Review: Fortunate by Kim Rashidi

cover of FortunateFortunate by Kim Rashidi
Andrews McMeel Publishing (May 3, 2022)
161 pages; $14.99 paperback; $7.16 e-book
Reviewed by Joshua Gage

Kim Rashidi is a 24-year-old poet based in Toronto. She explores the cosmos through her words and has a soft spot for capturing love and life in the mundane. Writing about the lives, cities, and timelines that mirror back the romantic, she weaves reality with imagined possibilities. She holds an MA in English literature and has taken to poetry since she was 16. Her newest collection is Fortunate, a series of poems based upon the Waite-Rider-Smith tarot deck.

Fortunate is both a book of poetry and a divination tool. Rashidi, in her note to the readers, encourages them to flip at random to a page in the book and to receive guidance or a message. She also encourages readers to use the blank pages for their own notes and musings, creating a possible call and response between her poetry and that of the readers. This makes for an interesting read, especially because the poems are not in a traditional order, but randomized, almost as though they’re part of a deck that’s been shuffled and used. 

The poems themselves are fairly abstract, as one would expect from a series of poems meant to be more inspiring rather than actual poetry. Radishi encourages readers to “read into the words and in between the lines to create meaning,” which is a very post-modern understanding of poetry, but it’s not clear that Radishi is tapping into the L=A=N=G=U=A=G=E poets or similar movements or simply using nebulous concepts to “offer her intuition” to the reader and inspire them to find meaning. 

As a divination tool, Fortunate might make sense. As a book of poetry, it struggles a lot. Rashidi uses vague notions and distancing language to create her poems, and while it might inspire readers to tap into different meanings of their everyday lives, as poetry, it struggles to find purchase in their imaginations. Fans of horror poetry might find this interesting as a tangential artefact or something to use in their own divination practices, but as a collection of poetry, this book isn’t worth pursuing. 

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