Quarter Life Poetry by Samantha Jayne – Book Review

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Big thanks to NetGalley for my copy in exchange for an honest review.

 

This is the sort of rhythmic verse I’d expect to find composed in the margins of uni lecture material, on the back of bar napkins, or maybe the underside of a pizza box. A collection of musings and grumbles from our generation Y representative, Quarter Life Poetry presents a series of stand-alone quatrains sorted into nine different categories and accompanied by some elementary abstract clip art. With themes like money, food, sex and unemployment, Jayne injects light-hearted amusement into the issues and gripes bearing down on first-world millennials.

These poems are basically short anecdotes written with the aid of a rhyming dictionary and using a ‘Roses are red, Violets are blue…’ template. That’s not to say they don’t tickle a rib:

‘Let us all gather ‘round

as we mourn side by side

to commemorate the fateful day

my metabolism died’ – p. 61

Samantha Jayne makes no pretence about her poetry, using a tone of disbelief to tell us how lazy, poor, bored, lost and helpless she feels. Her voice is sardonic and tinged with early-onset cynicism, making for a topical look at the very real struggles facing today’s young people (and, in fact, anyone who dreads going to work in the morning.

Apparently, Jane started out using social media to share her childish prose, attaching the simple vibrant animations to further promote an aura of regression.

I dont want to adult

Like our poor puppy friend, Quarter Life Poetry tells us why the 24-year-old author doesn’t want to deal with grown-up responsibility. Unemployment is possible, smug couples abound, money is elusive, and dating is a technological nightmare.

I read the whole thing in less than an hour and while certainly no Keats or Hegley, it still made me smile. Student loans + dieting + share housing? This 30 year old can relate (in retrospect only, I assure you).

3/5 Stars

‘The Poet’s Companion’ by K. Addonizio & D. Laux – Brief Review

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A book for poetry lovers, The Poet’s Companion caters for aspiring writers who wish to improve their craft and understand the genre at an advanced level. Kim Addonizio and Dorianne Laux have taken great care in sectioning individual chapters that let the reader dissect verse and understand a poem’s mechanics. The novice or experienced poet is gently encouraged to experiment with rhythm and word choice and to proactively investigate what constitutes a successful piece.

The authors use clear language and a kind approach to be frank about publishing expectations. Discussion of themes should spark inspiration but, if the instructional chapters fail, the final third holds a series of exercises so that the preceding intricacies can be put into working practice.

I felt that stronger diversity amongst the referenced poets could have taken the learning further and given the book a more universal appeal. But as a writer who naturally gravitates toward poetry, The Poets Companion has deepened my grasp on verse and on what makes a successful poem.

Highly recommended to anyone who loves reading or writing poetry, or to those who are curious about the how’s and whys of its impact.

 

4 Stars.

‘A System of Ghosts’ by Lindsey Tigue – Short Review

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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.

4/5 stars.