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Poetry in Dilemma: A Review

The Dilemma by Danielle Holian

Type: Poetry Written by: Danielle Holian Released: 2020 Published by: Danielle Horan Photography (main photo): Britney Holian

Format: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 169

Dimensions (Paperback): 15.24 x 0.99 x 22.86 cm

ISBN-13: 979-8667172567

Verdict: 4/5 stars

Please note, there are spoilers ahead... ~An emotive journey of love, loss and moving on: The all-knowing story when one falls blindly into a love too good to be true.~


‘The Dilemma' has a heavy and emotive energy throughout. As we read each poem, we fall more in love with the intoxicating and passionate feeling of desire jumping from the pages, knowing all too well of what is to come.

Firstly, the book begins with a personal and full-hearted introductory Author's note. Already, we are provided with a summary of a relatable love story so many of us have experienced in our lifetimes. And so, the scene is set and the origin of this particular collection of poems is explained, ready for the reader to interpret them as required.

Rather than a simple collection of poems, each one carries on from the next in an interwoven story describing the three stages of a relationship under three chapters. We are taken through a passionate tempest of feeling, travelling up and down with each wave these poems bring. The style of poetry is raw, but reflective and an interesting view into another soul. If light-hearted sonnets about summer love and easy positive reading was what you wanted, this would not be the poetry collection for you, but then again, you would miss out on the simple human complexities found within this piece which are in themselves beautiful. White space in contrast to the harsh black ink of the writing itself is used to great effect and makes for a wonderful imaginative experience. The importance and weight of the words etched onto the page are heightened as you read each poem, intentionally written on separate pages, drawing out the thoughtful storytelling throughout the book. The space before the final line in many of these poems draws us in and keeps the reader in the moment. We are alive within these poems and the words seemingly have life themselves.

Throughout the first chapter: 'The Loving', we are taken on a journey through the senses of sight, touch, smell, taste and hearing and what it is to have all of them filled with one individual during the heated passions of fresh, new love. Particularly during this chapter, each moment of precious memory represented by every poem was elevated like an untouchable diamond. It fed into the idea of embracing the present and connecting fully with the heightened senses that make us feel alive.

The images brought about of laughter, lust and bottles of perfume all connect with our human desire to be loved, seen and valued. You may see yourself in these pages as images from your own life are conjured up in tandem with Danielle's thoughts etched across the pages. Each moment of each stage of the relationship is felt with Danielle and we feel the desire and hurt within every line of her poems. The imagery is captured beautifully and the tempo of the book has clearly been carefully orchestrated.

‘Chemistry’ was a particularly beautiful poem, as the abstractness of the writing and its reference to the stars above was stunning. There was a similarity to Shakespeare's 'Romeo and Juliet' here, when considering love as a higher form of unearthly living, that one must look up to the heavens to even start to grasp that feeling of lightness and even flying.

We are painted a picture of a desired filled love, full of yearning and closeness, with a faint glimmer of the underlying darkness building towards the second chapter: 'The Breaking', when the feelings of higher love and light are almost completely replaced with a darker and rigid coldness. These poems were much harsher and forceful in their message and the undertone of resentment became heavier. The crux of the inner dilemma of what was real, what wasn't and how one should or shouldn't act or how to feel or how not to, increases to a head. The title poem: 'The Dilemma' was placed here at the centre of the story, creating an explosion of feeling.

Many of the poems increased in length once this point of the book was reached, like tears on a page not wanting any free space to think or wonder in pain. In this chapter, the poem ‘Blue’ stood out. It echoes the sadness felt through loss and the realisation of truth, vulnerability and the resentment that comes with it in a vivid wash of colour.

We then reach 'The healing ' and the opening to self-care. During this Chapter, there is a stronger sense of reference back to the Author's note and the idea of turning your senses to look ahead into the future for something better than what laid before. More of an adult strength and wisdom can be found now, which completes the three-stage arc of the dilemma where one begins to move on from the past and starts to mend, despite the continuous temptation of looking back. The entire series of poems in 'The Dilemma' ends with the poem 'Deja Vu’ which cleverly highlights the hardest part of healing, when you reflect upon the memories in your mental diary to find a state of true acceptance of the time gone by.

If you have experienced heart ache or the pangs of an intense unrequited love affair, Danielle's 'The Dilemma', will help you realise you are not alone. Many of us will have experienced a love in our lives which blinds us to distraction, and Danielle sums up those pangs in her emotive poems wonderfully. It is a very intimate and beautifully human piece of art. You are swept away on the journey of a sad but all too real love story, with a blindness to the realities surrounding oneself. Danielle's writing, the careful structure and placement of words further lift you up from the page along a wave of remembrance, heartbreak, embracing the truth and the underlying decay bubbling beneath a 'love' all too good to be true.


Side Note: You can check out and purchase 'The Dilemma' yourself via Amazon for only £10.99 (UK) here:

Enjoy !

This is Danielle's second book. If you like the sound of 'The Dilemma', please pick up her first poetry book - 'Beautifully Chaotic'.

Please note, 'The Dilemma' and all poems included exclusively belong to Danielle Holian. All opinions expressed above are my own.

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