I don’t do poetry…
Nobody has ever accused me of having a poetic soul. Once, back in the eighties, I might have been lyrical after a party, but it could have just been the margaritas. So how am I supposed to review a book of poetry?
I do review stories. But stories are just made up of words, and so are poems. I think of poems as novels that have gone on really successful diets, and all that’s left are the strongest, most attractive bits. At least, that’s the approach I took when I sat down to review Lynn Gerrard’s Musings & Mischief The Grumblings of a Gargoyle.
But if you haven’t had a chance to read about my visit with Lynn, I urge you to start here first. At least that gargoyle will make a lot more sense.
Blurb: Musings & Mischief The Grumblings of a Gargoyle by Lynn Gerrard
Musings and Mischief is Lynn’s second book in her poetry series for Wallace Publishing. Whilst continuing to work with verse, Lynn is also busy writing her first novel.
Inspired by Lynn’s passion for cemeteries and the delightful residents thereof, this will be a tale of horror, heartache, hilarity, and hopefully a dead good read!
Lynn has also just written a play based on her experiences with the stigma associated with mental health. It is in the early stages of production, with a view to it being performed in the near future.
- Book Title: Musings & Mischief The Grumblings of a Gargoyle
- Author: Lynn Gerrard
- Genre: Poetry
Length: 122 pages
Publisher: Wallace Publishing (March 3, 2016)
- Purchase Links: Amazon
My Review: 5 out of 5 stars for Musings & Mischief The Grumblings of a Gargoyle
I don’t review poetry. I don’t write it, and (confession!) I rarely read it. But the dark, snarky, often hilarious pieces that come from Lynn Gerrard—or at least from her gargoyle avatar—are just too irresistible. So when I heard she has a new book out, I ordered a copy immediately. A paper copy. Because although I live for my beloved eReader, poetry almost demands that feel of turned pages and time for contemplation.
But…how to review? If this was a novel, I’d be talking about plot, setting, character development, and pace. And, at the end, as I considered the stories told in the poems, I realized that they had all of that.
The very first poem, Echoes From the Past, is the backstory. We look back through the years to see a child playing happily among the “smoky giggles” of factory chimneys and food made by “a flurry of floury hands“. That contrasts with today’s children, “pallid prisoners of some screen“, living in empty streets “In a world where no one trusts and no one chats“.
The next poem, The Dress, is the setting. But soon we realize that the dress is actually the narrator’s youth, its “flaunting grace” replaced all too soon by age that “Worn and tattered, leans against my frame“. Even as life prepares to discard the dress, though, the woman inside still wishes for one last glimpse of youth, “Oh ruthless life how I wish for one last time My Dress was new.”
Like all good books, this one has a rich and varied cast of supporting characters. Almost without exception, each of their stories has a final, usually hilarious, twist. For example, Ritual tells of the helpless victim forced to endure regular torture at the hands of her abuser…until you get to that final two-word twist. Lost takes you down a snarky path with a trademark surprise at the end. Parenting and Lingering Lingerie shows family heritages that twist on their last words, while in The Monster a troll’s typical behavior is explained with crystal clarity in its final word. For the Love of Ethel reveals that jealousy exists in the Afterlife too—along with the end twist nobody sees coming.
As the poet’s story goes on, we see relationships formed, children who grow and leave home, beloved family members and lovers separated and ultimately united by death and suffering. And slowly, slyly, the gargoyle’s darkness peels back to reveal flashes of joy and even hope. A young family sacrifices and loves in Dark Skies. In the poem which is my personal favorite, Life’s Ballet, the poet vows, “I shall pirouette Into my more wisely years”.
And, for poetry-fearing wimps like me, there is even dessert—three flash fiction tales that contain all the laugh out loud snarky humor and end twists of those poems.
So how many stars for Musings & Mischief? All five of course. Even if you usually approach poetry with the enthusiasm of a teenager attending remedial algebra summer camp, I think you’ll like most of these short, witty, and often extremely funny poems. And—if you’re like me—some of them you’ll love.
Contact & Buy Links:
Amazon: Darkness & Decadence
Amazon: Musings & Mischief
Wallace Publishing Author Page: Lynn Gerrard
Blog: The Grumbling Gargoyle
Blog: No Womb In The Lynn