NaPoWriMo # 29 The Review

I decided in the spirit of self-promotion to review one of my own books. The Naked Man is a chapbook inspired by a true muse, a extremely intelligent, charming and desirable muse of a man, trapped, it seemed to me, in a kind of eternal adolescence marked by extreme self-absorption, unabating angst and existential questioning. 

Jungian psychology posits the existence of archetypes – templates of energy that dwell in the collective unconscious of every human being.  If all goes well these archetypes surface and sink, surface and sink, but sometimes are psyches get trapped, ridden, or driven by a particular pattern we find almost impossible to shake off.  In that case existence becomes very two-dimensional and isolated, real engagement and relationships are lost  because we are lost to ourselves.

The question I pose in the poem is one I consider often as a writer. “How dare I use the real lives  and situations of myself and others as grist for my craft?”  My muse’s life was an open book- he confided nothing in me exclusively and talked endlessly about all his relationships with everybody.  The man had no secrets except the ones he denied and I don’t know, nor did I speculate on what those might be. Nevertheless, I feel unkind. Nevertheless, I published.  Sometimes that ruthlessness scares me. I’m rather glad it manifests as poetry, instead of elsewhere.

The Naked Man

This slim volume raises

an intriguing question, “How far

should the poet go when mining her own life

or the lives of others to complete her work?”

The Naked Man portrays a soul, perhaps

too cunningly termed “manchild”, driven by archetype.

Her puer aeternus, stripped naked, every flaw

and furbelow exposed for all the world to see

is based, according to Ms. Irving’s own admission,

upon a man she knew! She has taken personal

observation, rumor, the gossip of girlfriends

along with the subject’s own confessional soliloquies

and turned them into a series of witty, barbed

anecdotal portraits some might call unkind

in spite of being based on fact, but truly

is any person ever only his persona? What right

have poets to expose our foibles, holding up

but one mirror when so many aspects

dwell trapped within, clamoring

to be seen? There is something maenad-like

about her ruthless dissection of this man

she calls a fool. To be fair, when interviewed

the author claims she holds Fools sacred, “They

represent the unlimited potential of humankind,”

claims Ms. Irving, “ but dancing on the edge

is not enough, eventually we all must leap.”


This entry was posted in Archetype, Books, Daily Prompt, Poetry, Psychology and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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