Sway This Way: We Were Young by Fortesa Latifi | Review

We Were Young by Fortesa Latifi | Where Are You Press, 2015
Review by Meggie Royer

Latifi has built a dreamscape of girls in bars, girls in skirts, girls falling asleep next to missing lovers, all among the everyday rubble of cereal for breakfast and pills, lipstick smears, shaking hands. Interspersed with tales of grandparents and sleepovers, Latifi draws the magic from lives full of ache and want, reminding us of those rare moments we felt beautiful, even for just a few seconds.

The most stunning thing about these works is how reckless they are. “We are young and we don’t know yet/how damage can last,” writes Latifi. These poems will last, too. We will always remember the boys smoking on balconies, the boy with the baguette, the grandmother crying at the kitchen table while slicing fruit. It’s what’s in the details that saves us.

Ripe, dizzying, and astoundingly insightful, We Were Young is a momentous collection that will bring the old back to the young and the young back to themselves. “Since your first taste, you never wanted to do without it,” says Latifi in “Albatross.” The same goes for this stunning collection.

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Fortesa Latifi is a 22-year old poet/writer/bibliophile. She is trying her best. Her book This Is How We Find Each Other was published through Where Are You Press in December 2014. Her work has also been published in Persona and Words Dance. She couldn’t stop writing if she tried. For bookings/interview requests, you can contact her at fortesa.latifi@gmail.com.

Contributing Editor

Meggie Royer is a writer and photographer from the Midwest who is currently majoring in Psychology at Macalester College. Her poems have previously appeared in Words Dance Magazine, The Harpoon Review, Melancholy Hyperbole, and more. She has won national medals for her poetry and a writing portfolio in the Scholastic Art and Writing Awards, and was the Macalester Honorable Mention recipient of the 2015 Academy of American Poets Student Poetry Prize.