Thursday, May 03, 2012
Review of Eamon Loingsigh's Love and Maladies.
Love and Maladies, poems by Eamon Loingsigh. Eamon Loingsigh’s poems remind me of the poems I wrote when I was a late teen/early 20-something. They’re passionate, angry, proud, wise, idealistic, but at their core, they reveal the betrayal of the poet by a world that refuses to behave rationally and for its own best interest. Loingsigh’s poems are a kind of dirge for this innocence: the innocent who believed people were basically good, basically kind, and who believed in beauty but instead found selfishness, betrayal, and ugliness. Loingsigh’s anger isn’t a lashing out, though; it’s anger born of disappointment. Loingsigh wants people to be better than they are, but along with that, he knows that they can be better. Idealism is a tough one because idealists always end up disappointed, often tragically so, but in their hearts, they know people can change, so they keep trying. I’m not going to go any further with this. One could accuse idealists of being selfish, self-absorbed, judgmental, unrealistic, whatever, but the fact is that without idealists, man would still be in the moral caves. It’s idealists like Martin Luther King, Ghandi, the Dali Lama, etc. etc. who pull us from being the apes we are towards the angels we long to be. In Loingsigh’s short collection, he shifts from formal poetry to song lyrics to free verse. His imagery is often jarring (many references to vaginas, for example) and his topics are almost always intended to give pause. Loingsigh writes of the plight of the poor and working class. At times, he relies on familiar imagery and phrasing, but Loingsigh’s poems are definitely meant to be heard more than read. One of my favorite poems in the collection is “A Thousand Years” which describes a future in which America is remembered for its “rise and fall in a single paragraph” (line 2). It’s a dystopian future in which banks are able to excommunicate, a future in which the things we truly value (though don’t necessarily admit to valuing) have been extended to their logical end: or, let’s be honest, is Loingsigh talking about a dystopian future or the dystopian present? -CL Bledsoe