THE PLIGHT OF GRIEVANCE by Ruben Martinez II

THE PLIGHT OF GRIEVANCE

The WolfSaint Chronicles

KIRKUS REVIEW

Martinez’s debut volume of poetry introduces his alter ego, WolfSaint.

As Martinez describes it, his poetic alter ego, WolfSaint, is one person split in two: the “saint,” a loving father and a caring husband; and the “wolf,” a darker being, alone, silent and menacing. Readers will notice that there’s much more wolf than saint in this collection. Martinez’s verse often wanders, lupine, through desolate landscapes, as in “My Land”: “Broken is the father of this place, / Lost amidst a far sand for black blood, / Thousands have died in a crocked race, / Thousands more will perish in its flood.” Sometimes, the wolf succumbs to his manic impulses in the arid lands he inhabits, and Martinez often uses his poetry to vent his anger and rage. In “The Danger with Hate,” he writes “I too can hate, / Even when it dominates my inner being, / Some will criticize me and stories create, / Thus fueling my anger that is steadily fleeing.” Martinez writes in a long Romantic tradition that sees poetry as a vehicle for expressing unruly emotions and letting out violent passions unsuitable for polite company. Unfortunately, he falls into one of the classic Romantic traps: If the author isn’t careful, venting approaches wallowing. As they multiply, Martinez’s valid complaints about God, the world, sin and despair begin to sound like repetitive self-pity. Further, throughout most of the volume, the poet ties himself to a strict, formal rhyme that is more constricting than comfortable. This rigid scheme forces him to twist his syntax into knots that deform his writing, often to a distracting degree. Perhaps in future verse the wolf can roam in free verse.

Fiery self-indulgence glowing in the darkness.

Pub Date: March 7th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1469172194
Page count: 170pp
Publisher: Xlibris
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:




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