Swan Songs of Cygnus: The Weight of Black Holes

Vincent Hollow

Publisher: Writer's Republic Pages: 366 Price: (paperback) $20.99 ISBN: 9781646207503 Reviewed: April, 2021 Author Website: Visit »

A lyrical fusion of science fiction and romance set in the year 3783, Vincent Hollow’s poignant love story—a narrative of connected poems—follows a man on a quest to find his deceased lover’s spirit and be reunited in eternity with her.

After the love of his life, Lucy, passes away, a grieving man volunteers to embark on an exploratory mission into a black hole. Travelling 600 million light years from home, the nameless man undergoes radical preparations to survive the journey: His eyes are removed and replaced with inorganic ocular implants that contain a highly advanced AI, and his bone marrow and joints are replaced with steel alloy.

During the long, lonely journey out of the solar system and across the galaxy, the man has endless hours to grieve his lost love. “I watched you disintegrate/,” he notes, “but I couldn’t let you go/ the pieces of you abandoned me/ leaving me a cemetery sky/ with only dead stars to wish upon…” That sadness, however, is mixed with beloved memories, and hope: “we are the creation/ of you and I/ imperfections/ made us human/ love made us/ immortal.”

The poems’ tone is indicative of the narrative content, creating an effectively somber mood. The farther away from home that the man gets, the more intense the feeling of aloneness, isolation, and fear becomes.

The poems are written in free verse; a few are experimental in nature. “Rings” is written in arcs on the page that resemble the rings of Saturn, and “Revolve” is a circular poem nicely complementing the poem’s theme that everything the astronaut does revolves around Lucy. Similarly, each page is laid out to resemble a ship’s control panel.

In all, this is an intriguing offering that, while written in verse, is relatively easy to follow. Consider it 2001: A Space Odyssey meets The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock— a moving blend of outer space and internal longing.

Also available in hardcover and ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Manchester, New Hampshire
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