The Hour Wasp will be published on May 28, 2017 and is currently available for pre-order on Amazon.
This poetry collection is written by Jay Sheets and illustrated by Robyn Leigh Lear. This is Sheets’s debut collection, and it’s published by April Gloaming Publishing.
Lance Umenhofer, Author of And the Soft Wind Blows, writes in the introduction to this collection that Jay Sheets is setting out to create a
“guidebook for those times in the dark, for those times the great world might decide to leave us behind, to drop us off in the void and carry on ahead without us, those times in which we are dead weight”
This collection reads like the description of a dream in free verse. It’s almost as if someone tried to make poetry out of a surrealist painting. The natural realm is ever-present and there are references to scenes from nature though some appear as a vision like “a caterpillar in the centre of a heart-shaped bone.” There are references to oracles, fishbones, poetic enlightenment like in Cædmon’s hymn, jinn maps, henna-wrapped hands, and natural phenomenons. I couldn’t help but be reminded of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Ovid’s Metamorphosis, or the Finnish Kalevala, but with the writing style of someone like e.e. cummings. Reading this collection was akin to what I’ve always imagined a shaman’s vision looks like or the birth of a myth. There is also a constant reference to ‘her’ as if he’s talking about a specific woman or enigma.
The book is divided in three sections
- [o the dark places we will go] – where Sheets sets the atmosphere to his collection by his use of imagery. Here are a few of my favourite lines from this section:
“my fingers damp in a ruined dream hold tiny mirrors to her ashen face”
“…her fingers exhume vellum word-coffins”
“to the places you bottled your herbs &
preserved your rosewater tinctures tubed
chemical potions… magnetic precipitations
now spiderwebbed in the cabinet & like
worldly things [lace & pewter] idle elements
calcify : coral floats…”
- The Second part of this poem is the most dominant, it’s called [blue haunts black]
My reading of this section was that in the same atmosphere of part one, we as readers enter the night realm, and it is here where the dream-like description I mentioned above is most prominent.
- The Third section is called [the sky is white] which resembles morning, an aubade, and awakening. A rebirth.
“i hugged myself as a child & told
Myself that everything was perfect in the petrichor
The smell of pure innocence & earth & earthly
Innocence that stays in the clothes i only wear
on good days…”
In addition to such beautiful poetry the reader is also accompanied by the illustrations of Robyn Leigh Lear which set the mood even more-so.
I enjoyed this collection and I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys poetry and is interested in discovering new voices.