There is a new trend in poetry that I am reading as a reviewer, to use illustrations to augment the work and I have to say that Court Young has created a book, which is beautifully presented in this way. The line drawings add an element of serenity to her work, a work which is a personal sorting through of emotions generated by a difficult period in the poet’s life. From the poems, the drawings and the small prose-like excerpts that form this book, you get a real sense that she was lost, struggling to find herself in relationships that had power but not necessarily empowerment for her.
In the simplicity of the drawings and the brevity of the verse, there is very much a sense of things being laid bare and that is what I will take away the most from reading these poems: the honesty. However, there is also a lot of hard earned wisdom expressed here and for anyone who has been in troubled relationships who has felt themselves floundering, or having lost themself somewhere along the way in their expectations of what that person could or should provide for them, or feeling like they are something to this person other than their true self, then this collection will provide validity to those feelings.
Whatever Young’s motivation for writing this book, whether catharsis for herself or help for others, there were moments that moved me throughout. It is difficult for me to reference individual poems as the book is in sections with poems within based on where the poet lived at the time the relationships took place but some of my favourites to mention are Nights in Seattle : “I wish/you would/love me/the way you do/when you’re/ drunk.”, so simple, a heartfelt appeal which summarises a relationship with a poignancy which saddens and pricks. Also, Becoming in Ballston, the poem with the autumnal feel, which hints at a shedding of bad emotions, like clusters of leaves. Finally, and the one that suggests the bruising and scarring that love can cause which is not seen which begins “The scars…”
There are lots of poems like this throughout the collection that seem basic, but their shortness, for me, takes nothing away from the sentiment that is being shared. They made me feel and that is what any poetry of worth should do.
The poet approached me directly to read her collection as an ARC but this is a true and unbiased review of her book.