*I received a free ARC of this book, with thanks to the author and NetGalley. The decision to review and my opinions are my own.*
Blurb: The Voice of My Mind, by author T. A. Fish, is an avant-garde poetry collection that took over 5 years to complete. Each poem is beautifully crafted with great virtuosity, that haunts with extreme depth and wonder. The collection deals with themes of grief, love, spiritual enlightenment, and philosophy. From beginning to end, the poems read in a mesmerizing and captivating style that expertly flow from one theme to the next.
I would hesitate to describe the content of this collection of poetry as ‘avant-garde’, as listed in the blurb. Instead I would say that it was heavily reliant on traditional forms, such as prayers, psalms or greeting card verses.
There is a strong Christian theme to many of the poems in the collection, following generic themes of God, Christ and faith, rather than specific exploration of the author’s relationship with his beliefs. In fact, the lack of concrete and specific details is a stylistic omission that runs throughout the collection; leaving the emotions and ideas vague and lacking in depth.
The author’s choice of irregular patterns of rhythm and rhyme for many of the poems – writing in free verse style – could be considered avant-garde, but there is a heavy reliance on clichés, rhetorical questions and non sequiturs that weights the overall impression back towards the old from the new. Those poems that do follow more traditional rhyming schemes seem to sacrifice the meaning of the words in order to force the rhymes.
I feel that the main benefit of this text is that a number of the poems make nice standard prayers that can be used for personal or public worship purposes. However, aside from the religious aspect, I look to poetry to touch my heart and/or move me to strong emotions, which unfortunately this collection fails to do.
WHAT DO YOU DREAM
Your eyes close?
What do you know
Of the world
From the crow?
What can you see
But the world
How do you live
What is in-front?
Was your life,
But the sigh
Of a grunt?
Where is thy voice,
But lost in the hunt?
– T. A. Fish, ‘Cryptic’ in The Voice of my Mind
The Voice of my Mind is available on Amazon here.