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Chris Blocker

Literary snobbery and other thoughts by Chris Blocker

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Visible Empire
Hannah Pittard
The Deptford Trilogy
Robertson Davies
Life on Mars
Jennifer Brown
The Family Under the Bridge
Natalie Savage Carlson

Sympathetic Magic

Sympathetic Magic - Amy Fleury

Good poetry does one of three things for me. First, it basks the mundane in the brightest of lights. Suddenly I can see all those things I'd never noticed before: the crevices of a freshly made sheet atop a bed, the creases within an outstretched hand, the hopelessness in a can of baked beans. Second, it tells a story. In a mere thirty or forty lines, the rhythm gives way to a tale some prose writers take 100,000 words to tell. Lastly, it moves me. A good poem has the power to reach my soul and make me weep (or occasionally smile). If a poem succeeds in regards to only one of these areas, I consider it a success.


Amy Fleury's collection Sympathetic Magic is certainly strong in two, if not all three, of these areas. First of all, the language is phenomenal. I'd say this is Fleury's greatest poetic skill. She can reshape those everyday events and make them so beautiful. She can dissect a dead and forgotten object and breathe new life into it. I love the sound of these poems, as well as the colors they paint. As far as story, there are several poems in this collection that not only told a complete story, but a captivating one. I was pulled into these tales. Now, in regards to a poem that moves me, there is certainly considerable heart on display in Sympathetic Magic. I could see it, but unfortunately it never quite struck my emotional chords. The issue was no fault of the authors, but rather a disconnect between myself and the subject; those poems which were truly the most heartfelt regarded the physical and mental deterioration of a parent. I saw the heart beating deep in these poems, but I couldn't personally find the pulse. There's probably a reason for this, but I'll leave this for my psychologist to chew over.


This is a great collection. If you love poetry or just the beauty of words, I highly recommend it.