My rating: 3 stars
My favourite type of poetry is one that has a great effect on readers and conveys either tangible emotions or fruitful ideas. Although I really enjoyed some of the poems in At the Edge of Night by Anise Koltz, the vast majority of them were forgettable and unremarkable. Compiled in this book is a selection of poems from four collections by the Luxembourgish author – The Call of the Sparrow-Hawk, Shadow-Bearer, Fire-Eater and Blessed be the Serpent. Some of the predominant themes are the complexity of family relationships, criticism of God, negative aspects regarding mankind and the creative writing process.
Generally speaking, the poems chosen for this book are really short, were penned in direct language and lack a discernible rhythm. Thus, it was hard for me to feel any real emotion while reading. While I honestly didn’t understand what some of the poems were trying to convey, others I did grasp their message, but they lacked feeling. They didn’t pack a punch, nor were they convincingly heartfelt.
Not all poems were disappointing, however. ‘The Poet’, a poem about the importance of choosing the right words, was one of my favourites from the collection. It mentions how the freedom that an author appears to have to choose the desired words is curbed by their impact on other people. The importance of language is also touched upon in ‘In This World’, in this instance because it seems to be losing meaning. If these two poems caught my attention mainly thanks to the message, ‘Stop Talking’ stood out because of the language. Despite it also being short and direct, the repetition in the last verses helped to achieve an attractive rhythm.
The themes of motherhood and lost love are also present in various of the poems. ‘My Mother’ was one of the most poignant. It focuses on the complex bond between a mother and a daughter, who had to face good and bad bays. ‘He Left…’ is about a broken relationship. A lover leaves because of his own mistakes, but that doesn’t prevent his partner from feeling unhappy.
In spite of appreciating some of the poems, I didn’t become a fan of Anise Koltz’s writing style and don’t think I’ll read any of her other work in the future.