Review: Love Me Louder by Tyler Hurula

Hurula’s chapbook Love Me Louder is bittersweet and superbly pieced together. In just 47 pages we follow the speaker’s transformation at the hands of many; their father’s, mother’s, Grandmother’s and then their own. The poetry is a testament to how we are shaped by so many moments, people and choices but what Hurula shares is that even though this is true, we do not need to be defined by this.

It is possible, unfortunately, for many to identify with the narrative in this chapbook - a story of abuse, forgiveness, God, faith, womanhood and separation - and so Hurula strikes a fair balance. The work is visceral and brimming with the ache of unconditional love, while being sensitive to what is discussed and depicted. Nothing was gratuitous. The experience explored was portrayed tastefully and safely - a reader can find comfort in Hurula’s work rather than triggers.

Love Me Louder is also a work of empowerment - Hurula’s poetry is a place first and foremost carved out for love, as felt in the poems about sexuality and standing bravely and brazen in the face of homophobia (often from those closest to us). A reader can find peace in this collection, despite the heaviness it confronts and so it is a chapbook you can return to, dog-ear and cherish.

A beautiful debut.