by Liz Newman ǀ @liz_newman_writer
I recently sat down to read Ashley Sapp’s debut poetry collection, Wild Becomes You, and I was delighted by the literary experience of poring over this anthology. The writer discusses a myriad of topics and the feelings that they evoke. Her poems read in a very conversational way, and you often feel like you have been invited to sit at the writing table and watch her mind beautifully at work.
The writer also experiments with several different poetry structures, from abbreviated prose, to longer, more flowing pieces that require a few moments for digestion and reflection. She also has sprinkled in paragraphs of prose where the author discusses fear, mental illness, self-worth, and more with a refreshing and real vulnerability that makes your heart ache with how relatable it is.
While many poems are more abstract and symbolic in their delivery, there are also quite a few detailed and personal poems throughout the collection. “How I breathe” is a beautiful piece that discusses how love can help us be present and grounded. It can call us back from the frantic wanderings of our thoughts so that we can truly experience the here and now with that other person. “’I’m slowly drifting’, I whisper across the white plane snow of our pillowcases, meeting my husband’s eyes, those blue mountain-tops on the horizon, as he reaches over and reminds me that I’m still here by placing a gentle hand on my hip, rolling me towards him, crossing vast landscapes in a single moment…” She describes a steadfast love in her stanzas that provides a safe harbor for her often busied mind.
In contrast to that, the author also discusses doubt, anxiety, and depression with an authenticity and rawness that we all so often feel. In “illness is lonely”, the author writes: “people will tell you that you matter until even saying the words becomes too much work… (not to mention)…their voices cannot defeat the mad ones in your skull that flood until you drink them in.” The author bravely details the internal and lonely struggle of mental illness and how our thoughts can often overpower the words of others.
Throughout the collection, Sapp provides beautiful insights into the ups and downs that we all experience, beautifully detailing the pain of our troubled thoughts and doubts, while also sprinkling in glimmers of hope for renewal. In “try again”, the author writes: “funny, no matter how many times I have felt myself slip through my fingers (heart gone, brain gone, feeling gone), my eyes have closed, and despite this end, have opened again to see a new morning and a new life cupped in my hands.”
In the title poem “wild becomes you”, there is a care-free and comforting tone that encourages the reader to embrace all the parts of who they are: the good, the bad, and the unfiltered. She writes, “for those who are becoming and for those who are afraid of what that means, embrace the wild you feel swirling within your veins, like ocean waves that speak to your uncharted territory of bold, hear the music of the uncontrolled and break into a hum and then a song (yours); stretch into being and feel the safety that comes with knowing you are free.”
Throughout the collection, the author covers a vast array of emotion, from the darker insights of the reality of depression and abuse to the glimmers of hope that come with finding our self-worth, our great loves, and our identity.
This is a unique anthology in both format and content. The author covers a vast number of topics which means that there is something for everyone here. Her writing evokes emotion, stirs the compassion in our soul, inspires us to live fully, and gives our souls the nourishment they so desperately need.
I strongly recommend that you go and purchase your own copy today and be carried away by the waves of emotion so beautifully presented in Wild Becomes You.
Best For: An afternoon sitting under a tree, with the sunlight and sounds of nature accompanying your reading
Buy For: Anyone feeling lost or uncertain, misunderstood or alone in their circumstance
Buy It If: Your soul is in need of reflection and healing
“Wild Becomes You” can be purchased from Amazon here.
You can also connect with Ashley on Instagram ǀ @ashleysapply
Reviewed by Liz Newman ǀ @liz_newman_writer
Liz is a blogger and a poet from the Midwestern United States. She is a contributor for “A Better Today Media” and just recently published her debut poetry book called Hope Between Heartbeats. Her love for poetry and the written word dates back to her elementary days when she would scribble quotes in the margins of her agenda books.