Book Review, Poetry

Book Review: In XXX Poems, Raquel Balboni Delivers on the Title & More

Buy XXX Poems out now, by Arts & Letters

by

XXX Poems
by Raquel Balboni
Arts & Letters
artsandletters.squarespace.com
Cambridge, Ma
47 Pages
15.00$

Buy the Book here: https://artandlettersmagazine.squarespace.com/shop

Raquel Balboni’s new book of poems, XXX Poems, published by Arts & Letters is an honest perspective into the head of a 20-something running on caffeine, drugs, sex, and you know, rock n’ roll. Yet this rock n’ roll is carried out through a punk ethos throughout the book. Over multiple readings of this book, I discovered Raquel Balboni to be a punk poet with an ethos that oozes into every last word and line of their work.

Think about it. Anyone can do poetry, you sit there, think, and write. There is no overhead. Well besides a pen and paper.

When Raquel Balboni not only comes along with the energy of their poems, but a full artistic energy of being co-editor of Arts & Letters, it is easy to see why there is a need to put these poems out into the public.

While these poems read as if they are freshly penned in someone’s notebook, perhaps a bit rough around the corners, wild, with little to no structure, as a compilation they reveal an aesthetic, something whole, collected, free of constraints, and absolutely bewildering.

Bewildering in that the poems do not end where you expect them to; they unfurl like an acid trip or a life story that just keeps unfurling. Honesty, reality are foregrounded to liberate and inspire the reader. Yet almost in spite of this, the poeticisms ring vibrantly & clearly.

This collection is poetic in its unsure yet stern grasp for ‘truth’ — whatever that may mean. Yet this search for a deeper poetic truth, in its unpretentious approach can satisfy the reader despite the truisms. Because more often than not the truth needs to be bludgeoned into us.

More acutely, within this collection, the performative act of writing poetry diminishes the tautology to become a unique poetry somewhere in between Sextonian scrawls, Conradian honesty, and Tommy Pico’s newfound poetic daring.

After trying to get an interview with Balboni over numerous emails, and given the COVID pandemic, I gave up and decided to write the review. I felt that I needed to review this book to not only share it with you, dear reader, but to come to terms with not only it, but this book’s stance regarding other poetry.

Poetry is difficult to pin down. Yet my version of it is a craft born of both patience, restriction, and wild imagination. All three of these ideas shine particularly bright in this book of poems.

“if
a
good
dog
wears
a
muzzle
will
it
become
a
bad
dog
?”

Balboni inquires in the poem Tonic Water.

It is within these lines that the rye candor can point directly into self inquiry and inspiration. Many more jests, laugh out loud moments, and self revelations rest in Balboni’s easy to digest, erratic words. This book rests at the deep-end of poetry. You just have to want to jump in.

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Chris Hues is a human & writer from Boston, Ma & Associate Editor of bostonhassle.com. //// They can be reached at [email protected] or @crsjh_ via instagram & twitter.

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