Midnight Blue: The End of Fear

Margaux J. Detterer

Publisher: Partridge Pages: 68 Price: (paperback) $4.99 ISBN: 9781543701463 Reviewed: December, 2021 Author Website: Visit »

Midnight Blue: The End of Fear by Margaux J. Detterer is a poetry collection that explores the struggle to banish self-doubt and live in the present moment, trusting in one’s own feelings and choices.

Detterer’s speakers often have a wise and accepting tone, as in “Release the Storm,” which begins: “Choose what is right, choose what is wrong;/ Hold on to [sic] the Light, Fall for the Dark;/ Remember you are loved, never forget the pain.” This advice takes into account that we are human and will make mistakes, but that we should embrace those contradictions and “Breathe, just because you can.”

Some poems offer a darker, slightly Gothic tone, such as “Saturn,” “Burning Flame,” “Black Canvas,” “The Raven,” “Black Devil,” and “Haunted House,” which includes the lines: “Living in a Haunted Mind./ Regrets, Love, Fears./ Who really knows what’s inside of its [sic] own house?”

While heartfelt and deeply candid, the collection suffers from several flaws. The pieces often name the speaker’s feeling or dilemma, as in “Black Canvas,” which notes that “Transforming yourself is always painful.” Because the poet tells us this, without using poetic devices, such as metaphor or imagery, the statement lacks emotional resonance. In “Follow the Light,” Detterer writes, “There is beauty in everything around you./ Happiness in every breathe [sic] you can take from today” but doesn’t follow up with any specific examples or images.

Additionally, the author rarely takes advantage of the dramatic possibilities of line breaks. Most lines are broken at a comma or period, making the poems very prose-like. And many punctuation, spelling and grammatical errors prove distracting.

Ultimately, the poems in this volume serve to express the speaker’s feelings but lack the artistry of more sophisticated fare. Still, the book’s combination of melancholy and hope might appeal to some readers. Writes the poet: “We are born with black hearts, let us find our light.”

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