Wednesday, January 30, 2013

On Edge by Bob MacKenzie - 2012 SWBA Special Award: Poetry

From the Sharp Writ Book Awards judges:

  • This is a captivating collection of well-written poetry. 
  • While I don't share the writer's religion, I can see he writes well and his fears are well described. 
  • This is a collection of dark poetry, best read with a hip-hop voice in your head. I channeled Brother Ali.

Review by Richard Marcus - Leap in the Dark/Blogcritics (submitted by the author)

     There are poets who use imagery, draw pictures with their words, in an attempt to express something and there are poets who use words as building blocks in order to create an overall feeling or mood. Then there are those rare individuals who manage to integrate both techniques. Images and words together form a collage of emotions and ideas on the page. Sometimes the results are a confused mess communicating nothing. In the hands of a skilled poet though, you end up with a poem with the ability to communicate with nearly everyone. In his latest collection of poetry, On Edge, Bob MacKenzie, shows his mastery of both form and content with a series of thought provoking and soul stirring poems.
     While the rays of light might not be on obvious display in each poem, MacKenzie is too gifted a poet to give into cliche or compromise his writing by offering a happy ending to appease delicate sensibilities, they are there for those willing to look for it. Each poem, with a few exceptions, is infused with love for its subject. Love which is heartbreaking in its hope and unconditional acceptance of the person under attack. Love which is the cornerstone of our unknown narrator's belief in their loved one's ability to come through the darkness and live to see the light again.
      While the poems in this book don't shy away from the dark, they're not in love with it either. Light is all around us, we just need to want to see it. These poems may break your heart on occasion, but you won't be allowed to forget there's more to the world than depression and darkness. There might not be any easy route out from the shadows, and MacKenzie doesn't pretend otherwise, but the path does exist.

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