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  • Feign
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on March 28, 2017
"Feign" by T.L Curtis is an incredibly interesting and emotionally engaging piece. The book begins with what appears to be a poem about love and happiness together. The author references wanting to be with another stating, "it is only you that I am needing." This lures the reader in to a false security regarding the pace and content for future poems in the book as this quickly changes.

As you progress through the book, the narrative quickly shifts from peaceful love and happiness to that of turmoil and anguish--even turning aggressive and gruesome at certain points. The poems discuss feelings of hatred, betrayal, and envy, eventually leading into murderous plot lines. At times, the poems are overly graphic and more detailed in gore than I personally prefer. It is clear that this piece is written with true and raw emotion that sometimes crosses a line in its content.

The emotional level of the piece, however, is part of its appeal. "Feign" is clearly written with unfiltered emotion with which the reader is able to form a connection. Even the title reveals an emotional aspect of the book. As feign means to fake something or create a false appearance, there are many lines in the poems that reflect that. For example "I can't stand the fact that there are feelings I can't show," from "Destiny" and "somehow you seem to know there's something faux inside me," from "Keeper" depict the facade that the characters in the poems have created for themselves--feigning something that is not reality.

Overall, particularly with the fact that I prefer calm and peaceful poetry, this book is not for me; however, the emotional connection that the author forms with the reader throughout the book is one that many may find appealing. The raw and unfiltered emotion that so many experience yet are afraid to express is shown here in a very real and in a manner that we as humans can relate to. If that is the type of poetry you enjoy, then this book would be the perfect selection for you, and I would highly recommend it.
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on March 26, 2017
Although I don't often read poetry, I was pleasantly surprised by the book Feign. Overall, I thought it was an excellent read. In fact, as soon as I finished the last poem, I went back to the beginning and re-read some of my favorites. As is often the case with poetry, more was revealed in the second reading. I felt sad and even teared up reading a couple of the poems, because they hit close to home in unexpected ways. Evermore was one of my favorites. It was brilliant in its description of the differing ways in which men and women approach the act of love - "Although you see crass reeling over a 'meaningless' feeling
I’m still vowing to teach you all that I cannot complete..."

I wasn't crazy about some of the violent images and vulgar language in a couple of the poems, which made me a little uncomfortable. I found the poem For Shame disturbing due to the subject matter of killing one's parents. However, the poems I didn't enjoy did not detract from my overall enjoyment of the book. Poetry is such a personal form of expression. In Feign, the author has revealed a vulnerability to the reader that is admirable. I'd recommend this book not only to readers who love poetry, but also to other readers due to its universal themes of love and human suffering, to which most everyone can relate.
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on March 21, 2017
Is T.L. Curtis' collection "Feign" different enough, and 'real' enough, to appeal? I would definitely say yes.

The title is an accurate indicator of the subject of Curtis' work here - all of her poems deal, in some way, with how appearances factor into the experience of pain. Breakups, ex-lover spottings, bouts of longing, bitter regret, anxious questioning of one's self. Curtis looks at the darker side of love in this collection.

How does she stand out? Her tone. Curtis excels in bringing out the disgusting side of emotional fallout. The ugliness of perceived masculinity in 'Fertility,' an early poem, is conveyed through sharp, rectifying statements about the deadbeat, the man who never owns up to being one: "When she steps off of that stage, and pulls her panties back up, you need to understand, that that’s where YOU [f'd] up." Curtis isn't afraid to dig deep into the truths of relationships to craft a vile, gut-wrenching passage about being hurt. Whether that is disgust, like in Fertility, or quiet rejection, as in the later poem 'Simply Love Me,' it all deals with an authentic, raw sense of pain. I can't say I know where the author's been or the details of her personal life, but she writes with enough passion that it compares to the aching odes of Sylvia Plath's deprecation of men and society.

However, Curtis is not interested in upending the world's darker emotional underbelly. While most, if not all of her subjects are hurt and say and think about particularly gruesome things, this is treated as part of the experience of loss, rather than as a poignant stab at one particular issue. Yes - issues of family and society crop up, but they serve as inspiration for interaction. What Curtis wants to do is explore the feeling of hurt, not the complications or where it comes from.

If there was any poem in this collection I'd say was weak, though, it would be 'Destiny,' along with slightly stronger poems 'Girl' and 'Avec.' These poems, while powerful in parts, lack some of the strength of Curtis' more vile, disgusting tones, and revert to an eloquent reading of quiet emotions. Where Curtis excels, where she hooks me as a reviewer, is in her most ugly work. The ability to gauge a reaction that will stick with me is so much stronger to me than the complexity of more conventional work. Short, experimental poems like Carnal and Rags to Bitches bring out not the edge, but the emotional authenticity of someone who's felt pleasure and pain deep in their soul. Call me a dunce, but visceral imagery is king with me.

I recommend this read to anyone who has dealt with love in the past or who smolder from broken or damaged relationships. Note: some of the poems here are experimental in nature, and may take multiple reads. In addition: Curtis' work deals heavily in social themes relevant to African-American life, though not exclusively so. If that's not your thing, then I respect your opinion, kind person, even if I think you're missing out.
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VINE VOICEon February 23, 2017
I would not normally read a book of poetry. I went in with an open mind. "Feign" is what I would consider to be urban poetry. It is written in a way that is very relatable. It will take on a roller coaster of emotions. It made me laugh out loud, roll my eyes, and also brought on sadness. I even continued reading when I KNEW I should have been sleeping. You will get through this in one night without question.

"The Roses In the Way" was probably my favorite poem. It made me sad but yet it was so beautiful. I will definitely be reading that one again because I know that there is a deeper meaning.

"Fertility" was my least favorite. I did not like the cursing and I did not like the rawness of it all. The message was not lost and truthfully, it is one that I will remember more than the others.

You can tell the author has passion for words. If you love poetry and urban fiction, this is definitely a book for you.
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on February 20, 2017
Poetry. This is a special genre to me for a myriad of reasons. It is somewhat of a fondness/ loathsome relationship to me. When I read poetry, my first mind wants to hear the voice in which the poet wrote it. While the tone of their voice is important, you also want to hear the tempo, what words that they place an emphasis, the pitch in which they carried the word... I often feel when reading the words that I am peaking into the intimate words of a stranger, watching them undress without permission. The flip side of reading poetry is that when you read it for yourself, the authors interpretation may be limiting in your expectation for the delivery, so you walk away with disappointment. Also, if they can't see you peeking into the windows of their soul, does it really matter? They wrote it all out for you to see, right?

This collection of poems was a quick read. There are dozens of topics introduced, though rarely presented in the narrow filters in which society tends to neatly handle these issues in common, everyday niceties. No, T.L. Curtis has no regards for staying inside of any of the typical boxes of what you have been told to view as acceptable and makes no apologies for it. While some of the thoughts that are shared might be uncomfortable or unpleasant, they are real.

Mission Accomplished was a work that I loathed because of the topic and reality of a young life that has to make a major decision that is either ugly or unappealing. But, you have to allow for a deference to realize that the feelings are absolutely honest and genuine for a young life that has not yet had an opportunity to blossom.

Nights was a work that spoke to a discussion of unconditional, unselfish and sacrificial love. It was indeed beautiful without a sappy emphasis on a needy attachment.

I would offer this collection as a suggestion to a reader who needs a few moments to return to their heart for a quick, thoughtful read that allows them to think on a deeper level as they prepare to consider if self-reflection is appropriate.
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on February 12, 2017
I am editing this review and giving some honest feedback. I changed the rating from 4 to 2 stars to more accurately portray what I had read, which was actually amateurish, vulgar, rubish. The reason that I had originally given a good review was because I was recruited to write good reviews for the author and promised payment. Since I never received said payment, I decided that it was only fair to change this to an honest review.

Thanks, and enjoy the fish!

As collections of poetry go, this one is rather well put together. I don't feel that all of the works need to be included in this work, but overall it was a fun ride. The poetry in this book takes you through the ups and downs of a woman's world (presumably the author's). The works fill the spectrum of feelings as the author allows you to explore her mind from within. From the ups and downs of love to the joy and boredom of friendship, you are able to experience the feelings of the writer. You see both the lighter side and darker side (some of which may not be appropriate for entire families). As for critiques of the poems themselves . . . well that is the beauty of poetry to me, there is no true standard. Poetry is all about the feelings being put forth by the author, which I feel was done well here for the most part. So while I thought some stanzas were a might long winded, I still was able to enjoy the pieces overall. Overall it was not one of my favorite collections of poetry, but it does make for a nice afternoon read.
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on February 7, 2017
I have been the person in all of these poems. I go through all the emotions and the words flow nicely. I am a lover of poetry and this book makes me fall in love all over again. If you love poetry then you will love this read.
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on February 6, 2017
All in all, Curtis is a very intelligent and resourceful writer. She conveys the emotions she wants invoked in her audience very well. Very good use of metaphors, with vivid descriptors that paint a canvas in your minds eye as you read through it! A few of the passages leave you feeling uneasy if you've ever been unfaithful, but the same passages let you know its a part of human nature. It also shows the effects unfaithfulness have on the lover, and all the multitude of feelings that entails. It really makes you think about people you've hurt, people who've hurt you.
There was also a rather raunchy poem. There was a vividness that came from the onomatopoeia usage throughout the entire passage that has to be mentioned. Very descriptive, and I could almost hear those sounds in my head. Which can be a good thing for some people, or a bad thing for more conservative folk. I honestly appreciated the creativeness of this piece.
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on January 25, 2017
This poetry collection bored me, it seems to have been written by an angsty teenager with a fondness for bad rhymes. The writing was childish and uninspired.
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on January 23, 2017
Feign by TL Curtis is a collection of poems that seems to speak to the ups and downs of a particular relationship. It is apparent that there was much deep love and heartbreak as you navigate through the stories told in this collection of poems. As you read this collection, one could easily create the scene of how the poems would look being preformed.
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