You: A Novel in Verse by Micalizzi is an attempt to imagine and craft a love story told from beginning to end. At times there are glimpses of a poet beginning to flourish and bloom but for the most part, this collection captures love and loss very simply.
Micalizzi’s verse is often limited by his reliance on rhythm; giving way to a rhyme rather than reaching beyond this constraint. Consequently, much of the poetry is incredibly cliché and pedestrian. The images and sentiments lack maturity and do not challenge the reader to ruminate on what has been said by the poet. The acrostic in the middle for example reads more as a young, fledging poet finding their feet than the work of a serious writer.
However, there were moments of promise in Micalizzi’s pieces. His poems about addiction were sincerer and he illustrates the pitfalls of dating in the modern age very well. Pieces like ‘Walking down Bridgewater’, ‘Last Road’ and ‘Caged Bird’ all suggest the potential Micalizzi has as a poet if he continues to hone his craft.
Thus, Micalizzi’s story in this collection is certainly relatable and I am sure many will find solace in his words. But, as a piece of literature, this collection fails to meet my expectations of what poetry is and should be; it lacks the substance I desire from a craft which often bares the very soul of its craftsman.