Sway This Way: Rolling Holy in the Dirt by Misha Brandon Speck | Review


62 pgs, perfect bound soft cover, handmade, $7
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Review by Jade Mitchell

Rolling Holy in the Dirt is an poetic execution of emotion and memory. This exploration of loss Misha Brandon Speck has created sinks you into the aftermath of losing someone and how you can continue to live through the emptiness and isolation.

Divided into three sections, Misha explores the emptiness we feel through the traces of a person that still linger once they have been removed from our lives. Poems such as “The Ghost” create a delicate imagery, immersing you within the memory until you feel at one with it.

“traces of you
on the porch
on the windowsill

evicted from mouths,
secondhand smoke in our clothes.”

However, as the chapbook rolls into its second section, the poems become a progression of trying to move on from this state of being. In poems such as “Guilt Trash”, Misha focuses on the feelings of guilt we encounter when trying to rid ourselves of the past, and settles onto the ways we can move on without leaving it behind.


”Why have we been wasting the first decades
of the 21st century staring up at the stars for
new worlds
when we could pioneer a new life


on top of the mess
we left from the last one?”


But what is also captured innocently within the second section is the progression in learning to love again, whether it be for another person or for the life you lead. Misha shows a realisation for change which is something that exists deep within us all, the moment when you become so tired that you push yourself towards something new.

“Sometimes when you remember what
you are it makes you want revolution

or at least something to that effect.”

As the book progresses into its final section, we are greeted with poems that flower. This section focuses on the new-found connections that blossom, and the passage of time from one year to the next, that evolves our very lives.

“I hope none of it is true, what
they say about the distance. I hope none of it’s
true, what they say. I can’t hear it over the sound
of standing in a city other than my own trying to
stretch love over these lines in the road.”

Rolling Holy in The Dirt is a collection gritted with reflection, full of mournful yearning before transitioning into hope, into light.

“we leave parts of ourselves pink
like the flowers inside us.”


Misha Brandon Speck isn’t an artist or whatever, but definitely likes writing poems, making music, taking photographs, and writing short biographical quips in the third person. They live in Portland, Oregon and has a certificate in independent publishing from the IPRC.


Contributing Editor


Jade Mitchell is an 18 year old poet / writer who resides near Glasgow, Scotland. Her work has been featured in The Grind Journal, Inky Paper and Ink Scotland. Aside from working on her writing and poetry, you can find her listening to Lorde and reading every poem she can find in sight.