Book Review: “Blushing Muse” by Stella Donato

Cover of the poetry collection "Blushing Muse" by Stella Donato
Cover of the poetry collection “Blushing Muse” by Stella Donato.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing “Blushing Muse” by Stella Donato!

It’s been a little while since I reviewed a poetry collection, so I figured that this would be good to read and review.  Here’s a quick blurb so we know what it’s about:

“Blushing Muse is a raw and romantic collection of poetry that explores sexual identity and intimacy. Filled with tenderness, understanding, and fiery passion, Stella Donato authentically conveys the slow transition of self-acceptance alongside the ever-present fear that comes with being openly queer, as well as the aftermath of coming out.

The theme throughout is self-discovery, the friction that comes with finding oneself, and the eventual refusal to settle for conditional love.”

Overall Thoughts:

I thought that this was a pleasant collection to read overall. As mentioned in the author’s notes in the collection, there is biphobia, sexual themes, violence, religious iconography and violence discussed in most of the poems. Out of all of those elements listed, I think the biphobia and sexual themes were the most-discussed elements. Majority of the poems either discuss biphobia experienced by the poems’ narrator, or touch on the sexual themes in a romantic relationship. Meanwhile, I felt that there wasn’t much religious iconography or themes mentioned in this collection despite the author note.

The imagery in the poems can be interesting to read, and sometimes a little disturbing depending on what the poems are discussing. “Cotton Candy Lovers,” one of the poems, caught my eye because of its usage of body parts (ribcages, veins, etc.) and flowers in the same lines and/or stanzas. Another example of the sometimes-disturbing imagery is “Malfora,” which discusses experiencing biphobia or hearing slurs related to it.

Not a lot of the poems were a standout to me. Most of the follow the same free verse format and/or discuss the same or similar themes. Though this makes this poetry collection cohesive, it can also get a bit hard to read through so many poems discussing the exact same theme in different ways. Some poems could have been fused together due tot he similarity in themes and/or experiences discussed in the poems to make longer ones.

Overall, I’m rating this collection 3.5 out of 5 stars!

I highly recommend reading this collection if you want to read some nice imagery and consistent theming.


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