Onion Heart: The Selected Works of Alise Versella Volume 2 Peel Back Your Layers
Onion Heart: Peel Back Your Layers is the second volume in The Selected Works of Alise Versella. A collection of over eighty poems, Versella’s poetry is one of deep introspection regarding her image, as well as her world “and the person who once was a part of it.” Among her many accolades, Versella received honorable mention in the writers-editors online contest for “S.L.V,” one of her Onion Heart poems. Versella’s reflections strike a chord for those who desire transparency.
According to her website (www.aliseversella.net), Versella says this about her work: “I’m writing poetry to find myself; I’m writing poetry to save the world. My hope is that my poetry saves someone’s world from crumbling because I believe poetry is a beautiful salve to heal our deepest wounds, metaphorical heartbeats on white pages.” Indeed, Versella’s recent tome speaks to the issues of the heart. A mix of mostly free verse, prose, and visual poetry, lightly sprinkled with rhyme, Versella’s poetry carries a natural cadence to her lilting lines and forthright messages.
Versella groups her poems into nine headings and covers a multitude of topics that are all tightly intertwined with themes of life, death, and love. And as mentioned above, her introspection is a part of her self-discovery and emergence into adulthood. Much of what Versella has to say are mere ruminations on the facets of life. Although her candid expressions of grappling with existential complexities may appear rather insular, in truth her struggles strike a common chord with all readers. Offering encouragement, these lines from her poem “Whole” capture the aforementioned sentiment: “If I suffer silently soon this too will pass / And from my pain the aftermath is always beauty / From my pain come a million and one lighting bugs / Sparkling like stars spread out against the night…”
Amid baring her soul (peeling back the diaphanous onion heart layers), Versella includes relational poems both with eye-catching titles and clever statements. Great examples comprise of “Octopus” (“The rats that click inside your head / Are just octopus tentacles…”); “Bookend Memories” (“Shoved between bookends we have memories / But we’ve locked them behind library doors to keep our hearts from hemorrhaging…”); and “Frankenstein’s Hospital Bed” (“The landscape of your brain’s alive…but your landmass flesh is sinking…”)
Onion Heart: Peel Back Your Layers is a visceral and eye-opening read with healing elements to those who take Versella’s words to heart.