"Though these poems punctuate anxiety and depression, they are also abundant in the redemptive power of hope and joy and just may, in the end, offer salvation." A glowing review for Happy, Okay? by MJ Fievre via Mom Egg Review: http://momeggreview.com/2019/11/04/happy-okay-by-m-j-fievre/
In Haitian poet M.J. Fievre’s latest book, “Happy, Okay?” readers are catapulted on a journey through the psyche of a woman navigating mental illness. Though these poems punctuate anxiety and depression, they are also abundant in the redemptive power of hope and joy and just may, in the end, offer salvation.
The first part of the book is arranged like a Greek play with a chorus of three characters involved in a sort of call and response format. Two of the characters are lovers, José Armando and Paloma, struggling to reconcile their life together and trying to ward off the darkness of Paloma’s depression. Into this mix another character, Shadow, acts as foil who at times mirrors Paloma’s confusion and at other times celebrates Paloma’s humanity in the face of mental instability. Paloma’s lines are often heartbreaking in their simple eloquence:
“The water opens,/swallows me,/& I am drowning,/dropping, dropping,/the force of the water/dissolves my flesh/ & leaves my bones/polished, white/—until I mirror the sky…If I am to be brave/I want to learn/to swim/in these waters,/in their irresistible/chiaroscuro,/in the weight,/of their insistent/turbulence.” (60-61)