All She Wrote
Charmaine L. Glass
Enaz Soul, 2016
Love poetry is likely everyone’s first contact with the genre. If not, then it is most definitely the subject of one’s first poems. That love you first write about as a teen or as an adult or in your later years could be romantic or platonic. It doesn’t matter the focus of the love (partner, family, pet, nature, or god), what matters is the expression of the affection. Poetry is especially well suited for this given its nature tendency towards subjectivity and ambiguity. So when we read love poetry, we must make room in our heart and mind for melodrama, earnestness, and strangeness, not just delight.
For many of us, reading poetry is akin to someone explaining a dream they had in detail. Yet doing so reveals more about the reader than what’s being read. Glass gives us a large collection (over 180 pages), and while not necessarily literary, her poetry has a confident voice and clear perspective.
It would be lazy to dismiss it as sentimental or merely ‘bad love poetry.’ Adrian Blevins gave us a relatively simple formula, “Bad love poetry is bad because it is trite. Triteness is bad because it’s untrue, and untrueness is bad because it is a waste of time and energy and, somehow, unjust.” If we go by this formula, then Glass’s poetry escapes the criticism of bad love poetry. Each poem may not inspire, but it would be disingenuous to read Glass as unjust. The poetry of All She Wrote is bold, authentic in its earnestness, and possessing a musicality allowing them to linger in your mind long after reading.
Glass writes a wonderful kind of ‘sick of your shit’ poetry at once direct at partners and the poem’s persona. This kind of confessional poetry is that of a personal journal or diary made public. The persona or speaker that inhabits Glass’s poetry is aggressive, lamenting, assertive, and bravely looking to grow. It’s one thing to write poetry of complaint or yearning, it is quite another to write something cathartic and challenging.
In All She Wrote, Charmaine Glass gives us a lot to digest. It’s best to read her poetry in snippets, but it will most certainly find a home with inspirational readers. She composes these lyrics to be consumed quickly and felt deeply. For a debut, Glass’s book is ambitious and promising.
Charmaine L. Glass has a lifelong love for the written word. In addition to her writing craft, she has enriched the lives of others through work and academics. All She Wrote is her first published book.
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