Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Book Review: The Ocean and Other Poems by Claire Fitzpatrick

Poetry is not an easy beast to tame; it takes effort and time, and it does take a lot out of you if your abandon yourself in its vices. Claire Fitzpatrick has written a collection of poems that at times seem to be bleeding, and which at other times almost silently bathe in the sweet smelling waters of love. In these pages you’ll come face to face with a lot of emotion, with torrents of humanity and human frailty. Fitzpatrick doesn’t hide behind her words; she seems to wants to express herself in a raw manner, with words that convey their meaning in a straightforward and non-cryptic way.

“If I wipe my brain against sandpaper
And find the true artist in my soul
Will you see me as I am?
A dreamer, idolatrous, alone.”

she wonders somewhere, while someplace else she feels bitter about a precious yet painful gift she receives:

“…And yet you give me your heart:
A fortress encased with envy and hatred
And it burns me
Until my skin begins to peel away.”

This is a world of love and of hatred, of joy and of pain, that we live in, and the poet’s job is to talk all about that, to give voice to our feelings, to sooth our anger, but also to make us rebel against the injustices that we have to go through during our time here.

There’s always been an ongoing discussion on what makes poetry great, and on what makes someone a great poet. Some people say that it’s the technical part that’s more important, while others insist on the significance of the voice. However, apart from the great lyrical epics, not only of the western but also of the eastern world, it is mostly the shorter poems that talk about how people think and feel that win the day. Byron talked about a woman “Who walked in beauty”, Emily Dickinson found that beauty in the things and the people around her and so did Christina Rossetti. Even Poe, despite all the darkness that surrounded his being, talked about the struggles of the human soul and his love that was not destined to live for long. What is it that I’m trying to say? Simply that the beauty of this collection lies in its lyrics, in its soul…

“I have not felt your heart
For so long now
That I feel as though it's stopped beating
For me  
When I am near.”

How many of us have we felt that way over the years? I guess, most. How many of us did we put our thoughts, our feelings, onto paper? Not many.

While reading this collection I felt as if the poet was speaking directly to my psyche, and in more than one instances I caught myself thinking: “Yes! That’s it…”

Claire Fitzpatrick is a young poet, and as such she still has a long way to go, but if I were to judge by the poems at hand I’d say that her future looks promising and bright.

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