Literature Reviews

Poetry Review: Unspoken Words

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Rating: ★★★☆☆

Title: Unspoken Words

Author: Matt Banks

Editor: Sylvia Banks

Genre: Poetry

Publication Date: 8 Jun. 2017

Publisher: Amazon Createspace Independent Publishing Platform

Where to buy: Unspoken Words

Summary: “This book is filled with non-traditional poetry. The type of poetry that you can understand and feel. I cover topics such as love, life, death, inner peace, politics, and social injustice.”

Trigger Warnings: death, abuse, mention of rape, blood imagery, violence, depression, anxiety, addiction, drug abuse imagery.

Variety of themes

Matt Banks’ debut poetry collection addresses a multitude of social and existential issues. The title suits the collection well as Banks’ speaks from a place of truth that the reader can completely identify with:

Unspoken words

Are often our most dangerous weapon.

We bite our tongues to keep them in

Because their power is unimaginable.

(Unspoken Words, p.31)

Titles are extremely important. Unspoken Words speaks truths on the page as well as in the minds of his readers. In fact, they aren’t “unspoken” at all; they are very much heard by the reader. Moreover, the significance of the title is ironic as Banks does not hold back in his truths and expression and certainly reminds the reader not to hold back either.

In a similar light, I think Banks’ poems could also be spoken word as his collection is topical and an expression of the times which I believe a lot of people will identify with.

A couple of issues… 

A few of the poems did not sit right with me, even after re-reading them several times. I do not doubt that Banks’ aim was well-intentioned, however, some of the poems came across as insensitive.

From his poem, A Woman’s Power, Banks notes the following in the fifth stanza:

They’re our mothers, sisters, and daughters

With hearts of grace and purity.

Why do we keep them down?

Why do we push away equality?

(A Woman’s Power, p.14)

The first line perturbed me. Questions started to appear in my mind, for instance: are women not people? Are women just family roles? Do women only exist within the structure of families?

What this poem fails to address is that women do not exist for men or anyone else. Furthermore, I was disappointed by Banks’ poem as it articulated that women only exist for the development of men.

Another poem which was not well expressed was Poverty:

Here you find the truth

Not hidden behind a mask of riches.

It’s life in its purest form.

(Poverty, p.34)

Poverty is not life in its purest form. Poverty is a state that millions of people endure each day. Poverty is not a synonym for modesty or simple living.

Why did I read it?

I’m all about supporting indie authors and poets!

Does the author have others works?

Matt Banks is writing his second poetry collection, The Lonely Heart Wanders.

Overall…

The collection is thematically diverse so each poem was relatively refreshing. At times, some of the poems were repetitive and predictable. Lastly, in terms of articulation and clarity, Banks has a while to go.

– Melissa Jennings

 

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