Sea of Strangers by Lang Leav is the poet’s fourth publish collection. Leav is an international bestselling author and social media sensation. She is the winner of a Qantas Spirit of Youth Award and coveted Churchill Fellowship.
This my second review of one of Leav’s books. I was introduced to her work by another review that of her partner, Michael Faudet. Both write short poems and pieces of prose which is a growing trend in the reading of younger adults and hip kids today. One doesn’t have to look too hard to find the writing of Leav, Faudet, r.h. Sin, Samantha King, and many others who write in this style.
I do like the writing better in this collection than her previous work. Although the writing and poems are short and in simple terms, there seems to be more body to this collection. It is not classical poetry or even modern poetry of say, Ginsberg, O’Hara, or Billy Collins. A more cynical person would see it as the younger generations need for bite-size messages with a single and simple message. It is, however, the minimalist version of poetry. Where poets in the past used language to paint a picture of emotion, Leav uses as few words as possible to present a simple but heartfelt thought. Some of it is very good and some of it presents an oversimplified picture with that comfortable rhythm of a nursery rhyme:
For All Time
You talk to me in riddles,
I will answer you in rhyme
I loved you for a little —
I will love you for all time.
The book is printed on every other page so when open the reader will be able to concentrate only one the one short thought at a time and gives the book some heft. I will admit that it is nice to focus on a few words that can be absorbed in almost a glance and then have the blank space to pause and absorb what I have just read. There is no sense of urgency to the next page. The reader will linger thinking about what was just read.
Although I prefer the deeper thoughts of understanding and appreciating older poetry, Leav and others are creating a convenience type poetry that is popular with the younger crowd who would rather have the kernel of literature and ponder it than discover it themselves. However, if it helps popularize poetry, it can’t be all bad.
Available January 9, 2018