The Inside of Out
by Jena Strong

Self Published, 2013. ISBN 978-0-615-79584-3.
Reviewed by Khadijah A.
Posted on 09/09/2013


Jena Strong's voice, already vibrant and unique, comes through clearly in her second collection of writings, The Inside of Out. Having read and loved Strong's first book, Don't Miss This, I thought I knew what to expect when I opened her second. I couldn't have been more wrong. It is not simply a book of poetry. Rather, it is the story of her birth and rebirth, dealing with divorce, parenting, grieving, loving, and simply living day to day in her own skin, told in both poetry and prose. In a voice that is at times harsh with tears, at others soft with wonder, Strong tells us a story and we, from the first page, are compelled to keep turning pages until we reach the very last.

when you say yes
but your heart screams
when you say no
but your heart is longing
when you invert the truth
so as not to hurt others
the damage is far worse
than the fallout

Strong's journey is both unique and universal,not limited to her own feelings and experiences, but also tuned into the struggles that all of us—if we are to be truly honest with ourselves—face as we move forward into living our lives openly and authentically.

Jena Strong is a poet, writer, and mama devoted to waking up, making the coffee, and seeing what happens. She has self-published two collections of poetry and prose, Don't Miss This and The Inside of Out. A graduate of Barnard College and Emerson College, She lives in Amherst, MA with her daughters, works at Hampshire College, and is engaged to Mani Canaday, a writer and midwife. Visit her website.

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