I Made A Place For You – Book Review

I Made A Place for You

Written by Damian White / Illustrated by Francesco Orazzini


What if I told you the golden rule of speech is to speak when spoken through?

This poetry collection explores a number of themes, ranging from spirituality and religion to perseverance and humility. The poems in Damian White’s debut book dwell less in the realm of imagistic and narrative impulses and more so strive for a “higher order statement.”

In I Made A Place For You, we experience the turmoil unearthed from daring to make a place for our inmost curiosities.

Book Review

I Made Place For You is Damien White’s debut poetry book. This short compilation of poems speaks on spirituality, inner thoughts, and their power on our souls. Each poem is matched to a colorful, thought-evoking illustration done by Francesco Orazzini.

I Made A Place For You starts with a poem named ‘Post Mortem’ in which White discusses the consequences of the human need to tell white lies. We hide flaws at the detriment of losing our true selves or decaying inside. White hopes in the distant future, his headstone shall read ‘…here lies a man who never died inside’.

I especially loved the poem I Am Innocent, in which White says, ‘…we build a fortress/of validation/and guillotine/our most precious birthright: Innocence’ A phrase filled with impact, and perhaps a eulogy to the innocence that is often stripped from us when we’re too young.

In Good Mourning, White alludes to our human existence, arguing ‘…we are soil/…vital and better suited/ for sunshine’. Regardless of where we are, who we are, and what we wish to be, we are creatures that need nurturing. A moment of sun, vitalizing food, and especially good information to cultivate our thoughts. We are not a lump of ash.

White spends a few words discussing spirituality and the importance of looking to a higher power. In Playing God, he says, ‘…to be Godly/ is not to be God’. I found this poem to be the most powerful in terms of exploring our spiritual relationship with God. No matter what we do, how godly we are, we shall always answer to the one who made us.

The illustrated pictures had me going back to read the poem they represent. There is this moment that plays out as you read a poem, looking at the illustration to see if it matches your interpretation. Then, looking at the poem again to make it work with the art. This back-and-forth is such an important part of engagement with the words.

My favorite, the one that worked perfectly for me, illustration and poem, is called ‘Written in Blood’. In this poem, White says, ‘…As Ink bleeds/ I bleed‘. Francesco Orazzini captures the essence of turning ink into words, and the masochist nature of a writer, with absolute precision. I love it.

I Made A Place For You is a debut poetry book filled with amazing little gems of words.