Posted in 2019, First Read, matt nagin, Poetry, Review Copy

Feast of Sapphires by @MNagin

The follow up to “Butterflies Lost within the Crooked Moonlight,” which Kirkus Review deemed “powerful verse from a writer of real talent,” “Feast of Sapphires,” has already been called “poetry of the highest quality” by Matt McAvoy. Jim Bennett, meanwhile, insists it is “highly recommended” and granted it four stars. One poem from the manuscript, “If We Are Doomed,” won the 2018 Spirit First Poetry Contest Editor’s Choice Award, out of thousands of submissions, and will be anthologized in a new book titled “Spirit First: 10 Years of Meditation and Mindfulness Poems.” Thirteen other poems were previously published in such journals as Oxford Magazine, The Wire’s Dream, and New Plains Review.

“Feast of Sapphires,” is a compendium of a wide variety of poems, covering topics both timely and universal. There are poems of psychic revolution (for those ready to put down the Kool-Aid), poems about pretence and gun control, poems about MRI’s, gambling, and mystical storms of all varieties; then, too, on a deeper level, more than a few of these poems are about the desire to surmount the collective facade in search of a kind of truth that cannot be hyperlinked. Located from Costa Rica to the LIRR, this metaphysical cartography of anticipation and despair is perfect for those seeking answers in the bottom of the tea, in the resonance of a thunder storm, or, even, in the ethereal high of a linguistic flight of fancy. From comedic monologues to existential reflections, from angry rants to countercultural analysis, from wily narratives to verbal pyrotechnics, this is a book that strives, in new ways, to be illuminating.


[I go out / and collect / the light / like a tiger / on the precipice HUNTER AMONG SHADOWS]


[Burning Flower Press, 1 July 2019, 136 pages, ebook, copy from the poet and voluntarily reviewed) 




Judging by the glowing reviews on Goodreads I’m in the minority here, but never mind, people have different tastes. Just because other reviews rave about this collection doesn’t mean I’m obliged to. Unfortunately, this really didn’t work for me on almost every level. The poems just weren’t to my tastes. I’m sorry to say but I found the poems quite pretentious at times, not in a good way. For example: swirling / mephitic sun / penumbra over angel’s jilted wings / toddler in the flophouse / curmudgeonly rhinos / prey eating itself for breakfast. WTF does that even mean? Speak English, dude. Some of the poems start off okay but far too many descend into long-winded, over-written nonsense. One of the joys of reading poetry is feeling connected to what the poet is trying to say. When this is done really well it feels like the poet is speaking directly to you. I felt no connection to any of the poems in Feast of Sapphires. I felt cold and detached from every word due to the language used. Sorry, but this left me cold.


I live in Glasgow in the UK with my partner. I work in the Financial Services. I like reading especially Joyce Carol Oates and Stephen King. I write fiction and poetry. I enjoy watching TV (Grimm, Torchwood, Doctor Who, Lip Service, The L Word etc). I like to play video games and am a fan of survival horror especially the Silent Hill franchise. I like to watch movies especially horror and anything where someone dies.

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