To begin, I fully appreciate that poetry is HARD! Not just difficult to write, but also challenging to read. I honor all authors who take on this Herculean task.
Writing poetry requires an author to step outside of their “normal” self and engage with a deeper set of emotions and observations usually overlooked in everyday life. Reading poetry requires that we disconnect from our philosophical defaults, and allow the writer to lead us somewhere new, without judgement. For both the author and reader, it can be an amazing ride, a train wreck, or anything in between… and usually, whatever your interpretation, another reader will always see something different… as it should be with this genre.
Inside Social Suicide, some of the pieces are lovely and introspective. They show tremendous depth of sensitivity and awareness. My favorites were Inner Child: A Monologue, A Gift To Remember, and For My Grandfather. However, the bulk of the poems, although still drawing from a deep well of emotion, were either angry, extremely dark, or simply depressing. I suppose I should have anticipated that by the title, but as I said, I feel reading poetry requires relinquishing all preconceived expectations.
I see poetry as a specialized art form. As art, each piece will speak to us differently, depending on our mood, belief systems, and connectivity with the touchstones of life. I also consider that poetry is meant as a study of the human condition and the nature of the world we live in. This collection certainly offers an opportunity for all of that. I found some interesting perspective within its pages, and some of it was deeply moving. However, I felt the collection was microscopically tunnel-visioned with an emphasis on the emotional injustices of living, almost to the point of complaining. The result was an intellectual distress and an energetic drain that made reading to the end arduous.
I was also dismayed to discover so many editorial errors… homophones, odd line breaks, uneven formatting and fonts, and punctuation that seemed poorly placed. These problems distracted from what could have been a much more thought-provoking encounter. As a poet, Ms. Crandall certainly has the potential to reach readers, but with this particular collection, I felt so mired in a mechanical quicksand by the editorial mistakes, that I feel this work misses the beauty of meter and alliteration that I could have discovered inside the lines.
I truly believe Ms. Crandall to be a terrific author, her poetic interludes invite seeing the world in a way that, although uncomfortable, may give us an opening to be more appreciative of the gifts we enjoy every day. I sincerely look forward to investigating her novels.
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