Bleeding Hearts: Love Poems for the Nervous & Highly Strung Review
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So few poetry anthologies have purposely captured the emotional range that this one has. The many sides of love, including bitterness, neuroses, discomfort, yearning: these subjects, so often addressed in country music lyrics, are seldom adequately covered in love poetry anthologies. Well, this one has them all.

The book is separated into six parts by subject, progressing much as a short crush/relationship often progresses. The first section deals with “love and fear”; the second with “the irresistible desire to be irresisibly desired”; the third, “this torment is my joy”; the fourth, “when it is not love anymore”; the fifth, “you’ve left me”; and the sixth, “I will no longer apologize for loving you.”

If you’re lonely, frustrated, and perha
ps slightly bitter, or can at least remember or understand similar feelings (or if you’ve just read too many rose-colored love poem anthologies), you’ll truly appreciate this book. Its poems are (sometimes breathtakingly) honest, sincere, poignant, and often clever, with titles such as “Never Give Your Heart to Someone Who Eats Hearts” (my personal favorite—from Alice Walker) and “I Am No Good at Love” (Noël Coward).

This collection, like many anthologies, is uneven and includes some bad stuff, but it also includes excellent works from great poets like Alice Walker, E. E. Cummings and Pablo Neruda and from others that were new to me. And, ultimately, it does what it sets out to do: gives you a slightly unorthodox, modern, Woody-Allenish look at love in all its manifestations as seen through poetry. The raw power of poetry to display emotion is often at its height in this collection.

One more thing: this book is handy to have around on Valentine’s Day in case of emergencies. Now’s the time to buy it, before the rush.

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