Edward Mable in Poetry That We All Can Relate To uses plain language to describe situations that are both public and personal. Chatty and informal, these poems capture moments of daily life. Mable, whose biographical note says he was born in New York City and works for a major cosmetics company there, is at his best when describing urban, professional, African American experience. Employment, office politics, family, dating, and friendships are his main concerns, along with such familiar details as ATM machines, fast-food restaurants, and security checks.
This collection is not intended for the serious poetry lover but for the casual reader. Each title lists the month of composition, which adds to the overall impression of a journal or diary–as if the poems could be read as they may have been written: on the bus or train to and from the office. Mable offers down-to-earth observations about working people in a troubled economy.
Many poems take a broad approach, such as in “When You Know Beforehand But You Are Not Able to Warn Anyone,” where the author writes, “If someone told you something and made you promise not to tell / They said if you did for them it might not turn out well. . . .”
Occasionally, the perspective becomes more personal:
The shop I loved was on 125th between Amsterdam and Morningside
Their skills at cutting hair were good, this I can’t deny
Dennis and Baltimore were the names of the two mainstays
At over 300 pages, the book is a bit long and could have benefited from some editorial selection, as well as consistent punctuation. Every poem uses loose, extended lines with end rhymes, leaving the reader wishing for a bit more variety in form. Occasionally, the need to rhyme creates tortured syntax. However, for those seeking an Everyman perspective on contemporary urban culture, this book will appeal.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.