SIREN OF THE THIEF by Bahman Amidi


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A collection of free-verse poetry that skips across themes as diverse as love, God and greed.

The title of this wandering collection of 27 poems means a petty lie or, perhaps as the author intended, silly, pretentious writing. While debut poet Amidi revels in the freedom poetry allows, he often falls prey to self-indulgence. A few phrases—“dazed in dither” and “Freedom is breaking the strings and piecing them together”—offer glimmers of hope, but only glimmers. The promise deflates at signs of tired, lukewarm phrases: “blows my mind,” “Not all jewels shine as bright as your eyes,” “Speak no more of past scars, / For this revolution was love.” The strongest entry, “That which Betides,” describes a religious awakening that feels heartfelt and innocent, as the intriguing narrator weighs his own angels and prophets against those the priests hold dear. But that exception is overpowered by its less coherent cousins, many of which parse phrases so haphazardly that the reader can’t find a path through the collection. Punctuation staggers across the page: Colons, periods and ellipses don’t seem to know their place. Perhaps such scattering is meant to be bold, although it’s merely confusing, especially when jumbled thoughts masquerade as complexity—less like E.E. Cummings, more like a Facebook post. “Killing Hand,” for instance, is an attempt to describe either a revenge killing or a wacky love triangle; it’s not exactly clear. Most of the poems reach for great heights, but they can’t summon images or insights strong enough to fulfill their ambitions.

Spirited but unwieldy.

Pub Date: Oct. 24th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1300311232
Page count: 58pp
Publisher: Lulu
Program: Kirkus Indie
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