A Near-perfect, Devastating Collection of Poetry: A Review of For Your Own Good by Leah Horlick

So there’s this. Go take a look.

Casey the Canadian Lesbrarian

for your own goodFor Your Own Good by Leah Horlick is full of the kind of writing that inspires superlatives.  It’s one of the best books of poetry I’ve ever read, a genuinely important, incredibly powerful book that has stirred awe in a lot of readers, me included.  This is not because For Your Own Good is in itself prone to any grandiose gestures or excess, but for the reason that it is truly a near-perfect, devastating collection of poetry.

I do not say devastating lightly.  These poems are about an abusive lesbian relationship, violence in a supposedly safe queer space.  There is plenty of triggering material: racism, colonialism, physical, sexual, and emotional abuse.  But there’s a lot more than that, too.

The poems follow a kind of trajectory, moving from misunderstanding to healing, sometimes back and forth.  What I loved was how Horlick speaks from a calm, present moment to her past…

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