The Dragon in the Room by J. K. E. Rose

The Dragon in the Room

Is Love too Much to Ask For?
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KIRKUS REVIEW

In this poetry collection, the author airs her grievances on abusive relationships and raising children.

Near the beginning of her debut work, in a poem titled “Dragons,” Rose writes, “I wish for your touch, I crave to be held. / You don’t listen, a deaf man, I wave from my hell”, adding a few lines later, “I stay in my purgatory called woman and wife, / I watch you play on your stage / while you wile away my life.” [4] Like a snarling dragon furious over losing a treasure, her poems passionately recount the emotional turmoil she suffered in past relationships, laced with worry about her children and—later—lamentations on her alienation from them. A fan of “The Viking futhark,” she sprinkles those symbols and their translations throughout the book. [v] The poems all bear the word “Dragon” in their titles (and many hold the exact same title) in a naming convention that quickly grows tiresome: “Dragonshope,” “Dragonjoy,” “Dragontrap,” etcetera. However, the poems themselves possess moments of startlingly vivid imagery and disarming tenderness, especially in the bittersweet “Dragonsbrood,” as well as this section from another “Dragons” poem: “You fade and fall apart. / I sit alone, / wrapping stiff skin / round empty cup.” [13] Themes of terror and fear are common, as the disturbing “Dragonbitter” hauntingly demonstrates: “You are the enemy. / Slayer of smiles / Thief of laughter / Murderer…You trail fear like tattered feathers.” [33] At points, though, the book feels more like a cathartic exercise than a literary endeavor. The author employs too many bland, clichéd phrases, giving several pieces—such as “Dragonsfear”—an unpolished, juvenile feel: “You don’t even know my sorrows / You haven’t seen my pain / You eat, you drink, you watch TV. / Where am I again?”, and later, “You don’t see me / You don’t let me be / You never even welcome me.” [24] Despite the book’s uplifting conclusion, some of the more intense imagery—particularly regarding abuse—may be unsettling for a number of readers.

The poems’ raw, emotional power remains overshadowed by their uneven quality.

Pub Date: Dec. 3rd, 2013
ISBN: 978-1491713174
Page count: 80pp
Publisher: iUniverse
Program: Kirkus Indie
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