A prolific collection of poetry by a hugely creative author. These poems, although short, are very bittersweet, and they yell “quality”, from beginning to end. I do enjoy reviewing poetry from time to time, and it is fair to say that this collection is of my favourites to date – I liked it a lot.
There is an underlying theme – not in terms of the subject matter, but in general overall mood and context: there is anger, cynicism and despair in this work. Be prepared, the writing is moody and dark – to be read at night by candlelight. Often with poetry, you feel it is an experiment, or a little bit of fun for the author, but not in this case - Nagin feels his work, writing it with gritted teeth, through a pen as sharp as a razor, and his cynicism is smart and infectious. Covering a diversity of observations, such as love, suicide, injustice, genocide, pop culture, traitorous religion, the environment… all different in tone, some laugh-out-loud funny, every one seems like a self-contained cry out for “sense” from the world, which wouldn’t appear out of place in the Tate Modern (contemporary art museum in London). Matt seems to have been in a dark place for much of this book’s creation, and there is an underlying sense of doom, which seems to grow in intensity as the book goes on, whether from personal or global destruction. You share his desperation, and pity it (as a fellow writer, it is difficult not to share the feeling of injustice at the “Poet Laureate” – the completely plausible message being: Matt cares, she doesn’t).
As well as meaning every word, this author is clearly a very talented wordsmith; these are not just verse - they are stories, questions, lessons and vitriol, loaded with enigmatic metaphors which are still easy to get. Almost every poem in this collection ends on a sublime punchline, which makes you nod knowingly, with a wink and a smile; even the tiniest – “L.S.D.” at just 15 words, brings a playful grin to the reader’s face. There are some real gems here (hence the title, I guess).
I am disappointed at the condition of the book’s formatting. Still, if well-presented, this will be poetry of the highest quality, written by a very good author, and I certainly hope to read more from Matt.
In : Book Reviews
Tags: matt-nagin poetry