Paul Zeppelin’s Shattered Silence is a deeply personal book of poetry, where the work, for the most part, seems to exist to communicate Zeppelin’s reactions to autobiographical events or to describe the movements and products of his self-reflection.
Most of Zeppelin’s poems center on topics of love, disillusionment, alienation, and a kind of nostalgic anguish. There’s little chance, he implies in one poem, that the “antagonistic sky,” can cure his “never-ending pain,/ brought by a nostalgic trance.”
Hi poems concerning love usually record mismatches: “I simply can no longer bear/ Her everlasting monologue/ She thinks she is a princess,/ She thinks I am a frog.” Not surprisingly, his poems of alienation have an undercurrent of loneliness: “Most can’t appreciate filigree/ In precious fragments of my soul”; “Nobody hears my voice/ Nobody wants my guidance.” His pieces involving disillusionment can veer from tones of weary boredom (“New garbage in, old garbage out-/…Nothing to write back home about”), to bitter pronouncements (“If you’re born to crawl/ Don’t tease yourself/ Don’t ever try to fly.”
Zeppelin also offers a scattershot of tribute poems to authors like Ernest Hemingway and Eugene Ionesco, and he frequently uses classical allusions (Gordian knot, Pegasus, and Icarus, etc.), revealing an erudite reading habit.
Unfortunately, his work is marred by several flaws. Many of his lines are trite (“Life as a show must go on,” and “She loved me, loved me not,” etc.). In some stanzas, the only coherent part is the rhyme: “Life isn’t idle with the bitters,/ Sweet honey hurts my teeth,/ I’m bored with the eerie fritters,/ I want to see her bridal wreath.”
More grievous than these problems however, is Zeppelin’s frequent use of abstracts that convey little meaning. “The evil drives the wedges/ Between reality and our pledges.”
Shattered Silence records the author’s earnest pain and disillusionment. However, it requires revision with an eye to creating fresh imagery and greater clarity to draw a wide audience.
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