I wouldn’t normally request a book of poetry, but the descriptions of it (“a concept album in musical words” and “an experiment” and even “possibly a mistake”) had me thinking that this was going to be poetry of a sort not found in the typical chapbooks. I thought that this would be a book of poetry that was unusual and deep and something that one could really sink their teeth in to.
I was wrong.
This is a completely average collection of poetry that, strung together, tell a bit of a story of a young man’s struggles.
In author Harambee Grey-Sun’s introduction he writes:
Rejecting the “rules” of what contemporary poetry should be, Spring’s Fall is unapologetically unfashionable, written in the spirit of the complex-but-imperfect music many of us hear and sing to our insecure selves in adolescence.*
And truth be told, this sounds exciting. Rejecting ‘rules’ of contemporary poetry? I’m all for it. But the poetry within is not only average in content, but pretty darned ‘contemporary,’ even following ‘rules’ of rhyme scheme. Take, for instance:
The crowd stills, freezes;
For one moment, I’m all alone
in blood-flooding lights
–no laughter, no bodies
but that of Felicity’s
at my feet. My sword,
I drop. I follow
on my knees.
Here come the sobs,
here comes the breeze…
the only weather to show
what I dare not say
but what my diseased heart knows.*
The only ‘music’ I hear is an imperfect rhyme scheme and some alliteration.
We can tell, from the author’s passion in his introduction, and the depths of emotion that he tries to create in the poetry, that this story is meaningful and deep to him, but it does not come across to the reader. Instead, this appears to be just another YA story, full of drama and pathos, told in verse.
Grey-Sun might do well to market this to the Young Adult reader who enjoys sharing in the deep emotional current that Spring’s Fall wades in to. It’s not nearly as deep and remarkable and unusual as he thinks it to be. This may be an indication that the author is out of touch with the market and the target audience. The last line of his introduction:
A poem very much out of its place and time, Spring’s Fall is not an easy read, but it’s not nearly as challenging as growing up.*
shows that he is out of touch with his own work. The poem is hardly out of its place and time, but I would agree that the book is not an easy read, though not for the same reasons that he believes. And the fact that growing up is challenging is also something we’ll agree on, but not something that he is the first to discover or write about.
(* Quotes are from an Advance Reading Copy and may not reflect what is printed in the published version.)
Looking for a good book? This is not it.
* * * * * *
author: Harambee Grey-Sun
publisher: Hyperverse Books
paperback, 188 pages