Why We Chose It: “The Divorce” by Juned Subhan

The piece The Divorce I-III by Juned Subhan, a poem collection, consists of three poems taking the readers through the mindset of a women being divorced. I personally connected with this piece emotionally, which wasn’t something that happened with all other pieces. The subject being centered around divorce allows readers who may be going through or have gone though it to relate, as well as readers who have lost something or someone very close to them (family, toy, etc) for reasons they may not understand.

Though this connection of loss and sorrow, the readers, like myself and others, experience the journey alongside the speaker. In Divorce I, the narrator realizes that her spouse is able to continue a life without her (“my husband dangled down and all I could do was gaze at him, emptily, believing soon he’ll blossom again, whether or not I am here…”). I believe, as I said before, readers will connect through many lenses of experience and understand the collection differently than I may have. When our group discussed this piece, everyone had a different understanding and relationship with the poems, which opens up our reading audience even more.

The poems reflect on the narrator’s feelings as they’re telling or experiencing the story. Subhan changes the font from italic and standard to evoke her  insight into a little girl character who appears multiple times throughout the collection. In Divorce II, the poem starts off (“A flurry of maple leaves…”) with italic font in this daydream state setting, then the readers are suddenly taken out of the dream into the narrator’s reality when the font switches back to standard (“And then, inevitably, as if I’m being dragged…”). The change can be seen in many different ways: I personally took it as a change in voice of someone inside the narrator, another voice who speaks what can’t be spoken. This can be seen in Divorce II, “I leaned against him, wrapping my arms around his fatigued legs—opening my glassy eyes like a terrified girl with white daffodils ripped from her dress—” This inner voice is strongly connected to the emotions of the speaker and helps the readers get a better understanding of who the narrator is. Another thing this piece does that I absolutely love is focus on detailing the surroundings, whether it’s to convey untold emotions, where the characters are, or simply to help expand the figurative language. Many of the poems published in the magazine do this, and tell a beautiful story at the same time, but this piece conveyed everything from celebration, loss and growth very well.


Lydia Wilbon currently attends The Chicago High School for the Arts. She studies Creative Writing and majors in poetry. In her free time, she enjoys playing with her pets and spending time with family.

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