Matt Nagin: A Feast of Sapphires

This is a cut&paste of a review that will appear on Amazon and possibly GoodReads.

Feast of Sapphires    Matt Nagin

Personal experiences, social commentary, in seventy-eight poems.

four stars

As always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later. I am a tough reviewer, and only one person’s opinion can appear here. Let’s get to the good stuff, Nagin’s work.

For a fun intro to Nagin’s style, turn to Donut Shop. Many images of unwilling participation lead to the final joke at the end.

Nagin is comfortable with social commentary, as in Palace of Lies, which includes this: “How you like my credit card? /Platinum-tier damages— /Ferrari in the garage— /Penthouse on Madison?”

As always, Google anything of which you are not absolutely certain. I learned a few things this way. Back to the book.

Spoiler alert: here is the entire short poem Pregnancy: “I kiss the sunset /and such magic falcons /such dreams unanswered /kick the heavens furiously /like a baby /waiting to be born.”

For a truly scary experience, turn to Vegas Massacre, which begins thus: “He unloaded the bullets /like rain drops /the ominous pitter-patter of death…”   and that’s only the opening.

For a personal and pleasant experience, turn to Birds Singing in my Chest, which includes this: “I woke up /like a new man, /a soul reborn /with intensity; /birds singing in my chest, /squirrels….” That’s not a spoiler; there’s a lot more in the poem where that came from.

For a good laugh, and to see Nagin in prose, turn to Eyebrows, which begins thus: “This manicure place in my hood advertises 3D eyebrows on a day-glo sign and I always pass it in mute wonder—”

Again in prose, Nagin demonstrates his communicative power in Hit by a Car, where we find this: “skull to the cement, glass lodged in the guts of your arm, blood unleashed onto grim shoes—the destitution of spirit.”

I have other favourites here, but that should give you a decent feel for what is on offer in this book. Now for the star count boilerplate.

My personal guidelines, when doing an ‘official’ KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. I try hard to be consistent. Nagin’s work easily gets four stars from the curmudgeon. Highly recommended.

Kindle Book Review Team member.

(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)

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