The poems in Inside Me… seek to document the philosophy, worldview, and emotional life of their speaker. They range in subject matter from self-help/light verse to poems of grief and rage directed toward a lost love.
De Bock’s self-help/light verse poems proffer clichéd observations and advice that is often awkwardly phrased in order to maintain the poem’s rhyme scheme. For instance, in “Accepting Life,” the speaker instructs readers: “Though our life is not a fairy tale/ it can be great but it’s often dull/ if only people know when to inhale/ a reward shall be under the skull…” Although the ABAB rhyme scheme is upheld in this poem, the meaning of the lines is garbled and unclear.
In “Hope Is Future,” the speaker intones: “Remember what friendship is/ without it there is nothing/ even love is based on this/ open up instead of rotting.” This poem is typical of many others in that it fails to offer any new insight into the human condition and emphasizes broad abstractions such as life, friendship, and love, rather than original images and concrete details.
In other poems, the speaker’s message of acceptance and hope is undercut by bitterness and blame. In the poem, “You Certainly Are,” the author condemns a former beloved harshly: “You certainly are no sweet angel/ guarding me from the evil pain/ but a bitch driving me insane.” In a later poem, simply titled “The Bitch,” the speaker gives way to a full-blown rant: “…this troubled kind how did I find/ revenge is tough but never enough/ our hate shows the more it grows/ burn the witch dead to the bitch”. Such dramatic fluctuations in tone erode the cohesiveness of the collection.
The author will need to attend more to language, image, and ethos in order to improve the literary merits of his poems. This collection, as it stands, requires revision before it is likely to engage poetry lovers.
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