Asherah’s haunting verse is wrought with tangible pain, and she expertly explores the physical and emotional components of suffering: “It’s as if the weight of the world is always on my shoulders./ I see myself sinking,/ Down below water,/ I’m out of light’s reach.” There are moments where readers likely will need to pause and sit with their feelings, flooded with the complexities and feelings Asherah stirs. This is where she excels the most: wrenching pained emotion from the heart and then intensely examining it in poems of psychological weight and insight, always exuding vulnerability and resilience.
As the title suggests, some sections of the collection are brighter, with a focus on growth, love, and acceptance. The spirited and joyful poems may come across as a touch lightweight in juxtaposition with the heartrending work in the first half, but the breakthrough is bold and inviting: “I LOVE YOU LOUDLY/ When you keep making dumb jokes/ Until I snort with laughter.” Overall, A Life Cycle is a thoughtful anthology that can be read in one sitting but will stick with readers for a lifetime. Back matter includes a Q&A from the author that will shed light on its inspiration and themes.
Takeaway: A powerful collection of emotionally honest prose that will transport readers on a journey of growth, healing, and self-actualization.
Great for fans of: Alexandra Vasiliu’s Healing Words, Morgan Harper Nichols’s How Far You Have Come.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A