
Inside there were other amateur publishing faux pas which made it harder for me to stick with it. The font, which I liked for the poetry, was too large as if trying to fill up the space. There industry standards and this was larger than that standard. The prose, with all its impressive and pleasing imagery, needed some breaks to give the eye a break, the heart a small rest, in between thoughts.
There were a few minor punctuation and editing errors but they were few and pretty easy to dismiss.
My Favorite Bits:
Oh goodness. Don’t make me pick!! Not with this author! Her prose pieces are out of this world amazing. “Lonely Nights”, “Fickle and Feverish”, “Moonbeams and Beautifully Broken Things”, and “Vagabond Soul” could have all been ripped right from my own soul. Subjects of love, loneliness, longing… all my own common themes.
And then there’s the poetry, so many that remind me of.. well, me. My thoughts and struggles and triumphs. She writes with such heart, I am swept away.
My Overall Score:
(1/2 for the cover, 1/2 for awkward editing/formatting)
Ms. Lamb has presented us with a lovely flower, though one I feel should have been finessed in the editing and publishing arena. There were cringe-worthy issues in the book that screamed “non-researched, self-published” though the book was actually put out by a small-house publisher, as I see by the copyright page and logos. It was the editing and formatting which was the only downfall for me. The actual writing itself is absolutely superb and I quite simply adore (darn near idolize) the author.
Regardless of all the other stuff, I will happily pay for any future books I am sure she is going to put out because man-oh-man can this woman write. From here, I see her going straight to the stars.
I will also, as a side-note, say, it may seem that I am harsh on many writers for their editing, formatting, grammar, punctuation, etc. I do so unapologetically. One, because this is a review, not a popularity contest. Two, because honest criticism should help us grow as artists.
The fact of the matter is, these things MATTER. A mathematician must use his tools and use them correctly to be an effective mathematician. A surgeon cannot simply say, “I know I can’t sew the wound closed but at least I could remove the appendix or whatever it’s called.” Same with writers. We can’t claim to be writers but refuse to use proper spelling, grammar, and punctuation. We can’t claim to be a photographer just because we know how to push the button on the camera (or phone). There’s an art to it.
So while I may appreciate the artist as a person and their words, I believe that it does us all a disservice to say lower quality editing is okay. Believe in yourself! Believe in the power of your words! Put the effort into being the very best you can be. Ask for help. Grow and learn.
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**If this review was helpful or you’ve read it and want to add to the discussion, please let me know in the comments!