The Blue Book is a collection of 60 poems by Jeremy Young exploring social mores through a variety of themes covering everything from contemporary culture to mythology. In poems such as ‘Prayer’, ‘Rhetoric’, ‘Marketing’, ‘Bleaching a Mouse’ and ‘Wot I Fink’, cynicism is cut by humour bringing the bigger picture into context, often in the last stanza, to poke fun at the absurdity of life. An example of how wit and neuroticism are blended well is shown in ‘Vivisection B’, which compares writing poetry to a medical emergency:
‘Secure the stanzas on the gurney
check the meters and complete the forms…
Several of the poems deal with the darker side of life through themes such as war and mortality. ‘The End of the Pier Show’ focuses on the cycle of life starting with the opening of ‘An orange sinking sun’, bringing to mind the end of a new day and the death it entails as crabs are caught in a bucket. The nature of war is explored in the microcosm as the crabs sever each other in a bid for freedom. Is this futility, or simply the life cycle? There is no melancholy air to the poem, since the poem tends more towards philosophical exploration rather than the loss of hope. Similarly in ‘The Lost Weekend’, the repercussions of war are juxtaposed with an idealistic need for inner peace; the poem speaks of acceptance which seems to be reaching a natural culmination in calmness, before reality deals a cruel blow – the sight of the crematorium and a turkey factory. Again, dark humour lightens the mood – for after all, when facing life changing events, does laughter not help to retain sanity?
Overall, this collection successfully delves into serious issues with emotional depth and truth, while still maintaining a lighter outlook. The Blue Book will not leave you feeling blue, but rather uplifted to know that there are those who won’t shy away from the hypocrisy of life, but will take it on, tongue-in-cheek. Available as an ebook through Amazon UK and Amazon US.
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