One of the good things about being a reviewer is being able to return to the work of writers whose work you have enjoyed; I love getting an alert that tells me that someone I am following has released or is on the verge of releasing a new text. I snap it up straightaway. This is how I feel about Amy Ellis’ work.
The Museum of Broken Objects is a gathering of poems which deals with a core group of subjects: mainly grief, love, passion, loss. You might say that these are the stalwarts of many a poetry collection but not everyone can write about them in such a way that when you read that writer’s words, they involve you or move you in ways that other poetry collections don’t. I am not talking about high brow stuff that is difficult to decipher: Ellis’ work is very simple to understand and this is part of its charm. For example, Dust is a four line poem which, in its economy of words and phrasing, still manages to conjure an image of someone who finds herself lost, even trapped in a life that would be normal to most in its domesticity but is a restriction, maybe even destructive; and all of that in four lines.
The metaphor created by the collection’s title is one that permeates the poems. Having a museum that houses broken objects suggests that they are being kept merely to be regarded; that there is a worth to them but one that only allows limited engagement and one that is not always valued because of the fact they are in shards or repaired; that they are to be kept but not touched, perhaps not damaged enough to be totally discarded but, if kept behind glass, can be safeguarded and kept in one place. The poems deal with the way that life collides with you and how you salvage yourself from this and keep your essence preserved in the face of it.
There is depth to these poems but it is not a long collection that will take you an inordinate time to read. As stated, they are easy to read, sometimes simple and yet, they stir emotion and express sentiment despite the brevity of language because of choice imagery.
I would recommend Amy Ellis’ work and I look forward to reading more of her poems in the near future.