Annie's Reviews > The Redcoats

The Redcoats by Ryan Murphy
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's review
Feb 08, 2012

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bookshelves: 2012-challenge-list, poetry

I read The Redcoats by Ryan Murphy three different times over the span of a week and simply could not connect with the poetry at all. I even read the reviews on the back of his book twice, they are so beautifully written, trying to see what these other individuals saw in this collection of poetry.

For me, the poems are simply too abstract and enigmatic. Reading them was like trying to find meaning in a game of Pick Up Stix. I saw nothing in the seeming randomness of the words other than an occasional powerful image or line with no support for its purpose in being there. In fact, I have a friend who writes a blog called Fueled by Randomness, which perfectly describes my feelings about this collection of poetry. This title could be appropriate for the collection, for I could not see how anything I read had to do with the American Revolution. In fairness to the poet, though, I simply did not understand what I was reading.

That said, I really liked the poem "Autumn is for Bells" in Book Three:

"Autumn is for bells
And sagging ceiling plaster.

Oars plough wake:
Warn and victim we.

I'm afraid to die
But RJ Reynolds whispers that I'm not
And dying I believe him.

This is not the same as weeping for a cat's mortality."

I also love the line, "Morning comes in its big white hearse," though I do not know where Murphy was going with it upon reading the rest of the poem.

There are other lines that seem a bit absurd, like "Brushing, she bruised her wonderful hair."

Finally, I can only reiterate that I tried very hard to connect with the poet and his world but could only stare in numb confusion at the cacophony of words upon the page.


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