Review of Tempest, Ryan Meyer

Meyer’s second poetry collection, Tempest, is an absolute joy to read. A departure from the Gothic, horror style of Haunt, Tempest cradles its reader in bittersweet nostalgia and Meyer’s storytelling and surrealism come into their stride.

In the preface, Meyer talks about the dichotomy between the beauty of imagery and underlying pain often conveyed in music and poetry. For me, this recalled words from Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray that “behind every exquisite thing that existed there was something tragic”, and Meyer’s desire to create this ‘tempest’ was realised through stunning poetry.

Meyer’s work made me feel human as he embraced the past, fear, identity and the ache it is to exist. ‘Reassurance’ moved me in the simplicity of how difficult it is to stop and listen to yourself sometimes, and the comfort to be found in listening to your heartbeat echo against porcelain. ‘Giant’ and ‘Giant, Part 2’ portrayed the future beautifully. Meyer takes human fear and complexity, reflects it but reminds us it need not be ugly.

While ‘Faulty Wiring’, ‘No Science To Loneliness’, ‘We Always Say We’ll Stay In Touch’ and ‘Long, Long After’ were incredibly moving as Meyer conveyed emotional depth through storytelling grounded in nature, people and place.

Finally, ‘The Poet’, ‘Imperfect Fit’ and ‘Coughing Fits’ showcased the potential for mastery burgeoning in Meyer’s craft. These pieces were sharp and honest; with ‘Imperfect Fit’ being the crowning glory, the dichotomy Meyer wished to achieve.

Tempest is an impressive collection; a thoroughly good read capturing humanity at its most humble. Meyer has found Wilde’s tragedy and reminded us of the exquisite beauty which can still exist within it.

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