Today will be slightly different from anything I have posted before as I will be talking about a collection of poetry called ‘The Abandoned Settlesments’ by James Sheard.
This third collection by James Sheard really captures the scenes he is picturing and small glimpses into the emotional state of the poet when writing.
The voice, in quite a few of the poems in this collection addresses a women who, is clearly, very dear to the poet. Some of these poems speak directly to her, as if he has just stopped writing, written a small text message to her, and then continued with the collection. I think these are beautiful and cleaver little glimpses into the life of the poet and compliment some of the longer poems that are more grounded in the places they are set.
One of my favourite poems in this collection is called ‘Scent’. It is a beautifully short piece that really grasps the scene he is portraying. Quite romantic in the setting at the start, it moves into a more sudden ending with this romantic scene slipping away from the voice of the poem. I feel that ‘Scent’ is one of those pieces that really speaks to me; with the way the poet simply describes the place, not with items but with the movement of people. I think this is a very clever way of telling the story of a place without ever stating what the place is as the body language of these ‘ghosts’ tell the whole story.
The whole collection seems to move in and out of these ‘moments’ very quickly. As if we, as readers, are gliding through a corridor with different doors leading to different lives that can only be opened for very small moments.
Many of the poems seem to link and flow from one to another especially ‘Note For You’ and ‘The Suit’.
Sometimes though, I feel as if I want to linger longer in the scenes described. The shorter poems we are given are beautiful snippets of interesting ideas and places while, the longer pieces are detailed and sometimes to eloquent and cumbersome to fully capture the emotions surrounding the scenes.
I think this is my favourite collections by James Shears (and that’s saying something because the others are fantastic to!). It is very cleaver in the way some of the ideas in the poem are captured and I highly recommend you give this collection a read!
Are there any new collections of poetry you are interested in?