"Over the years, I have come to regard death with a bitter kind of fondness, a sadness I have learned to love and admire from a distance." - from "Tax Season," A Citrus Kind of Love by Emmett Ferree
I was lucky enough to get to read an advanced copy of Emmett Ferree's A Citrus Kind of Love, yet another heartstring-pulling installment from Nymeria Publishing. Ferree's raw, emotional poetry comes from a place of otherness in the conservative South, a place I'm all too familiar with. The classic imagery of my home region settled against these dark, painful poems makes them strike home for me and allows me to empathize with Ferree, though our lives have been drastically different.
Ferree is a newcomer with Nymeria Publishing, though he has released one other poetry collection previously, called Beeswax and Other Sticky Things. He takes his inspiration from his own world and especially the people he connects with, including his family and his romantic partners, one of whom - Ayden, according to Ferree in a recent interview for Nymeria Publishing - was the direct subject of many of the poems in this collection.
Throughout the works included in this book, I found myself mourning for this person I'd never known. Ayden, in Ferree's eyes, was a brilliant soul taken too soon by forces beyond anyone's control. Ferree looks at Ayden's passing through the lenses of faith and secularism, traditional mourning and memory, what was left behind, and what this person took with them. The poetry wanders from sunlight summer days under magnolia trees to silent nights in a bed that's too empty, allowing you to sit in the contrast and appreciate it.
Ferree is a master of sensory poetry; his words made it easy for me to taste syrup-sweet oranges, smell the overwhelming magnolia blooms, hear the turning of pages in an old poetry book, see the broken vase with its faded roses, and feel the cold of rushing water. Not only that, but he also uses stark, discordant imagery to take you from a familiar (if you're from the South) feeling straight into the depths of difference and loss. His words paint pictures in your head and heart on every page and really bring you into his world in a way that feels vulnerable and real.
Though many subjects in this collection are difficult to read about and infinitely harder to live through, Ferree offers his readers a sense of peace and, if not acceptance, then understanding of the tragedy-laden world that surrounds us. I absolutely adored this book, and highly recommend giving it a read.
A Citrus Kind of Love is available from Nymeria Publishing. You can buy the book here.