Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Review: Suicide Hotline Hold Music by Jessy Randall--First Summer Poetry Review

Suicide Hotline Hold MusicSuicide Hotline Hold Music by Jessy Randall
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Suicide Hotline Hold Music is one of those poetry books that probably would have remained off my radar if I didn't live in Denver where we have some amazing independent bookstores as well as an amazing community of talented local authors and poets. Anyone who looks further into poet and illustrator Jessy Randall's history will notice that her work has received attention in a variety of places from the conventional such as Asimov's and McSweeney's to the side of a street-cleaning truck.

Suicide Hotline Hold Music is a collection of short poems based on the premise that a human is pretending to be a machine on a suicide hotline in the hope that the sense of greater anonymity will provide a higher level of comfort. (I sense shades of Warm Bodies and plays on disconnection from other people in the basic idea.) The poems explore themes like the unique "sounds" of each fellow student's hair in middle school, thoughts on motherhood, arbitrary pool rules, and taxes (death is included in the poem about taxes.) Many of the illustrations tackle inequality in romantic relationships and the various flavors of bad boyfriends (literally represented as bon bons in a chocolate box.)

This collection is delightfully playful and creative without losing sight of the genuine heartache and suffering that lingers beneath the surface in all of these situations. While the poems themselves aren't necessarily the most beautiful pieces I've ever read, I feel like the collection as a whole works well, and I love the concept. I'm looking forward to checking out more of Randall's works in the future.

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