Review of ‘Thirty Angry Ghosts’ by Mai Black

A brilliant collection of poems from the perspectives of famous historical people. Inspiring, educational and thought-provoking, the poems bring history alive. There are well-written biographical notes at the end of the book. I hadn’t heard of a few of the people before, so I enjoyed being introduced to them.

So, what are the ghosts angry about? What happened to them while alive, how history has dealt with their reputations, or how we still aren’t learning from past mistakes. I’m glad that they’re angry. It makes for dynamic, impressive poetry, engaging with feminism, colonialism and the environment in particular.

My favourite poems were those about Neanderthal Woman, Tutankhamen, Genghis Khan, Mary Shelley, William Shakespeare, Homer and Joan of Arc. However, all of the poems were so good and none felt out of place. I liked that the poems were literary without being pretentious, which makes them suitable for all readers. I think this book would be a great resource to help history students with what can be a dry subject. Although there is powerful language used, there’s no swearing, so I’d say it’s suitable for teens. Finally, I want to mention how much I like the cover design. The ghosts’ expressions are compelling you to open the book and find out why they’re so furious.

In summary, an excellent achievement and I hope the author will write another collection.

Independently published in 2021.

6 thoughts on “Review of ‘Thirty Angry Ghosts’ by Mai Black”

  1. Thanks to for this great review. Iโ€™m delighted that Tutankhamen got a special mention. I think heโ€™s got one of the best reasons to be furious. Why do people still think of the desecration of his tomb as an event worthy of celebration? I donโ€™t understand it at all.

    1. You’re very welcome ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s shocking how many ancient tombs have been looted by treasure hunters and then claimed for the empire. And I do feel kind of upset (while fascinated too, I must admit) when I see mummies on display at museums, I’m quite sure these people never anticipated being on display to the public! I hope you are intending to write some more historical poems ๐Ÿ™‚

      1. Iโ€™m writing a historical novel at the moment but Iโ€™m sure to return to poetry at some point. Iโ€™d like to write angry poems for two readers/actors so that would probably be the next poetry project.

  2. I was about to commend on the cover too! I absolutely loved it! I also felt, judging from your review, it sorta set the tone for the book ๐Ÿ™‚ Great review, NS!

    1. Hi Jee, Iโ€™ll pass your comment on to my cover designer, Scott Johnson. Yes, he did an amazing job. It was so clever how he took each famous face and then tweaked the expression to make it angry. I couldnโ€™t have been happier with the end result.

      1. So sorry I mean commend the cover ๐Ÿ˜… I just notice the error ๐Ÿ˜“ Yes, I think he did a great job! ๐Ÿ’ช๐Ÿผ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿป

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