Drawing upon Edmund Burke’s definition of the sublime—the odd beauty associated with fear and self-preservation; our astonished delight in what destroys, what overpowers and compels us toward darkness—these strange poems mine the sinister fault lines between weird fiction, expressionism, gothic horror, and notions of the absurd, cracking the mundane shell of our given metaphysical order. In the traditions of Nerval, Trakl, Schulz, Tadić, Poe, and contemporaries Aase Berg and Jeff Vandermeer, the wonderful disassociation brought to bear on the reader lies in the conjuring of unprecedented worlds, their myths and logics, their visions and transformations—worlds that resist interpretation almost successfully, and reveal to us the uncanny and nightmarish.
I requested this because I haven’t read poetry in a long time and I thought the fact that this was mixed with horror would be a good reintroduction to reading poetry. However, I couldn’t really get onboard with this. But I’ll start with a positive as say what wonderfully creepy cover art this collection has!
A lot of the imagery in this collection is rather grotesque, and some of the subjects of the poems are dark, so I understand the horror genre label. However, the poems didn’t frighten me, give me the creeps or give me any other kind of horror emotion.
I think I know the reason for this, and that’s because I find it really, really difficult to lose myself in poetry. I guess like with books, lots of flowery language distracts me from the story, so maybe that’s where I’m going wrong with poetry, because it’s often quite flowery. I do enjoy some poetry but it has to be straightforward and tell an easy to follow story. This collection… wasn’t. It was flowery and filled with language that went about telling a story in confusing ways. At some points, I didn’t have a clue what I was reading or what supposed to be feeling.
Example: “Mathematics are a ladder in the wild,” you said, drunk. “Climb it to reach the real.” – Um, I beg your pardon? What are you saying?
There were a couple of pieces in here that I did like. One being Northwest Passage which read more like a story, but for the most part, this collection was lost on me. So unfortunately, this was a 2 star read. I didn’t find it that interesting and I’m glad it was only a short read.
However, this may be great for anyone who loves and connects with poetry. I can’t exactly say if this is well imagined, well written poetry, because I honestly don’t know – I found a lot of the metaphors and descriptions very confusing, as I’ve said before – but it might be worth giving a shot if you enjoy the more flowery writing.
Thanks to Netgalley and Brooklyn Arts Press for giving me the opportunity to read this in exchange for an honest review. Sorry I didn’t like it!