Today dear reader I am reviewing Vertigo To Go (Published by The Hedgehog Poetry Press 1st Oct. 2020) By Brendon Booth-Jones. A big thank you to Fly On The Wall for sending me a copy to review and inviting me to read this poetry collection.
Vertigo To Go
Vertigo to Go is a timely and searing examination of the current state of the world, seen through the eyes of a young protagonist dealing with grief, addiction, loneliness and madness in the face of invasive technologies, vast systemic inequalities and environmental crisis. Vertigo to Go is a lyrical hymn to the power of poetry to sublimate pain and fear into art that is unafraid to confront the problems of the world.
About The Author
Brendon Booth-Jones is the Editor-in-Chief of Writer’s Block Magazine at the University of Amsterdam. Brendon’s photographs, poems and prose have appeared in Anti-Heroin Chic, Amaryllis, As It Ought To Be, Botsotso, The Blue Nib, The Bosphorus Review, Fly on the Wall, Ghost City Review, The Night Heron Barks, Odd Magazine, Otherwise Engaged, Peeking Cat, Scarlet Leaf Review, Zigzag and elsewhere. Vertigo to Go won the 2019 White Label Trois Competition.
I found myself bewitched by bong smoke rings that offered escape and clarity to life’s mysteries while Hendrix played out the speakers. Booth-Jones writes strong captivating imagery that takes you on a cosmic journey on reflection and growth. The reader partakes in the hazy blurred days where time stills before swiftly fleeing the town and the vision of a world without injustice. Desperate to grow and move forward in his life, we follow Booth-Jones through it all, from his happiest days caught up in love to finding the remains of a broken relationship at the bottom of a toiletry bag. It’s intense and one hell of a journey. Hold on dear reader, it’s going to be a bumpy ride…
Relationships are deeply explored in Booth-Jones’ poetry. The reader witnesses first meetings in an elevator and those quick fluttering moments that follow. When everything is unsure, thrilling and dizzy. In contrast Booth-Jones also shows the reader the uncertainly and doubtfulness of a relationship. In Catacombs a couple wander the streets of Paris and soon the cracks begin to show. He takes the wrong route, gets them lost, starts to fumble with the map before it’s snatched out of his hands and heads towards the exit. Booth-Jones questions why doesn’t she ditch him at the border to her heart and what does his willingness to enter a labyrinth of skulls say about him. He starts to think that maybe they are perfect for each other after all but now down in the tunnels he becomes doubtful. It’s fascinating poetry and relatable as we have all been there in that part of the relationship where you fight like an old married couple. Everything you do seems to annoy the other and you can’t do anything right. Booth-Jones captures these heightened emotions and plays upon the surroundings. I was compelled to read more.
Booth-Jones also focuses on reflection in his poetry, looking back and remembering faded memories. In Toothbrush he finds an ex-girlfriends toothbrush and is suddenly reminded of the old pain he thought he had recycled. He throws it away but reminds himself that plastic lasts, forever, it can take years to decompose. This is such a striking image that makes you reflect on your own relationships, wondering if those memories have already turned into soil and are now growing new life. Or are they still lying on the rubbish heap, waiting to be repurposed. It’s thought-provoking and intrigues you to dive a little deeper.
A taunting echo of self doubt follows Booth-Jones in his poetry. His stepfather constantly taunts him about how his father never loved him and he was a disappointment. He questions how he hides his fears behind a cheerful folksy openness. Something I believe we all do to a certain degree. If we pretend we are happy and fine to others they will believe it without questing further. These poems make you wonder about your own fears and self doubt, forcing you to question what you are hiding behind your cheerful façade.
I love Booth-Jones’ use of imagery. It was such a delight to indulge and get wrapped up in. I especially enjoyed reading Chez toi ou chez moi. The wine bar being laced with body heat in winter, lips flustering and clinking glass as the full moon watches the semi-real neon bee hive below. It was heaven to get swept away in such a delicious visions. Booth-Jones has a remarkable talent for his imagery, it leaves you simply breathless. Beautiful.
I give Vertigo To Go By Brendon Booth-Jones a Four out of Five paw rating.
Filled with Intoxicating imagery that will bring you back to your adolescent days, I could’t get enough. Booth-Jones has a talent for writing poetry on reflection and growth leaving you to question your own path and purpose in life. Thought-provoking and wonderfully imaginative this poetry collection will leave a lasting impression on you long after you finish reading it.
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