Reviewing a book of poetry feels a little unfair; each piece is deserving of an individual, separate examination, to be taken as a stand-alone narrative speaking from the mystery in the author to the longing in the reader. Yet the voice of the poet carries a collection like System of Ghosts; it’s what gives the work its overall tone, its objectives, and its rhythm on a wider, macro level.
Lindsay Tigue delivers emotionally charged words that mesmerise in their melancholic honesty. System of Ghosts opens with ‘Millions’, introducing themes of hope, adversity, anonymity. ‘Directions’ invokes persistence with lines like ‘I can be energy and wait’. The pain and nothingness of being lonely underscore ‘Solitary, Imagining’ and ‘Convergent Boundaries’, the latter of which further expands to observe forces great than the self.
The titular poem conveys Tigue’s relationship with things lost or hidden from view, whether by chance or subconscious choice. And ‘E-how’ struck me with its examination of our relentless need to know and continual reliance on the Internet when deciding how to live.
A System of Ghosts plays with free form, cleverly uses lines to create a horizontal and vertical effect, and dabbles with the more traditional pentameter rhythm. Like a favourite music compilation, not all cogs in the wheel will shove your head under the lyrical surface to emerge panting at the souls raw longing. But Lindsey Tigue’s debut collection will hit more than one nerve, especially for readers nursing a solitary heart.