Toss and Turn by Marifel Dungo - a poetry book review
The Book Toss and Turn, by Marifel Dungo is a newly published volume of poetry from Hub Pages writer Blaise25. She also writes under the non de plume of twentyfive. Toss and Turn represents a selection of her best poetry, some of which has been published already on Hub Pages, although some of these poems in the book are new to publication. This is a review of this book, and is a collaboration by Cheeky Girl and poet Astra Nomik, also known as Cathy Nerujen.
This selection of works by Marifel is by turns, exotic, zany, self-aware, confident and even bold, and written with a style that is breezy and hip. The language is easy and chilled out, and very American in style, and betrays little of this Filipina writer's heritage. It's surprisingly mellow. She originally wrote some of this poetry on Hub Pages, and then she decided to collect the poetry that was themed around romance, love and relationships - and put them into a volume, with new poems added for good measure. The result is a 90 page paperback collection (and ebook) of her most impressive works. The book is divided into segments which are thematically linked. And the wait has been well worth it.
Marifel is a poet with a self-assured voice and style all of her own. Some poems are very conversational and natural. The words flow easily, and the thoughts and feelings pour out without ever becoming needy or whiny or self-absorbed. The tone is remarkably mature and has something of the every-woman about it. Marifel puts us at ease, bringing her readers along with her willingly, she is like a candle in our hand and lights our way on this journey.
Her gift is multifaceted – she puts us at ease and yet puts us at the center of things, often in the position of the person she talks about in the respective poems. We experience the flow of her thoughts and feelings. Words are made to explore, contemplate and analyze, and she has a way with words, often throwing up some wonderful sentences that almost need re-reading just to enjoy their affect – “...only us in this cozy puddle...”
Her voice is familiar and honest, seeming almost like a music that reflects much of what we think. She also breaks into a language that is almost a shorthand or abbreviated version of English at times.
“...t’was 4 o’ clock in the aftie...”
Taken from 4pm, a great poem about a romantic encounter that comes unexpectedly out of left-field. A constant element throughout her work is the smooth flow of words which never dull or confuse us. The meaning is always rounded down into simple ideas that we can deal with. Infatuation, love, a crush, a chance encounter, a dream, romantic longings, brief encounters...they are all here.
In her poetry here, no capital letters or excessive punctuation is ever used, enabling the words to flow more fluidly. The language is a dialect in the now. Nothing gets in the way, and words easily forge their own path across the pages. The words do their work well - the poems are allowed to “breathe”.
In the poem “The Killer”, the words work on many levels, dealing with love and intimacy – cleverly juxtaposed against a near forbidden fantasy, that might be half-real. The poem “When You’re gone” goes through the situation of losing someone, and uses the language of reverse meaning or inverted context to accentuate the ideas and images here. And it has a great punch line and realization at the end. In some poems, the use of language is playfully explored, giving up expressions like –
“...when the clock won’t stop...”
Two poems seen – one titled “Reversed” (on page 52) and the poem “When you’re gone” (on page 22) are about slightly different themes but close in many ways and both use a similar way of inverting language and its context to heighten the effect of certain images and meanings – and one wonders were they possibly part of the same poem, but made into two poems. The reversal of words is very clever in both poems, but “When you’re gone” is the more superior poem of the two.
The poem “Take it back” (on page 54) shows a delightful and peculiar inflection in use of the words, reminiscent of beat poets and African-American poets – using a dialect of the streets:
“...me knows it’s so hard...”
This is a terrific poem, and again intermixes words in unusual combinations –
“...Cos baby I finally
Made up my mind
To be untangled in you...”
She has a unique way of seeing the world. Like her language, it can be tilted and skewed by the very words, by the telling, and this is a big part of the reward of reading this poetry – it makes you want to go back and re-read poems again. This is a rare quality, rarer still for a poet with her first published work in print.
These poems are for all kinds of people, for the lonely hearts, for people who are stuck in the blues, or the throngs of romance no matter what the context of love. There is plenty of poetry about young love here. It is an enjoyable panacea that, once taken – like a potion – rewards immensely.
The poetry is non-rhyming, and simple and sparse. Yet it is also precise and measured. Sometimes Marifel’s thinking is not in straight lines, and she has the ability to surprise, but she never disappoints, and we never lose the meaning or get lost in the poetry, a quality that befalls other first time writers. It is clear that Hub Pages has proven to be a bivouac to this creative output, or a testing ground on which Marifel can use to reach a wide audience – and a hungry poetry-loving audience can comment on and discern these works.
The books comprises more than 23 poems of quality. We are left feeling satisfied and wanting more from Marifel Dungo. And at the end of the book we are given a teaser of more writing to come with an extract of “Higher than the rooftop”. Her prose is just as keen and inviting, told with the same voice as we find in her poetry, loose and free always.
The poetry here is all love and romance and relationship-related. Marifel is a voice for the new generation of today, and has a broad appeal. She succeeds in crossing boundaries of age, social distinction and gender, and appeals to all kinds here, readers both male and female.
As a writer and poet, Marifel dips her toe in the delicious warm waters of love and longing, and skinny-dips in the rich evocative currents that life and experience offer her – and she holds our hand steadily as we travel on this journey of discovery and exploration with her. Her sensibilities teach and reinforce our beliefs, and explore the sacred feminine and contemplates what it is to be human.
She teaches us and tells us not to be afraid of falling in love and that the “Tossing and Turning” over loves wished for, dreamed of, loves long past, loves yet to come, and love in the “now” – are all part of the tapestry of experience.
In her acknowledgments, Marifel credits family members and friends, and many Hub Pages writers who are mostly poets. Our advice here is – go and buy this book – add it to your collection of Hub Pages of Marifel Dungo, for this is a natural extension of this amazing lady’s impressive collected works. These poems surf at the edge of the fantastic...
Lulu is an American publisher that is entirely based online and a boon for writers who wish to become published immediately. Traditional books take almost a year to go from script to final finished article. Lulu gets the book to print in less than two weeks. This book “Toss and Turn” is a well presented 90 page paperback perfect bound and of high print and finish quality. The poems are segmented thematically, and has everything inside that a typical “proper” book will have.
The inclusion of a copyright notice for Lulu as well as the author suggests the cover might be a design that belongs to the publisher. Although this would not affect this author here, it would be suggested that budding authors and poets provide their own artwork or photo work for their book covers. We also recommend that writers use the Design and Patent Act to affirm their copyright on their own works, for protection.
Marifel chose wisely to promote her book (now also available on Barnes and Noble) on both the back cover and the inside of the book on the copyright page. It pays to advertise. This book also has its own ISBN number, vital for all aspiring publishers. Lulu books after an initial period adds writer’s books to the Amazon.com website for further sale, as well as selling the titles on the Lulu website. Marifel Dungo has written a Hub Page on how this book was published here. I heartily recommend this great poetry book to everyone. There is also an ebook version of the book available on Lulu.com.
- Toss and Turn by Marifel Dungo (Paperback) - Lulu
Buy Toss and Turn by Marifel Dungo (Paperback) online at Lulu. Visit the Lulu Marketplace for product details, ratings, and reviews. Recommended by Cathy Nerujen, Cassy Mantis and many poets of HubPages.
Review copyright (c)2010 - 2013 Cassy Mantis & Cathy Nerujen. All rights reserved.
Samples of poems from "Toss and Turn" copyright 2010 Marifel Dungo. Samples are used with permission.
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