Some Melt Stars for Crowns
by Vincent Hollow
Barnes and Noble Press

"What if dreams
are memories
from the lives
we live at night?"

Hollow demonstrates a profound knack for poetic command from the outset, providing a visceral experience that is bursting with imagery while simultaneously forcing the reader to pause and think about the topic. A fusion of emotion and reason, the poetry unveils the deepest recesses of the poet's inner mind and connects it to the outward daily chaos of the universe.

Alliteration and metaphors are front and center in this compilation as they repeatedly set up thought-provoking imagery and form intricate connections that routinely surprise the reader. In one of the earlier poems, "Guide to our anatomy," the image of dissected limbs magnetized to sharp objects and "shards of our vanity" stir the stoic within. Hollow is crafty in bringing up critical societal issues through poetry, highlighting humanity's most prevalent dilemmas with phrases like, "our hearts bleed bullets." In fact, the poet's fearless commentary on the deepest and darkest of society's troubles is what makes his work both authentic and alluring.

Without question, the poems within these covers roll seamlessly off the page, are aesthetically pleasing, and even more entertaining to speak out loud. Unquestionably, just as the eyes glance across many of the poem titles, an urge to delve deeper arises. Poems like "Keep the asylum beautiful," "Ocean of dead stars," and "Kissing fire" are dichotomies in their own right. After all, few would associate the asylum with beauty, the ocean with death, or kissing with fire. Whether it is lines like "recite the rhapsody of all the scars you've given me," or "ambiance left by our apparitions begins to evaporate and the mist rises like the dead," the poet lays bare his soul, and more specifically, the wounds that he has received from life.

Digging further, a series of themes runs throughout the compilation. Still, there is a strong contrast and depiction of night versus day and the inner spirit versus external stimuli that spearhead one's actions. In many ways, human existence is portrayed as fleeting and torturous, one of anguish that leads to sleepless nights and the decay of the soul. At the same time, glimmers of hope that people will shake the rust off their current lives and explore and embrace their true nature add another dimension of intrigue to Hollow's work.

Though the poetry is certain to churn in the reader's mind, the creativity with which Hollow delivers his words makes for a spectacular experience. For instance, the epitome of experimental poetry is "Spiral," a riveting poem written in the structure of a winding spiral that encourages audiences to discover the comfort and serenity within their individual darknesses. Further, poems like "House of wax" exemplify the fanatical with the imagery of candles running down "twisted fingers" and the notion that "everyone burns." Hollow appears to juxtapose the terror evoked simply by hearing the phrase "house of wax" with the concept of being forged (and changed) by fire.

A one-time read-through would undoubtedly present an entertaining experience. However, each subsequent perusal will provide a comprehensive immersion into the less emphasized and turbulent aspect of the human experience. Resplendent and lively, the eclectic energy alone makes for a highly recommended read. The collection's clear-cut relevance to modern-day society is simply icing on the cake.

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