• Confessions of a Burning Soul by Joanne Bugeja (Olympia, ISBN 978-1-78830-023-0)



Poetry and love form a perennial artistic partnership. It began with primitive bards scratching their first graffiti in underground caves and it has continued to this day and age of electronic phenomena and horrific climatic change.

It is not a sedentary partnership but is more of a cool vehicle one either drives resolutely to romantic eternity or on which one simply prefers to get an easy ride. Whichever way the poet decides, it is always a live wire that both shocks and pampers the soul, a massive paradox that has entertained and challenged countless generations. As a medium, poetry is a survivor and much of the credit goes to the wondrous avenues it provides in the search and confirmation of love destinations, love destinies and love conundrums.

Joanne Bugeja makes no bones about her affinity with romantic torrents and tribulations. Hers is an incredibly powerful shrill that leaves the reader not only wanting to discover more, but also caught in a poetic experience of hurricane force. She is a fashionista who is not afraid to bare her soul, clothes and all, by way of declaring her heart’s dictat. In her pulsating verse, she is at times trotting down the catwalk, at others gently sending out sensuous messages of comfort and personal awareness.

It really is the love turmoil that occurs across her artistic G spot, pushing her into tougher battles, better compromises and keener situations. There is a strange, eclectic feeling to this small, delightful collection of love poetry. Bugeja comes out as the Muhammad Ali, in drag, of the genre in the spirit of “float like a butterfly, sting like a bee.”

There is also a distinct musicality to Bugeja’s poetry, again sometimes interrupted by the sound of the boxing-ring bell that, for her, offers some respite and the joy of rejuvenation.

Recipe for female readers only? Hardly. Male readers will find ways of identifying with the poet and her musings, each in his own manner, but the poems in “Confessions of a Burning Soul” will instigate, challenge and threaten either sex.

For her relatively young age, Joanne Bugeja offers such an intriguing potpourri of emotions one finds it difficult at first to cope with it all, but in just forty-nine pages, one manages to become a part of this idyllic transformation that happens with love every time it is taken, as it has always been taken through the centuries, as the poet’s unique artistic pendulum. 


- Charles Flores