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Review of “Psychotherapy”- an anthology of poems by Maame Blue

 

This collection of twenty-three poems really is a delight for poetry fans everywhere. It is a visceral examination of human emotions; from suicidal imaginings and the bleakness of loneliness to a celebration of singledom versus quests for relationships.

The anthology is separated into three sections: subconscious, unconscious and conscious. The reader is plunged headfirst into neurotic worlds of unrequited love, layered upon perennial inferiority complexes and raw vulnerabilities.

Maame Blue clearly has found her poetic voice, each poem seamlessly dovetailing, but like all great works of literature these poems would leap off the pages and resonate with appreciative audiences everywhere if read aloud. These poems beg to be read aloud; in the style of Patricia Agbabi, where intonation, would justify the beautiful poetic caesura, enjambment, rhythm and free verse of these remarkable poems.

There are some stand-out poems which would not be out of place alongside Carol Ann Duffy or Jackie Kay on GCSE English syllabuses. Secondary school pupils would really engage with the elegy to love in poems like, ‘Can’t Find’, or the metaphors of loneliness in ‘Fickle’. These poems could almost be the neurotic inner thoughts of an imaginary literary romance between Bridget Jones and Adrian Mole. Imagine the second guessing, the “reading-too-much-into-everything” analysis and “I’m not good enough for you,” musings of that complicated union.

The poem, ‘Delay’ is a perfect example of the poetic technique of metonymy. There is a displacement of a body on the London Underground tracks and what follows is a beautiful narrative of the semantics of suicide. It is a haunting reminder of how suicide can affect everyone around - the tube driver, the passengers, the victim and the victim’s family.

Blue eloquently describes how the word, “suicide,” is, “smothered, squeezed out, cleaned and condensed to a person on the tracks.” A public reading of this poem would be perfect accompaniment to a national awareness raising campaign of suicide.

In diametrical opposition, the poem ‘Supermarket Sweep’ is a hilarious, sign-of-the-times look at modern online dating. With hallmarks of Benjamin Zephaniah, this poem is a brilliantly observed homage to impulsive relationship decision making, symbolised through a quick dash through the aisles.

“You should never shop hungry.

 Some people are only peckish

 Looking for that short term snack to

Fill them up for the day.

I’m looking for ingredients for a meal

That’ll keep me going.” 

Playing yang to Supermarket’s yin is the poem ‘Casualty’, which reads like a personal ad for a neurotic Woody Allen. The dysfunctional desperation of this poem ends with the plea:

“I am a casualty of living, giving, hoping and

failing.

I am the failing heart still looking for love.

Can you rise above all that?”

This collection of poems is full of powerful dramatic monologues: ironic, angry chest-beating rants of the broken-hearted, the despair of the lonely and the resolute, defiant voice of singledom.

Let’s hope Maame Blue is appearing at a poetry slam session near you soon to fill a venue with her acoustic elegies, ballads and free verse.

Maame Blue's Psychotherapy is available to purchase here, in Writing Times' online shop.

Written by Liz Dickinson

 

 

1 comment (Add your own)

1. Anwara Tarafdar wrote:
Brilliant and well written review definitely peaked my interest to read these poems.

16/05/2016 @ 8:45 PM

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