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Review: Glass Half Full of Poetry by Miranda Krogstad

By Leonie O’Sullivan, December 19 2023—

Miranda Krogstad, a previous writer for the Gauntlet, is now a spectacular motivational poet and has just released their first book — Glass Half Full of Poetry. This book of poems is not your typical glass-half-full kind of optimism but rather a glass filled to the brim and pouring over with love and affection. 

My favourite poem in this book is “Storm Wall,” dedicated to their beloved late cat. Reading through eyes half filled with tears, love shone through the despair in a celebration of the relationship they shared. Reading this poem reminds you to hold your furry family members a little bit closer.  

This book has various sections to explore, with albums dedicated to family members, pep talks and love poems. The first poem of the family album is deeply personal while explaining the importance of optimism by comparing it to a learned perspective. The hardships we experience in difficult times will sprinkle happiness on life’s more mundane moments. Krogstad shares their special memories with their great-grandmother, parents, sister and cousins. 

The portrait poem of their father brings the reader on a startling, cyclical caregiving journey. We are brought into this world with anxious guardians watching over our every breath. Then we grow older alongside them, the dependence switches places, and we become the worriers.

“.. who’s ever prepared to be told/that the one who gripped them greater than gold/has two months to shine?” said Krogstad in “Stardust.”

The pep talk poem “Princess” is a beautiful message to young and old alike. The presence of a prince (or partner) in your life does not add or take away from your strength, and your life aspirations are undefined by the gender binary. You can be ambitious as an entrepreneur or stay-at-home parent — choose whatever brings you happiness, as true success comes from within. “Imperfect” is another pep talk poem that touches on the feelings of imposter syndrome and describes how even the most beautiful paintings contain layers of hidden errors. 

The cheeky love poem “Ode to Pasta” brings a buffet of puns and carbs and may contain more layers than a lasagna — possibly speaking in a secret language to a romantic partner. Or maybe they love pasta that much, which would be understandable after all. One of the final poems is a love letter to the pandemic. Yes, you read that right. Over years of hardship, it is important to view the positives of what we all went through. By becoming isolated, we became more innovative in connecting with family and friends, which we took with us beyond the lockdowns. 

There’s a bunch of science about how optimism and gratitude can help your mental health and relationships. If you’re stuck on how to become more optimistic in your everyday life, you could start by giving this book a try. If you want to get a greater taste of Krogstad’s poetry, you can watch some of their poetry videos here.

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