Review: The Hour Wasp by Jay Sheets (illustrated by Robyn Leigh Lear)

Initial reaction: This was a collection of poetry that left much to be desired for content, but the artwork and some turns of the imagery were actually rather cool to see. Unfortunately, it wasn’t one of my favorite poetry collections.

Full review:

Quick review for a quick read. This is the first full review of a poetry book that I’ve done in a while, and it’s a shame that I don’t get to read that many poetry collections often because poetry is my first love. When I saw this rather interesting looking collection (seriously, look at that cover – it’s eye-catching O___O) on NetGalley, I thought I’d pick it up and give it a shot. I’m fond of dark poetry with a lyrical slant and illusionary references – so I figured from the opening note – which I’m presuming is from the author – I’d get something along those lines.

Instead, this collection is a haphazard presentation that never really came together well, despite themes blending nature with the psyche/psychological rooting, and the transition in life to ideals of decay, the passage of time, among other notations in that vein. I was disappointed by many of the actual poems themselves in this narrative because they were either truncated far too soon to communicate the links between ideals or overwrought with the diction so that the ideal was lost in translation. There were a few that I can honestly say that I liked for inclusion, such as “[i pour the edge of my earth from an empty cup]”, “[i drop a rosary of seeds]” and “[my fingers damp in a ruined dream]”. The imagery in this collection had – at times – some strong notations, such as in this excerpt from the latter mentioned poem:

my fingers damp in a ruined dream
hold tiny mirrors to her ashen face
eyes caught like two scant fish
cast back by tears that failed to see
themselves before the sad her fingers
exhume vellum word-coffins
from pockets no hands should find:
starless reveries of a prophet’s dusk
confessions of crimson blue asters
on bones painted bones

Yet on the whole, I honestly had a difficult time connecting with the narrative to the fullest extent of its intentions. The artwork in this collection is actually very well done and a beautiful inclusion to pair alongside the various poems. I honestly think the artwork gave the narrative more weight, but unfortunately it wasn’t enough to make it a memorable experience for me compared to other poetry collections I’ve perused.

Overall score: 2/5 stars.

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher IBPA.

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