Spoken Emotion: A collection of poetry about adoption – Elizabeth & Oliver Archer

Hello friends,

It’s time for another book review. It’s been a while but, since #nationalpoetrymonth takes place in April, I thought I’d focus on poetry books about adoption or that have been written by adoptees. The first in this series is the collection Spoken Emotion, by Elizabeth and Oliver Archer. As I was searching for poetry books that fit my adoption criteria I found this book. Though originally published in the UK, it’s fairly easy to find a copy via Amazon.

Spoken Emotion is a small collection of poetry. There are 25 poems in the book and the majority of the poems are written by Elizabeth. However, 8 of the poems are written by Oliver, Elizabeth’s biological son. It’s worthwhile to note that he contributed to the collection at quite a young age (year 6 in the UK = 5th grade in the US. Oliver wrote the poems around 10 or 11 years old!), bravo Oliver!

The collection addresses complex emotions around relationships, identity, and parenting in Elizabeth’s poems. In the poems, My Opposite Love, and Baby, Elizabeth delights in motherhood as she becomes a parent for the first time. In juxtaposition, the poems, My Life, and Trauma Child, showcase how hard parenting can be. Elizabeth’s poems showcase both good and bad days within a family, mirroring the daily struggle that many parents and families face.

Another notable poem written by Elizabeth is the poem Normal, in which Elizabeth writes from the perspective of her adoptive son. I resonated deeply with this one, it’s a poem that I would encourage many adoptive parents to read since it showcases some of the microaggressions and misconceptions that adoptive children are labeled with. In these moments of isolation and despair, the poem showcases the work that adoptive parents will need to undertake to defend their adoptive child and reassure them.

Oliver’s poems discuss his perspective of his family, giving an individual poem to each member: My Dad, Family, Brothers, and My Mum. One of my favorite poems in the collection is one that Oliver wrote, entitled I love him all the same. The poem highlights how even though there may be times in which siblings don’t get along, the love that they have for each other remains the same after every argument or struggle. It’s a very heartwarming poem and I find myself wanting to pass it on to my siblings.

Though Spoken Emotion is a small collection of poetry, it’s a very unique look at a work of prosody by two members of a family in within the adoptive triad. If you’re a poetry enthusiast or, are just curious about this short work, I’d encourage you to purchase the book and take a look for yourself.


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