Thank you, NetGalley and Guernica Editions, for the chance to read and review the ARC for Love Is A Place But You Cannot Live There by Jade Wallace.
This 104-page long book actually had quite a few poems I enjoyed. However, as a whole, I’m leaving this debut poetry collection 3.5 stars out of 5 (rounded up to 4 where that isn’t an option).
The poems in this collection feel like a series of vignettes centered on travel, ghosts, and love. There are some beautiful moments and beautifully done stories, and I’ve picked out quite a few poems I like and will be returning to in the future.
My concern for this book is that it could have been better edited to make it more consistent. Certain poems, like Rue, end on a cheesy note with the italicized lines;
“No, you said. What’s cruel is making people live in a graveyard.”
There is a market for poems like that; there are a million writers who write like that (it’s getting boring), and it doesn’t always overlap with other poems like The Lost Rooms or Shutter, which are terrific pieces. The authors’ poems on infidelity were also really intense; I could picture the stories described in those poems (Rituals of Parsing will live in my head rent-free), but between the ones at the start being slightly dull and the slightly cheesy bits, they’re lost.
The writer has a lot of potential! Overall, the collection was cohesive because you could feel that some thought had gone into how the poems were organized. However, as they grow as a writer, I think each poem will just be better in quality and we’ll see all of their style come through!
Love Is A Place But You Cannot Live There comes out on the 1st of April 2023.
Blurb for Love Is A Place But You Cannot Live There
Each section of Love Is A Place But You Cannot Live There is a psychogeographic investigation. Two casual ghost hunters on a road trip hear the death rattle of their relationship. Residents of a city’s fringe measure their physical and social isolation. A mother and her adult child have diametrically opposed reactions to their vacation spot. Lovers on a romantic coastal getaway discover how estranged they are from one another. Curious figures begin to embody their environments. Forthright and anecdotal, these poems recount the signals people transmit and receive, and the reciprocal ways we make, and are made by, the places we inhabit.
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