Aisha Munir (known as A.Munir) is a talented writer, and the vocabulary and emotion displayed in ‘Curing My Venom’ is powerful, let down only by a few forced rhymes and the irrelevancy of ‘Denial’.
As a quick summation of the book then: Curing My Venom is structured along the 5 stages of Grief. I get the feeling when reading, that the grief she speaks of is not a typical death, but more the death of a friendship or a relationship. I like this twist around because I do believe – while not to the same extent – losing a friendship or relationship is unfathomably painful sometimes. There is a genuine feeling that whatever happened between Munir and this person stole a part of her, and we are reading a culmination of her thoughts leading to her eventual catharsis.
As I said, the vocabulary used and the way certain emotions interact with each other has the ability to strike a strong chord within the heart. Anger is arguably my favourite chapter because there is more of a truth there than in the others. The words and the structure of the Poetry – or at times Prose – builds and builds like Anger does to a climax that either scrunches our fists or flattens us into sadness as good poetry should.
The illustrations, drawn by Fatima Munir, are astonishingly beautiful. Each image interacts with A.Munir’s words perfectly and the delicacy of each one is quite stunning. I often wonder how a book works or doesn’t work with illustrations, but Curing My Venom is undoubtedly helped by these works of art.
My main fault with the book, and perhaps this is my own pedanticism, is with certain rhymes that feel as if they exist only to rhyme. Sometimes when writing poetry we get stuck on one particular word, a particular ‘darling’ and rather than sacrificing it we reach for a rhyming word to match it. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work and I feel, only at a few points, that this is present in Curing My Venom which just momentarily severs the flow. On top of this, and I can’t quite figure out if I’m right when saying this, is that the first chapter named ‘Denial’ doesn’t feel terribly relevant to the poems included in it. This is a real shame because the poems do work and are good, but I found myself reading the poems more than once trying to understand why they constituted a ‘Denial’ categorisation. As I say, I may not be right and I think poetry is often open to interpretation, but Denial was just the only chapter that left me a little confused.
In conclusion, Curing My Venom is more than worth a read, with some truly relatable moments of literary feeling and I do implore you all to form your own ideas once you’ve read this. But for me, there were a few points of rhyming and structure that lower it’s impact just a little.
Let me know what you think in the comments below and grab a copy of Curing My Venom at the following links: