Describing her work as a "penned prescription for identity", Oriana Jemide offers remedy through her poetry. The 31-poem compilation ventures through questions and answers on identity. The book starts with a message, that states exactly who will benefit from her words,
"For anyone who feels stuck, lost, burdened by life's many trials. I hope you find a glimmer of hope as you flick through the pages of this book. May you find truths you can hold onto truths that affirm you, truths that carry you for days to come".
At first, I saw the dedication as a sentiment that you see at the beginning of any piece of literature. The link between identity and "truth" was made very quickly through the first poem, Eden. It was short, sweet and blunt in a refreshing tone- it was perfect opening to summarise what's to come whilst staying true to the overall theme.
It's safe to say that reading When will you let yourself see? came at a time where introspection and sense of self proved difficult. It made me appreciate how vulnerable Jemide made herself in order to get her point across. It seems as if her transparency and experiences are highlighted throughout, but shine especially bright in How To Be Before God and Sins of the Father [against daughters]. It's clear to see that the poet uses her faith as a muse but not in a cliché or expecting way. Most writing that explores religion will look at it from a critical standpoint in some way, shape or form. You could say Oriana uses faith as a driving point and inspiration rather than a topic of scrutiny. For example, there is a real honesty in the syntax of How To Be Before God. The way she expresses herself can only come from first hand experience. It reads like detailed instructions. However, the intricacy is not in the instructions themselves but the way acting them out would make a person feel. Surely prayer is different for everyone, so where is the vivid imagery coming from?
It's important to talk about the last entry, titled Journey, and the way in which it closes the book. It may very well be my favourite because the interpretation can vary depending on the reader. "Journey" can be viewed literally, figuratively, spiritually etc. In the last lines, it refers back to Eden (the first poem) as the beginning and its proof of the thought and complexity that went into piecing the poetry together.
Oriana also wrote a personal message for me in the front cover. It read: "As you delve into this book, I hope you find a thing or two that brings you healing and renews your mind". From the first poem to the last, I found comfort in her words- making it a little easier to assess my own identity.