I Am the Architect of My Own Destruction is Juansen Dizon’s second book of poetry. The book opens with a letter to the reader, which begins “It’s hard to write when you want to kill yourself. It’s harder when you don’t really know the reason as to why.” Throughout the book I felt like I as a reader was being directly spoken to.
The poems capture the darkness and depth of mental illness, and often I was left thinking wow, that’s exactly how I have felt. Thoughts of suicide are shared in a way that feels very genuine and non-triggering. The book touches on a range of topics including body image and the difficulty of self-love. Along with the difficult part of mental illness, Juansen also writes about healing and happiness. This provides a good balance to some of the darker poems.
Many of the poems were quite short, which I really appreciated because as I was reading the book depression was doing a number on my concentration. Some are only one line, but carry profound meaning in those few words, like Numb and Casket. I was impressed by the emotional depth that could be captured in just a few words.
The book explores love and navigating relationships, and how challenging this can be when in the depths of mental illness. Juansen clearly bares his soul as he writes about this. The book also includes touching letters to his girlfriend and his brother.
I particularly liked the one-line poem Seraphim: “Melancholy is an angel that fell in love with a demon.” Another favourite was Warriors, which talks about the strength it can take to stay alive.
This book carries the reader on a poetic journey into the author’s mind and heart, giving an intimate look at the experience of mental illness. The poems are very accessible, in the sense that even people who don’t normally read much poetry would likely find it easy to engage with this book. It’s well worth checking out.
You can find Juansen on his blog Lonely Blue Boy.
Note: I was provided with a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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