Book Review: “City Poems” by Joe Fiorito

Cover of "City Poems" by Joe Fiorito.
Cover of “City Poems” by Joe Fiorito.

Happy October, everyone!

I hope that all of you had a safe September and that October is just as good or better.

I’m back with another book review, and this time I’m reviewing the poetry collection “City Poems” by Joe Fiorito! It’s been a while since I reviewed a poetry collection, so I thought it was perfect timing to read and review another collection.

Usually, I’d provide a summary of some sort about every book I review, but I could not find a good summary that sums up what the collection is about this time around. The best way I can summarize what this poetry collection is about is in the title itself; the poems take place within a clearly urban setting.

Content Warning:

This poetry collection contains graphic discussions of drug use, rape, and other forms of sexual assault, other forms of sexual content, murder, death, and abuse. If you are sensitive to any of this content, you may want to skip reading this collection.

Overall Thoughts:

Many of the poems felt like they told individual stories. A few exceptions to this were when they commented on the state of society or injustices within society as a whole. A few poems were also connected to each other by having the same time but being labeled with additional numbers to order them. Many of the notes about the poems (located at the back of the book) gave further context to what the poems were about. Some were depictions of real-life events that happened, while others explained terminology. I found this helpful when reading the poems, especially since many of the poems took place in an area that not many people would necessarily be familiar with.

Many of the poems were short-form poems with a few stanzas per poem. I found it impressive that each poem maintained its short forms but also gave a lot of details or at least some idea of what was going on. This made them feel like they were stories, as I mentioned earlier, due to how well the imagery worked in each poem.

In terms of any underlying themes, I definitely felt a sense of desolate loss and hopelessness. I think that was the point of this collection, to display some raw and heavy depictions of events that can happen in life; loss, violence, and so much more that is covered by what I mentioned in the content warning section. Because many of the poems had similar themes, however, it was hard for me to choose any standout poems. They were well-written, but none of them really resonated with me as a reader as a whole.

Overall, I’m rating this book 4 out of 5 stars!

This collection was cohesive but lacked any standout poems. If you are sensitive to the content warnings, I suggest you do not read this book since the descriptions are graphic. However, I recommend this for those that might enjoy reading stories within poetry.


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