Confetti: A Collection of Poems by Zuzanna Szostak

Reading poetry is a deeply personal thing and therefore, that must come out in any review. And I found that this relatively short collection of poems really touched me with the simplicity of the style, the remembrances of childhood and a paternal relationship, the naturalness of the imagery and also, the self-scrutiny caused by the unrest of an anxious mind.

When I learned that Zuzanna Szostak is also known as Untranquilpoet, I presumed that I would be reading in Confetti a tortured amalgamation of verse which would unsettle and unnerve and have me soul-searching for life’s meaning, having been thrown into a state of uncertainty or a less than tranquil state. But that was not the case.

In fact, the reverse is true. I left the reading of these poems feeling quite refreshed and calm in the main, the images that Szostak creates resonating with me, transporting me to places and remembrances of my childhood that were vague recollections made clearer. For instance, the image in the opening poem Tranquility of the girl chasing the “damn insect” is something I know I’ve done, I’ve seen other children do and has a universality to it that you can’t help but feel it as true.

Szostak uses simple images and sensory remembrances to make her verse vivid; for instance, Spring Evening talks of “bright rapeseed fields” and “smell of cows” which immediately transports you without swamping you with a density of language.

It is not all brightness and warmth and the hazy dreamscape of memory though, as Szostak also writes of anxiety and disturbed nights in the poems Dear Mr. Anxiety and Pinched respectively which I thought were particularly powerful, the personification in Dear Mr. Anxiety likening the onslaught of panic like being stalked by a predator intent on harm. Very strong stuff and an excellent poem.

In addition, there are some poems containing philosophical musings and those about relationships, all of which add to a sense of the poet emotionally wrestling with life’s ups and downs, taking comfort in simple things like easy friendships and quiet moments when she can and these are things that you come to expect from a poetry collection.

I loved Confetti: I loved its simplicity, its honesty, its trueness. I like the feeling that it gives me when I remember reading it and that, for me, is what poetry should do.

This review was first published on Reedsy Discovery where I was privileged to read it as an ARC.

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