REVIEWS & CONVERSATIONS: LET GO OF THE HANDS YOU HOLD – MARISSA GLOVER (MERCER UNIVERSITY PRESS)

Variation in poetic presentation is becoming more frequent in the current technological age. Poetry is currently presented in (and not limited to), traditional form on page, audiobook and pamphlet, weekly column, Pateron, YouTube, SoundCloud and live performance on stage. This approach allows for the genre to catch the attention of newer readers/listeners while also paying homage to other forms such as slam poetry. Glover utilizes her understanding of this to create an interactive experience in Let Go of the Hands You Hold. In a loosely narrative approach, this body of work addresses the feelings that can consume during the process of lamentation and evaluating life through the lens of its lessons. 

“I’ve often been labeled “a performance poet” because at readings or presentations I typically perform my work instead of reading it from a page. I do this because I find I enjoy connecting to the audience in this way—eye contact, emotion, body language, etc…”

The Happy Hour of Assault opens and simultaneously foreshadows the extensive collection shaped by reflection and wisdom from various sources. Various poems lead into each other through clever titling and poignantly worded/placed weaving lines. Lines like “In America, we’re taught finishing first is all that matters. Here, selfishness is not a crime. You can’t depend on anyone else to make you feel good—a fact you learned early, when your parents split“ (Master of My Domain), though pages away from pieces like If the President Asks About My Heritage, builds upon themselves, almost as if a thought resounded itself in “random” rambles. This collection’s storytelling approach, highlighting the minor details, reminds the reader to pay attention to the grey details, as this is where slivers of silver linings can be found. However, in this external questioning, the internal and personal are still accounted in examples like “It’s like eggs in an ovary: Even if they are never used, the body cannot hold onto them forever. A finite number determined by DNA, it’s impossible to know how many chances you have, and when you will run out” (Some Things Are Decided before You Are Born). An interesting detail of note is that after each of the initial sections, 4 of the total 5, there is a QR (Quick Response) Code that can be scanned with a mobile device to hear the author read a piece not in print. 

“Personally, I feel like the book is enhanced with the spoken word pieces – like an exclamation point at the end of the section rather than a period – but they aren’t required for the book to make sense.”

When I open this collection, I approach it differently than I would most. I flip pages and find connections in what could be disjointed and unconnected things. I believe a beauty exists in the ability to do this. Traces of inquiry into the constructs of biblical design stitch these pages together so subtly that not a thread can be seen. I’ve never experienced a body of work like this one. Glover makes a distinction between knowing what is “for the page and for the stage”. This simple detail allows her to exist in both poetic spaces, thus appealing to the desires of readers and viewers who exist in both places. That in itself, deserves a round of applause.

Purchase your copy of Let Go of the Hands You Hold: Poems here

One Reply to “REVIEWS & CONVERSATIONS: LET GO OF THE HANDS YOU HOLD – MARISSA GLOVER (MERCER UNIVERSITY PRESS)”

  1. Diedra Monroe says:

    Enjoyed

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