REVIEW: "Shhhh!!!! We Don't Talk About That" by Taylor Crowshaw
Where to start? Well, first and foremost this book is much like a memoir written in rhymes and poetic metre which give their true value when read in succession without setting down the book. The more you read, the more you understand the emotions and mindset behind Taylor’s reasoning in writing this unique piece of literature. Each poem is a single piece of the jigsaw, held together by the covers and emulsified in memories, mental health, and many other recurring themes worth revisiting. Of particular note is her motherly sensibilities poking through in many of the poems, and gracefully touching upon many of the emotions she woefully explains.
Taylor uses her pen to unravel a trail of memories beginning in childhood, going through adolescence, and finishing in adulthood. The wordplay may not lean towards a lexicographer, but Taylor doesn’t need to with how she wraps her words around certain emotions like clothing in the cold to keep them insulated and well-read. Her playful use of rhyme teeters into dramatic territory with her vivid and quite brutally honest descriptions of life around her. From childhood memories of brotherly roughhousing, to humorous takes on underwear going missing, Taylor masterfully laces each line with genuine memories fit for preservation, while at the still time maintaining her status quo of brutal honesty and a kaleidoscope looking in many different angles and lights. Her memories are her own and deserve to be told, and to do so in such a tale is no easy feat for many, but Taylor manages to keep her head above water with lines like:
This poem is for all of you, and my little ones I never knew.
For all my wonderful children.
The power resonating from such simple words breaches the poetic barrier and toes the line of becoming more than she intended – not just for her children, but for any that may relate to her situations and memories in more ways than one. Taylor uses her steel-trap of a memory to take us deeper than love for her children, and she speaks eloquently on many topics from her sometimes difficult but loving relationship with her father, to her family’s tendency of speaking in secrets instead of out in the open. Mental health is the biggest recurring theme throughout, and it must be applauded since I’ve yet to read a poetry book that doesn’t simply settle for second best by mentioning a couple throwaway lines, but excelling by re-creating an atmosphere that she must have felt as a child, and posting it for all to see.
Out of everything to read in this gem though, I think the most commendable thing (aside from her dedication in tackling the topic of mental health) is the relation this book has to a concept album in music. Every single poem has greater meaning when read together, than if someone were to say, come across a single one posted in a collected anthology. Taylor’s words are her own, and her ability to share her memories with us for all to consume and understand is a feat in itself. Don’t get me wrong, each poem can definitely stand on its own in any arena, but when read together in one or two sittings, the totality of her message shines through like a supernova. I also think my favorite thing about Taylor’s writing is how you can never expect how one of her poems is going to go. Always starting with a sense of suspense, the poem may veer into happiness incarnate, or it may end sorrowfully with the regrets of a mother all alone. Emotions and rhymes aside, Taylor managed to wrap a poetry anthology, a memoir on her familial experiences, and an autobiography in its own right all together in one masterful piece. For this alone, she should be commended. For her brutal honesty she should be commended. And for anyone thinking of picking up an affordable and poetic glimpse into a poet’s true upbringing and surrounding memories, this book should be picked up and commended. Taylor’s book can be found for $9.79 US on Amazon.com. Be sure to support fellow independent artists and remember that doing this would be a great way to end summer with a bang.
You fill our lives with life and light.
Giving us the strength to go on and fight.
– excerpt from ‘Shhhh!!!! We Don’t Talk About That’ by Taylor Crowshaw.