eindra lin’s Bookreads review of A Map of Rain Days

eindra lin’s Bookreads review of A Map of Rain Days

this is a seriously beautiful collection of fragile poems. the imagery in here is fantastic and hosein’s style and voice are so unique. these poems are like bruises in the way that it doesn’t hurt if you run over it lightly but the second you press in just a bit deeper the wound begins to sting. there is a real fragility and delicacy in the way hosein paints love and history and relationships and family. it feels so brutal but soft at the same time. i loveddd hosein’s imagery and metaphors it was so realistic yet intricately whimsical.


eindra lin’s Bookreads review of A Map of Rain Days

Padmaja Reddy’s Goodreads review of A Map of Rain Days

‘A Map of Rain Days’ by Jennifer Hosein narrates vivid experiences encompassing love, exile, romance and history. Her tone is powerful and bruised. Most of the poems in the First section are crafted ‘Mother’ as the central point. Those include ‘Heart’, ‘January’, ‘Breath’. Beautiful expressions like ‘Beloved Mother is a clipped-winged bird that floats around in lace’, ‘Walking down in corridors in mother’s bruised shoes’ charm the readers. Mother and daughter gift words to each other every day in ‘Waiting’. And the daughter has no place left to put the sorrow handed by the mother. Violence in love is painted so brilliant – ‘when your words knock me to the floor, I pick up the pieces and walk away.’ Love for mother and daughter as well as loss of a dear friend, American election, racism become central themes of certain poems. Jennifer’s style is affluent and sensuous.  
eindra lin’s Bookreads review of A Map of Rain Days

Ari’s Goodreads review of A Map of Rain Days

I had never read Hosein before this book, so I wasn’t really sure what I was in for. And well, I still am not sure what it was that this book has done to me, but my heart feels brutalized in the most welcome of ways.

My brother
has no time
for the heart-breakingness
of the old

and I have no place left
to put the sorrow
she hands to me.

The poems in this collection are each a culmination of the mundane pain we all feel everyday, and yet Hosein writes it such that you are introduced to it altogether anew. In Waitingwe are met with a mother awaiting her son, and the daughter forgotten save for the company she provides, and I find it so beautifully heart-wrenching. Wedding Day gave me the goosebumps at how savage it can be to ache.

There are some pieces that are more abstract than the others, and I love them too because of my love for abstract poetry, and there are some that are just so concrete and cutting that you could bleed on them.

Hosein here has written a brilliant collection that pulls at your heart and chews at its strings, only to leave you winded once you’re through with the book.

eindra lin’s Bookreads review of A Map of Rain Days

Anna T.’s Goodreads review of A Map of Rain Days

I devoured the book in one sitting. I woke up, and I reread it, revisiting some poems that spoke to my soul. It’s an emotional, intimate collection of poems covering several diverse topics, including the death of a loved one, being in love, suicide, racism, loneliness. The book is divided into chapters. It feels like the poet is holding our hand, inviting us on a journey with her, allowing us to discover different chapters of her life.

There were so many poems I loved in this collection. To name a few: ” I love You”, “Widow”,
” Oubliette”, “Vessel”, ” Poison-Drunk”, “Fists”, ” Cabin”, “Subterfuge”, “Used to”, “History”, “Weekend”, “Ebb”, “Mouth”, “Crow’s Feet”, “Romance”, “Song”, Leap Day”, “Fall”, “Ink”, “Unfamiliar”, “Mon Pays”, “Milk”, “Pacific”, “Fog”, “Dead Boys”, “Conductor”.

The poems that I identified a lot with were the ones talking about problematic romantic relationships, relationships where emotions of sadness were the norm, relationships where darkness prevailed, relationships that leave a deep mark on the soul, a mark that you struggle to get rid of ( ” Mouth”: I reach/into the back/of my mouth/ to pull pieces of you/out).
This kind of love tricks you, inviting you in with the promise of passion, emptying your soul, poisoning you ( Fall: ” Once you were air/then you were cinders/that I spat up now/and then),
and scattering your pieces in the ocean ( Pacific: ” When you swim with her ashes in the Pacific/ her kiss tucks you back/ into the swirling ruckus/she left behind”).
You struggle to break free but the scars are there ( Crow’s feet: “Inked on my face/are shadows that you left/behind, imprints/ of your lovers’ hands ) and you have to constantly fight to break free, to breathe again ( Fall: ” …to pull pieces of you/ out. But they stick/ so I choke and fumble), to not end up living for him, disappearing into nothingness ( History: ” Look at me/on his bed/History/ will not untie me/His story, always his/story. Someone’s his/ story).

The poem “Oubliette” sounds like a dark fairy tale, the image of a trapped man, waiting for the reward of his patience: his love to be reciprocated. This never happens. When the woman decides she is ready to give back, he has disappeared.

p. 104
” She put him in the oubliette and locked it…. Finally she came, to collect his love, but he had turned to dust”

The poem “Poison-Drunk” describes how deeply the scars of betrayal hurt and how difficult it is to trust other people and yourself

p. 100
” You say,
Believe me it won’t hurt
I never believe you.
I sit up awaiting

In the poem “Unfamiliar” the writer wonders how her parents managed to grow roots in a foreign place. She wishes she had asked them to share with her this wisdom, this inner strength she needs to feel connected to this land.

p. 45 ” I wish I has asked.
Tell me about my skin…
How did my father learn to put his feet down
on unfamiliar soil?
My mother’s steps
had a ring to them of certainty. She knew.
I did not”

I would recommend this hauntingly beautiful collection of poems by Jennifer Hosein to everyone.