Augustine Sam’s flashes of emotion is a collection of poetry absolutely beguiling. Split into four halves, this is a vast land of poems to enjoy and enjoy them I did. I feel that the language of the poems are formal and yet the format informal, which had quite an effect on this reader! It is not always a good effect, sometimes jarring. The word thee is used and also everyday words, such as conked. Modern and traditional.
Flashes of emotion is playful and, as I said, the formatting is informal. The sentences can be scattered casually onto the page. Makes this quite fun. You have apple carts, London bridges, image, age, skin colour and a cemetery ‘left ajar, this rusted metal gate, like the heady souls lying behind’ as well as poems of love in this collection. The poems of love, I’m sure all of us have read one or two love poems in our time, are excellent with a raw edge.
I have to point out an observation that there may well be too many comparisons and metaphors in flashes of emotion. Examples of this
‘Gladiators had the coliseum
Orators had the platform
Preachers had the pulpit
Prostitutes had the brothel
Mystics had the caves
Hermits had the hermitage’
and ‘She lives in a trance where the sun sets at dawn
She lives in a stable where the horses are lame
She lives in the wilds where hunters are vegans by choice
She lives in a temple where the chief priest is a witch
She lives in an asylum where all but the physician is sane
She lives in the water where fishermen abhor the fish
She sees through the glass darkly …’
which stuck out for me as I was reading, perhaps because of their similarity in language. These occur particularly in the first half, titled Lips and wits.
The second half, titled Musings, offers many romantic poems, which are appealing and I would recommend skipping straight to reading these. Third half, Palpitation, is more sensual and the poems have much depth to them. Fourth half, Mantra, begun with a beautiful poem that I had to read for a second time. Unrequited love is a theme in this book, but I think of all the poems ode to a beautiful stranger sums this sentiment up the best. I think that are many poems of love in Flashes of emotion and not enough of those that tell the stories of other people, as Prejudice gives a tantalising glimpse at the skills Augustine Sam has of describing different situations and societies. There are details that I feel are personal to the writer threaded into these poems and they endear us to him and his work all the more.
My favourite poems are ‘The human shock absorber’ ,‘Spell of desire’ and ‘Poetry in motion’
Overall flashes of emotion is an electric and dizzying collection of poetry.
Paperback and Kindle editions are available to buy at Amazon.