GROWING PAINS gives us five microchapbooks in one volume, one binding. Each microchapbook threads coming-of-age anguish and popular culture references throughout, which lends for a cathartic experience of our youth through these powerful micro-chapbooks. Consider the following summaries and know this will be a must read for you. Whether it’s prose or poetry there’s something for everyone in GROWING PAINS.
As Long As We Got Each Other by Claire Taylor is a teenage dream, weaving lyrics from the Growing Pains’ theme song in with themes of intimacy, loss, and relationships. The short poems and prose fosters young love on the backdrop of streetlight, “Don’t Stop Believin’”, and rainy nights.
While it’s a prose chapbook,Eating Pomegranates in Front of the Fireplace by Melissa Martini reads much like poetry. The sharp, trauma-singed imagery and moments bring us back to when we were growing up and discovering ourselves for the first time, especially the parts that scared us the most.
When I was feral by Clara Bush Vadala has the same tenacity and feminine power as Witch Wife by Kiki Petrosino. Vadala’s microchapbook demands to be heard—or read, rather. Every poem here reminds us about what it’s like growing up in a feminized body, and how its tenderness and rawness feels very exposing.
acts of performative newness by Anna Arden displays how performances of sexuality and gender are a dichotomy of constriction and freedom through expression. Each poem is lush with technicolor and identity, ending on a note so warming and bittersweet—reminiscent of Lorde’s “Melodrama” album.
all these reasons to shed your wings: a collection of golden shovels by Stella Lei is a poetry microchapbook that borrows lines from Paige Lewis, Angie Sijun Lou, K-Ming Chang, Ocean Vuong, Rachel Mennies, Hieu Minh Nguyen, Franny Choi, Topaz Winters, and Richard Siken. Sink your teeth into poems as gorgeous as a sun-infused dusk and relieve your forbidden teenage love in the backdrop of a small, homophobic town.