Up in the Sky

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, poetry is tricky. It has some rules, and yet they are easily broken. It has some purpose, and yet that purpose is so subjective and fluid. While two people could read the same novel or story and have some differences of opinion on interpretation, poetry takes that to a whole new level. One poem is really like seven million different poems–a different version for each person.

But I enjoy poetry, and I particularly enjoyed Stuart Buck‘s new collection, Blue the Green Sky. It made me feel things, it made me question those feelings… it was just so interesting!

(While I’ve got you, let me quickly mention my vlog as well)

A short collection, there are only sixteen poems, and upon initially reading, I was surprised. The very first line of the very first poem is:

on my way to kill myself i met

So, my gut reaction was, “Oh, so we’re going dark, okay….” Now I’ve read heavy poetry before, but there’s different kinds of “heavy,” as I’m sure y’all are aware. I wasn’t sure where we were about to go emotionally, but I got myself ready for pain and drama and confusion…and then it took a turn.

If I had to describe the collection in three words, they would be: existential, nostalgic, and surprising.

On the note of heavy, there are a few examples, mostly of death–like the thought of suicide in the first poem, or a crow flying into a window and dying. But then there are poems that are simply heavy with pain, like the world ending by a stray comet, while saying “I love you” for the first and last time…

For me, these heavy poems conveyed that sense of existentialism. They embodied that dreadful yet exhilarating feeling you get when you wonder, “but what if?” But even while you might be feeling weighed down in reading some of these poems, there’s still an underlying sense of something akin to hope. There’s something there that while your eyes go wide, a smile tugs at the corner of your lips.

I think that might be a combination of the nostalgia and surprise. Again, there are a couple of poems that I think embody these feelings quite well. These poems are my favorite.

The first is “midnight in prague,” the whole poem gives a sense of longing for the time of Kafka and Kupka, when it was (apparently, seemingly) more creative, richer, in a way. It reminds me of the film Midnight in Paris, where someone has a romantic notion of how a city should be and look like, but is somehow unsatisfied.

The second is “quantum.” Now I’m no science expert, in fact, physics and chemistry overwhelm me, so I’ve always found it so interesting that something as (to me) convoluted as quantum mechanics can excite and inspire. I wish I could understand it, and so I must, in a sense, settle for it to be explained via story, via poetry. “quantum” finally explained that there’re are “infinite me’s/ and you’s and…/[it’s] the greatest thing that ever/ happened because if there is just one single universe in which/we are happy together…”

*Chef’s kiss* this poem just warmed my little hopeless romantic heart.

I just love the imagery of Buck’s poetry, I love how layered and complex it is. I love that it makes you question yourself and the world around you. It’s a solid read, especially for those who enjoy poetry; for those who are new to poetry, this might be a little “too complex” in the sense that it’s not some straight forward love poem collection. There’s also some swearing and the aforementioned thoughts of death, so some poems might be a little jarring, but I think definitely worth the read regardless.

That’s all I’ve got for now! Be sure to keep your eyes peeled for next week’s review on The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse by Charlie Mackesy.

Happy Reading!


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