The review is part of the Absolute Write book blog chain. The preceding post in the chain is: Soon I Will Be Invincible by Raven Corinn Carluk, and next blog in the chain appears at: She Thinks Too Much.
Title: Fictional: Lurker in the Dark and Others
Author: Colin Fiat
Price: Free download, $12.79
Point of Sale: Lulu
Reviewed By: veinglory
I approached this collection with no great expectations, especially after the introduction describes the book as a learning exercise with a focus on structure.
But I was electrified by the first poem; I was actually quite excited. "Bad Night Out At A Pizza Joint" is one of the few examples I have ever read of a gritty urban poem that successfully combines a modern aesthetic with a formal structure, including a rhyme scheme. This snapshot of characters passing during a night out in town ends: "I want some more drink even though I am shaking / And hear the soft clink of a car window breaking / Somewhere in the dark, is a business man shouting / But empty car parks have no witness to help him."
If the collection had been ruthlessly trimmed down to a published collection of the very best works I imagine I could give it an 8 or 9 out of ten. However, in my opinion, in the great majority of poems simplistic structure trumps content leading to a Dr Seuss effect. This can be fairly successful in slight, humorous poems like "Thingamabob" ("I went to speak with whatshisname / About my new doohickey / And how the silly gizmo came / Without that paper thingy"). But more often the effect is that grammar seems tortured or unsubtle words chosen simply to meet the demands of the rhyme.
I could only rate the complete ungainly collection of disparate poems in the range of 6/10. However I would encourage anyone interested in modern structured poetry to take advantage of the free ebook version, and to pay special attention to the first section, dubbed the "Lurker in the Dark" poems. I can foresee purchasing a paper copy of this sequence if it was provided with an appropriate cover and given perhaps just a little more polishing to smooth the meter in some places and achieve a more perfect balance between format and subject.