Reviewed by Catherine Morrison
DREAM FRAGMENTS is an incredible collection of poems that bring readers into her mind, experiencing the vibrant and intimate thoughts she experiences in her sleep. A reflection of self, of history, and future, Mirabel’s poems are extremely approachable, allowing readers to connect to a thought or theme as they turn every page.
From the beginning of the chapbook, Mirabel places the reader in a particular environment—a chilling yet comfortable winter scene. Throughout the book, winter remains a key element, giving the poems a feeling of dream-like warmth while also making readers feel cold, as if they’re in a nightmare.
Mirabel keeps readers feeling comfortably uneasy throughout the book, constantly balancing stories of pain with stories of happiness. The short length and easy-to-read style of the poems allows readers to become connected to each story while being able to quickly jump to the next, making connections between the two.
Mirabel beautifully speaks to her relationship with herself as continually growing and developing. Offering a true depiction of the balance between dark and light is the poem “HOLY,” where Mirabel beautifully writes that we are “becoming adults becoming ghosts, becoming more known to ourselves just until we’re gone.”
Through her poems, Mirabel also speaks to her relationship with partners and love interests. Readers can feel each emotion with every story Mirabel tells, from the electric feeling of a first and deep love to the grief of distance, pain, and loss.
The chapbook also delves into the feelings of love of family. When speaking from the perspective of a dream, Mirabel shows us how much her ancestors continue to shape her and how much she’s grown as a person because of her lineage. When speaking from a nightmare Mirabel shares her worries of losing her culture as her ancestors pass. Mirabel beautifully reminds readers that true love is family and the cultures we share because of our ancestors.
Within her dreams, Mirabel also raises questions about issues in society and in her life. Addressing social inequalities, the author calls on readers to question the world we live in and the ways it needs to change.
Mirabel highlights the difficulties of trying to explain all of these elements that we envision when in a dream. However, what remains easy to understand is love. Love of self, love of friends, love of family, of culture, of language, and love of exploration and discovery. DREAM FRAGMENTS is an essential read for all those looking to find a sense of understanding in their dreams, in their nightmares, and in their conscious state that combines the both. A beautiful exploration of our everyday thoughts, DREAM FRAGMENTS is not one to miss.
Avleen Kaur Mokha (“Mirabel”) is a Montreal-based poet who grew up in Mumbai, India. Mirabel holds a B.A. in English Literature and Linguistics from McGill University, and was the 2019 winner of McGill’s Peterson Memorial Prize for Creative Writing. Presently, Mirabel edits poetry and prose for Persephone’s Daughters, a literary magazine dedicated to survivors of abuse. Mirabel’s poems have appeared in Déraciné Magazine, Dream Pop, and Siblini among others.