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poetry by j matthew waters

book reviews

Moonpies & Naugahyde by Melanie Thomason

I have delved into Moonpies & Naugahyde by Melanie Thomason a number of times now and each time I find myself uplifted by the author’s moving pieces and raw honesty. This courageous and admirable piece of work is a testament to Thomason herself, who survived an unspeakable childhood. Her poems speak to me in a language that is direct and oftentimes shocking, and I am left in disbelief what she had endured through her tortuous childhood. How she lived to tell the tale is remarkable in itself, but she has managed to conquer her past through poetry that resonates with sheer determination, and the will to fight for the light that resides in all of us.

One cannot simply talk about this book without mentioning Georgiann Carlson, whose illustrations complement Thomason’s poetry so well, echoing the provocative emotions encased inside of them.

This book is not for the faint of heart. In fact, it is a roller coaster ride that will take you through emotions buried deep in your psyche. Thomason’s poem “Darkness” highlights not only her struggles but her determination to defeat that which nearly kills her: “there is something or someone holding you down\ like an anchor\ it is up to you to free yourself or drown” While the poems before reaching this point were at times unbearable to read, it is at this point in the book I saw a true glimmer of light.

I am not an official book reviewer or critic, however I am a struggling poet like Thomason. We have read and complimented each other’s work over the past few years and I’ve become an admirer of her craft. When it comes to poetry I know what I like, and Thomason’s straightforwardness and honesty and kick-ass reality work so well for me.

Thomason has endured so much neglect and pain and abuse in her earlier years, it is difficult for me to imagine how she survived and came out blooming in smiles. In the second to last poem it reads in part:

I am worthy of love after all
and that particular piece of baggage
can be tossed aside
cause I no longer need it

Like I had said earlier, there is strength in her words. They are certain to make you stronger, too.

PS: To visit Thomason’s Amazon page and poetry blog, please click on the hyperlinks in the first sentence above.

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