by Liz Newman ǀ @liz_newman_writer

My first thought while reading White Wine and Medical Marijuana was that it is truly a unique and sincere collection of poetry. The author has a very distinct voice throughout the collection that sets the tone for each poem right off the bat. The poems discuss the very real topics of heart break, self-doubt, love, complexity, and the slew of battling emotions that we fight as we grow up and find out our place in this world.

White Wine and Medical Marijuana is a journey of self-discovery. In “Sucker” the author writes, “I want you. You want her. But, I’m still writing in vertical lights wasting paper on a man who warned me not to fall in love with him.” She discusses the very relatable struggle of unrequited love and the pain that it brings, whether we were prepared for it or not. Our hearts often fall for people we know we shouldn’t, and this poem speaks so eloquently to that point.

“Fraud” is another one of my favorites. It discusses how we often hide our true selves behind a mask and try to continue on without anyone noticing. This is especially true as we go through college and through those early years of finding ourselves and finding love. The poem goes, “Weakness is strength. Vulnerability is essential. But, I still walk into the bar oozing false confidence and casual narcissism so they won’t see.” It beautifully describes the feeling of isolation we so often experience when we pair the turmoil in our minds with a calm, cool, and collected exterior.

Many of the poems delve into the core of the party scene, all of those little moments and feelings that accompany a night out and how it shapes our experiences. It often looks like glitz and glamor at first glance, but Cirignano beautifully describes a more unfiltered look at the party scene with very real and raw perceptions of the underlying emotions that accompany the night-life. In “Ambush” she writes, “My red lipstick is smooth and structured. My hair is sweaty and in a knot. My dress is black and see-through. My arms are tan and tight. But, now my eyes feel heavy with make-up, my hair is sweaty and in a knot, my legs are weak; they shake, my nails are chip and dirty, my lips are pale and pink, my dress is trapping me, my night is over.” This poem illustrates a beautiful contrast from beginning to end showing the spectrum of emotion that we can often experience in a night out when expectations and reality don’t align.

The author so beautifully describes longing in “Help”, which reads: “It’s squishing me, the need to see you. It makes my toes curl. It’s consuming me, the need to see you. It makes my stomach hurt.” This description is such an accurate depiction of how love and desire can so often manifest itself in the physical as well as the emotional. The author describes an all-consuming desire that is extremely relatable.

Another one of my favorites is “Love Gets Manipulated”, a poem where the author reflects on the type of love she is looking for. The piece is hopeful in its message, stating “I want a love that’s easy to remember, easy to defend, a love that feels safe, like coming home.” The writer has several poems that feel like reflections we have all had as we look back on our experiences and analyze our lives. “Fear of Mediocrity” speaks so beautifully to our desire to live our best lives and the hope that we can be brave enough to truly evaluate if we are being who we want to be: “If I ever find myself living an unsatisfactory life, I hope I have the guts to change it.”

White Wine and Medical Marijuana explores so many visceral and real topics. It is a collection that is sure to grip you as you delve into the myriad of emotions described and reflect on the different feelings it evokes in you as a reader.

Best for: The poetry lover with a wild side
Buy for: Anyone who is on a journey of self-discovery
Buy it if: You are looking for a refreshing new voice to add to your poetry collection.

White Wine and Medical Marijuana can be purchased from Amazon here.

You can also connect with Julia on Instagram  ǀ @juliajulia100

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.

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