Let’s Talk About It: Life Taste Better with Poetry

Johnny Benoit

Publisher: Archway Publishing Pages: 144 Price: (paperback) $11.99 ISBN: 9781480850675 Reviewed: August, 2019 Author Website: Visit »

Let’s Talk About It is a collection of free-verse poems revolving around the idea of romantic love. The poems are printed on right-hand pages, while the same photograph of an empty chair beside a blossoming plant appears on every left-hand page. Occasional brief prose interludes offer relationship advice and introduce the next poem.

The back cover states that the book’s purpose, is to explore “the ups and downs of relationships” and help “rekindle the flame of love for those who may have let it dwindle in the stresses of modern life.” Indeed, poems offer readers advice about how to cultivate and sustain a romantic relationship (“Let love guide you,/ And do not resist its power”). They also directly address the poet-speaker’s own beloved (“We only behave this way toward each other,/ A mutual gift that we share in spite of all else.”)

The thoughts and emotions are clear, but the work is hampered by its predictable tone and redundant subject matter. Additionally, the poems rely more on abstract language and familiar clichés (“There’s a fire between us”) than on fresh, original, concrete details.

Poems are visually differentiated from prose in that the poems have titles while the prose does not, and the poems are lineated while the prose is presented as a text block. However, their language and content is essentially the same. For instance, one prose interlude says, “When you are in love, time passes so fast, and you never realize how quickly the hours go by.” Meanwhile, a poem states: “It feels so good, so right,/ Such a freedom one can experience.” Nothing notable in diction, syntax, or prosody differentiates these from each other.

Let’s Talk About It is a well-meaning look at relationships that might be best arranged and marketed as prose rather than poetry. The poems are not yet sonically or rhythmically distinct enough from the prose to warrant their presentation as such.

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