Book Reviews,  Others

#Review: Exits by Stephen C. Pollock

Poet: Stephen C. Pollock
Publisher: Self-published
Rating: 4/5

‘Exits’ explores the theme of mortality and the transient nature of human existence. It acknowledges that death is an inescapable part of life and highlights how this awareness shapes our perspectives on life and its meaning. The poems in the book touch on various aspects of mortality, including disease, decline, death, and remembrance, while drawing imagery and metaphors from nature. Each poem is accompanied by artwork, enhancing the reader’s experience.

What I really liked about this collection is the choice of title, both main and of the poems, that resonates with the ideas and motifs touched upon in the book. These poems delve into a diverse range of themes and emotions, inviting readers to contemplate the profound aspects of human existence. Each piece engages with its subject matter through vivid imagery, introspection, and thought-provoking questions, providing a rich tapestry of reflections on life, ageing, relationships, and mortality.

For instance, in “Leaves,” the poet paints a vivid portrait of a ninety-one-year-old woman who gracefully finds solace and purpose in the arrangement of her possessions and the captivating world of sumo wrestling. This elderly woman is depicted as a venerable priestess of tea, faithfully upholding the fading traditions of this art form. The poem alludes to her nostalgic disposition, as she juxtaposes her current state with the memories of her youthful bloom, reminiscent of a peach and green kimono. Through this juxtaposition, the poem explores themes of beauty, transience, and the enduring significance of personal rituals.

“Locomotion” delves into the profound reflections that arise when considering the potential danger and finality of a train accident. The poet contemplates the symbolic nature of railroad tracks, perceiving them as enduring structures that connect distant places while serving as a reminder of the fragility of life. This introspective piece urges readers to ponder the unpredictable nature of existence and to appreciate the resilience and permanence found within the metaphorical tracks that guide our journeys.

“NARCISSUS” delves into the intricacies of mirroring and duality within a relationship. The poem highlights the profound balance and excitement that arises when two individuals are perfectly synchronized. However, it also delves into the limitations of this mirrored image, revealing the cracks and distortions that hinder a genuine understanding of oneself and one’s partner. This piece encourages contemplation of the complexities and illusions present within intimate connections, emphasizing the need for deeper self-reflection and communication to achieve true understanding.

And these are just some examples. With a varied approach and a keen eye for sometimes obvious, yet often ignored aspects that make up our life, the pieces contemplate our very existence and pose questions that are not only relevant but also quite impossible to answer. That’s not all. Some titles go so astray from the conventions of poetry that one might be helpless in identifying the purpose. For instance, “Nasal Biopsy” evokes imagery of gothic architecture and religious rituals to explore profound themes of mortality, faith, and divine judgment. The poem revolves around the discovery of a nasal mass, prompting existential questions about life’s brevity and the uncertainties that lie beyond. By employing rich symbolism and sombre imagery, the poet raises thought-provoking inquiries about the fairness and meaning of divine judgment in the face of mortality. This introspective piece invites readers to reflect on their own mortality and the role of faith in navigating life’s uncertainties. But that’s what I could decipher.

Overall, these poems provide the much-needed window of expanding our perspective and looking at the theme of death differently. There are some likeable elements of foreshadowing that build dramatic tension throughout the poetries. The book offers a unique fusion of poetry and art that invites readers to ponder their mortality and engage with the profound questions of life’s meaning.

Best wishes to the poet!

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