Book Review: Gothic Epistle Romantica

cover for Gothic Epistle Romantica

Gothic Epistle Romantica: Poetry Inspired By Undying Love by Vaz Anzai

While reading this book, I thought of Edgar Allan Poe’s poems about a departed lover, as well as the myth of Orpheus, who traveled to the Underworld to bring back his departed wife, Eurydice.

This is not to say that Vaz Anzai’s book is a copy of Poe’s poems. Nope. Anzai weaves a distinctive song of his own. The characters in these poems reach out for each other, beyond death, in a longing to reconnect and have what they once had. They are gifted with a time to “relive some of our most precious memories together.” Amid the ache of loss, the lovers have a moment of celebration, champagne and rapture.

Dark beauty fills the poems of this book, a sad beauty of the ache after a loved one is gone. Broken hearts and broken souls. Creativity can pour out from joy, but also from pain. This poetry is evidence of that. The lines charged with the love that desires to keep loving. And striking imagery, too. My favorite was the “room of heavy rain,” a scenario rich with detail and emotion. The same can be said of these poems, heavy with longing.

Coping

In this blurry busy world
she has candles
to help her cope
books to enter other worlds
characters become friends
she prays for them
to overcome struggles
when they do,
hope flickers
that she can do the same

Alien Landscape

i open the door
to an alien landscape
this used to be my house
but everything familiar
is gone
not just a different sofa,
a different staircase
a man and woman
enter from the kitchen
he asks, “who are you?”
i ask the same of them
and we can only stare
at each other

Poetess

They called you
hysterical
a witch
a heathen

They desired to
burn
drown
destroy you

Thankfully you escaped
So you can spell more

They’re scared of
your power with words
an enchanting poetess
who cracks
our homemade defenses
to confront
emotions underneath

Violate

they storm the Capitol to violate
an honorable building they desecrate
terror is what they demonstrate
I fear this will continue to escalate

when will we grow toward
compassion and empathy
instead of hate?

Book Review: Bloodhound

Cover of Bloodhound book

Bloodhound: A Poetry Collection by Marie Casey

This is grab-you-hard-by-the-shoulders poetry. The title and cover illustration promise dark poetry, and the book delivers. The visceral language and setting it in second person (directed at “you”) makes for an intense reading.

The six chapters track a journey from a connection (“finding vitality in each other” as told in one poem) to struggles to coming out of the other side. Throughout, the poems are full of vivid imagery describing the rawness of emotion and endurance. The lines of these poems open up to expose deep feelings. Blood of passion and vitality: wondrous when it charges through our veins, a dark wonder when it flows out of us, then we’re hollowed out when it has been drained.

I’m typically not a reader of dark poetry, so this collection was out of my “box” — and I’m glad I stepped out of it. Reading the book felt like getting a sense of Marie Casey’s courage to craft these intense poems. As one poem sates, “allow me/ to continue writing/ my own tale.” The last chapter, which is titled “Exorcism,” describes that experience — but writing these poems could’ve been an exorcism, too.

Color Visit

Colors mesh and shimmer,
as if the Aurora Borealis
reduced to ten yards across
and now hovers above
the grass of my yard.
My brain wants to deny—
such things can’t exist, right?—
but my eyes witness it,
my finger touches it,
and the colors shift.

Minimalist Posters

I’m a big fan of minimalist design. To distill something down to the essence is akin to creating a logo and writing poetry, and it’s impressive when done well. This is true with minimalist posters —for examples check out brainpicking.org’s article with ones of classic children’s literature and a Tumblr showcasing minimalist posters of movies.

But what if the minimal goes too far? What if the concept being represented becomes too abstract? The design could become so hard to figure out that the poster needs an explanation to accompany it; otherwise, the viewer is left scratching his/her head and thinking, “Huh?” Some examples might be these…

Minimalist poster of Thor smiting his enemies

Minimalist poster of the dangerous seduction of vampires

Minimalist poster of regrowth of trees after forest fire

Minimalist poster of a circle at a party jealous of another circle

Minimalist poster of being given all your dreams

Minimalist poster of the four seasons

For the last one, I didn’t add a title because liked the abstractness without text. The circles depict the four seasons.