Frequently reviewed as “raw”, Elisabet Salas’s debut poetry collection “the Chaos inside Me” truly lays bare some of our most intimate emotions. The pieces within and the collection as a whole do not rely on an overabundance of hyper-stylized words, instead focusing on getting to the reader with the sharp lines and curves of language, both literally and figuratively.
the Chaos inside Me has within it the power to make its readers feel seen. This is something achievable in standard books though it’s hard to find because there are so many other aspects in longer form storytelling, but poetry strips all of that extraneous detail away. Elisabet’s book offers the chance to really really feel like there are other people that have these thoughts.
Published: 8 November 2018
Summary: the Chaos inside Me, is a journey of self discovery. It is a story about owning the emotions that live inside the heart and the head. It is the cathartic experience of pain and loss but also the bittersweet feelings of joy and the complexity of beauty.
Elisabet expresses the unraveling of herself and the complexity of emotions that stemmed from heartache, her own mental health and the struggles of growing up and into a world with no precedence for a first generation child. This is the accumulation of three years of tears and long nights figuring out that chaos isn’t always a bad thing.
Content Warnings: suicidal ideation, mentions of self harm (including bloody imagery), self deprecation, body dysphoria/weight, depression, abandonment, loneliness
Among the most poignant pieces was “mysteries & galaxies” because what is important to everyone, even as a subconscious thing? The need to know who we are. It might be simple to some, but for others, trying to figure out what our identity is can be a struggle on a daily basis. This particular poem early on encapsulates how identity can be as unfathomable as the distance between the stars.
“the voice of doubt” was a hard piece to read because it read very personally for someone with anxiety. As I was reading it, I felt a little sick to my stomach because it perfectly described what it was like to be inside my head, what it is that I fight against on a daily basis. It is so hard to describe that to people that are neurotypical because the words don’t always make sense, stumbling out of my mouth, but Elisabet wrote them, like they spilled out of my own head.
Elisabet makes good use of contrasting imagery in “Always looking” to highlight the inherent difficulty in finding one’s place. Typically harsh images clashing with typically soft, stereotypes of that nature, are one way, but there were also lines that pointed to other ways of finding solace, such as the clouds that allow sunlight to rest within. One doesn’t always need to be “on”; being within yourself is possible too and okay.
“Pain and beauty” was another poem that I liked because it tackled a problem that crops up a lot in this world, people seeing suffering as something beautiful. When the media portrays mental illness or self harm in movies or television shows, a lot of the time it gets shown as something beautiful, the character a idealized portrait that we as the audience are meant to love; or the self harm is somehow to be interpreted as a noble form of coping. Salas’s examination of this idealization of suffering, though brief, was strong and direct.
Chock full of words that reach out to readers and reveal the author’s experience simultaneously, the Chaos inside Me is a volume of poetry perfect for fans of Gretchen Gomez, Amanda Lovelace, and of good literary works with the ability to allow you to feel seen.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
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