Through one of my Fiverr gigs, I had the pleasure of working with Kelly on several poems which then became Moonsick, a twelve page chapbook exploring loss and pleasure through the cosmos. It's a perfect example of a chapbook - succinct, stunning and narrative. And I'm not just saying that because I worked on it... I promise!
Below is my review as well as links to buy the chapbook and find me on Fiverr if you would like to work with me too!
Moonsick by Josephine Raye Kelly, reviewed by Kristiana Reed
Moonsick by Josephine Raye Kelly is a short yet fantastic collection which explores the human experience in relation to the universe. Kelly’s work focuses in particular on the body, our identity and how we relate to one another in the time and space we inhabit.
In many ways Moonsick celebrates both birth and death. Pieces like ‘summoning’ and ‘gender fluidity fka shapeshifting’ conjure a sense of ownership and freedom over who we are and the power we possess - the self being deeply rooted in how we interact with the world but not defined by the world and its systems. Kelly’s vision is expansive as their words search and locate the magic of being.
While poems like ‘moonsick (past)’ and ‘when the stars come out’ are mournful yet beautiful. Kelly does what so few of us do, which is to acknowledge the need for death alongside creation, how without the other we cannot appreciate either. These poems reveal the tender human which lives in a galaxy, not as a comment on insignificance but as a reminder of how incredible the act of living truly is.
Moonsick is a sweet taste of what it means to be here but without the grand messages of faith or purpose; Josephine Raye Kelly has captured what it means to exist.