The first thing that struck me about Out of Brokenness was the personal nature of the collection. Keneatha Renae includes pictures of her family alongside the poems, which I found to be fascinating and heartwarming. Renae also includes unique fonts to emphasize certain phrases and words that remind me of Emily Dickinson's style.
Renae's personal style is straightforward and blunt, hitting the core of the emotion fueling each poem. Themes range from reminiscing about childhood innocence, the loss of a loved one, and enjoying the little things in life. I enjoyed reading each poem as if I was looking into a window of the author's past.
One of my favorite poems entitled "Lost in the Beat" is a sensual description of a love for music. You can feel the author's passion for songs she can dance to and forget about the world around her. Renae writes:
I let the music fill me
Like a thief, it steals me
I close my eyes
While the rhythm thrills me
Renae bravely challenges trauma with her poem "Mother." The author writes about the pain from her past, feeding the words with her anger and frustration. She cries out for help:
You either didn’t see
That trebled through my body
That shone within my eyes
That wrapped around me like a second skin
The journey of Out of Brokenness ends with a positive "Acknowledgement" in which Keneatha Renae thanks God and her family. It wraps up the good and bad experiences with a hopeful bow. There is some content in the collection that might trigger others who have experienced trauma, however, Renae leads you through the darkest parts of her mind and out through a tunnel of light. I recommend Out of Brokenness for a transformative journey.
Rachel Patterson's poetry has been published in several literary journals, such as The Penmen Review. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Creative Writing and English, and she is completing her MFA in Creative Writing. Rachel lives near Pittsburgh with her husband, son, and three crazy cats.