A Season Amongst Dying Things sounds a bit gloomy as the title of a poem collection but I have to say that although the poet speculates on life, death and endings, it’s not a wholly dark collection. It is more like a gathering of the poet’s philosophical thoughts into verse form and then having these ruminations published as a book. Some may have dark undertones but not all and there is a lot of learning from experience which belies strength.
I have to say that I rather liked it.
Stacey Lauren’s poetry is very accessible. There is nothing to puzzle here in the syntax and the language used but this does nothing to detract from the depth of feeling contained in the poems. They have a realness to them, a lack of pretension which I found refreshing; for example, in the poem Giver which is quite blunt and matter-of-fact with a touch of humour; a short poem but big on message. It reminded me of Wendy Cope and her ability to succinctly say something that has a truth to it but is sort of shocking too.
Not all the poems are like this though. River uses the metaphor of water to show how the way that we go through life shapes us, eroding and transforming. This poem really resonated with me for its wisdom and insightfulness. Another poem I really liked was Hope, where the association of optimism usually attributed to this feeling is subverted and hope is seen as something that can be punishing in its failure to deliver. Despite its suggestion that hope can be negative, the poem has an underlying feeling of optimism and that the poet will not be defeated.
As a starter book for those who want to get into poetry and see what can be good about it, I would recommend this short collection and I would definitely read other poetry by Stacey Lauren.