The lyric poems in Philip Isukapati’s collection My Love With Poesy offer the speaker’s heartfelt ruminations on life, love, and loss, as well as homages to the speaker’s family and friends.
Isukapati’s oversized book features poems centered on each page with a border of photographed flowers surrounding them. Readers can feel the speaker’s sincere emotion. However, the work has some issues, including the heavy use of antiquated diction and abstract language, which makes these poems read as if they were written in the 19th rather than the 21st century. For example, in “Pain of Thy Heart” the speaker exhorts: “O soul! A little soul!/ O pain! O heart;/ A melody to a nightingale!/ O gaze! O Love! O bonding!”
Even a poem like “Covid-19,” which purports in its title to address a subject of timely, global concern, holds contemporary readers at bay. The speaker could be describing any crisis or calamity: “O My God!/ Many endangered while suffer/ To countless fear, depression and tears!/ As the wretched cry out so loud and wild […]”
The lack of concrete and specific details throughout Isukapati’s collection gives his poetry an unintentionally redundant quality. Each poem is pitched at the same frenetic intensity as those before and after it, causing all the work to blur together in the reader’s mind. Additionally, Isukapati’s excessive use of the lyric “O” tends to caricature his speaker’s strong feelings rather than balancing them with moments of subtlety, nuance, or understatement.
Even in moments of reverie and joy, the particulars of this speaker’s experiences are veiled by the bygone lexicon and cadence of his lines: “O thee, a gaze!/ The gaze of the Universe,/ Thou traverse deep and it’s within/ O Thee, a gaze! […].”
My Love With Poesy might appeal to habitual readers of light verse. However, revision with an eye to eliminating antiquated word usage and infusing each poem with concrete detail —employing the poetic conventions of our time — would allow the author to reach a wider audience.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.