Opening with the quote “Don’t remove my pain, it is my chance to heal” (Björk – “Notget”), Hanlon immediately shares a space with the reader that completely encompasses a title as evoking as “Spectrum of Flight”. The twenty three poem collection covers topics ranging from sexuality to self acceptance. The result is a body of work that truly addresses the internal struggles encompassing that process. It’s cover is an accurate depiction of what (I believe) that journey looks like.
“The spectrum does relate to sexuality foremost. It was this aspect of my identity that I struggled with most due to the bullying I received. But I like to think that that acceptance has helped me to accept other aspects of my identity too. Learning to embrace vulnerabilty and understanding this as strength has been fundamental in aiding my recovery and bolstering my resilience.” – Hanlon
An immediate focal point is the haunting piece “Swimming Lessons”. Through lines like “it is me, it is bad, I am bad” Hanlon’s words resonate the feelings that can keep someone locked in a cage of fear. Utilizing the layout of text on the page, suggestive titles and clever wordplay, he creates an intricate narrative that enhances the reading experience. Examples of this can be seen in the progression from “If My Body Was Made Of Stone” to “Taking Flight”. However, the standout piece from this book is the (appropriately titled) “Core”. The innuendoes complementing subtle discussion juxtapose the depth of the content. One final piece of note is the breathtaking “Self Love Is A Lot Candle”, reminding the reader that at you must always remember, your glow has always existed even in your darkest moments of doubt.
Often times while reading his poems, I found myself, stopping to reflect on thoughts that I personally have considered so intimate I dare not share them. Many of these works made me swell to tears and remember situations I’d long told myself I’d forgotten. Nolan’s reassurances in his final pieces provide hopeful closure to otherwise heavy subject matter. By the end of the book, the following words rang true in a way that I truly appreciate:
“To those of you unheard, and battered by suffering, that they give you hope and courage, that one day you will find your voice, as I have found mine.”