It’s a true blessing to be able to review a book written by a friend, and Devyn Springer has been one for a few years. We met as students at Kennesaw State, and participated in some of the same student organizations working towards a better, brighter future for marginalized groups in our society. Aside from poetry, Springer works heavily within activist communities in Atlanta. He’s also a photographer; you can find some of his work at Urban Soul Atlanta, as well as between the pages of his stunning debut work.
As this is Springer’s debut collection, I feel especially privileged to have had the opportunity to read it and review it ahead of time. I received a document of the inner contents of the book in July and read it in August in order to provide potential quotes for his first printing. I’ve had this post sidelined until I was given the go ahead to post it last night.
The book was set to release on Amazon on September 1st, 2016. An interesting turn of events has lead to it being released today instead!
Springer writes poetry that evokes emotion; his subjects range from race, gender, and sexuality to love, passion and many more. I truly enjoyed the collection, yet I saw a good bit of growing room in a few places. I expect that we’ll see quite a bit more from Springer in the future. There are dozens of stunning poems within the pages of this book, and they truly reflect his thirst for justice and change.
One unique element of the book is the interlacing of Springer’s photography; often self portraits and images that he has poured a great deal of work into. It’s rare that we find such a multimedia publication that doesn’t come across as somewhat trite, yet Springer avoids melodrama in most instances and interlaces beautiful photographs that encompass emotion as diverse as his writing. I especially appreciated that his photographs weren’t all self portraits, and that his inclusive strategy spotlighted women of color in multiple instances.
I also thoroughly enjoyed the few sketches and handwritten lines that Springer incorporated; I was reminded immediately of Rupi Kaur’s stunning illustrations and the incorporation of Tupac Shakur’s handwritten poetry in The Rose that Grew from Concrete. Organic is the first word that comes to mind here, as it should be.
The poems that he has titled have fitting titles, and those lacking titles don’t need them in most instances. I think my greatest critiques would deal with the overuse of the word love and the occasional cliche. In some instances Springer’s emotion was too forthright for my taste which in turn read as less organic than he is capable of. Still, I couldn’t put it down and read the entire collection in one sitting.
I give this book an 8/10 and look forward to more of his works in the future.