New Zealand poet John Bryden explores the nature of freedom, of power, and the relationship between the citizen and the state in this short volume of largely metrical prosody. Poetry forms used here include linked limericks, poetry to tunes of iconic songs, with strong attention to rhyme and meter. Themes of freedom are interspersed with witty, often sardonic exploration of power, leadership and its abuse, while some of these poems explore the internal yearnings each of us have to cut loose and make a break for it. A beautiful response to Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah, picking up and carrying through the Biblical themes had us singing along. Poetry-as-song, as rhythm, as pulse, sing through this volume.
In places the meter stuck, and the volume — independently published — could have done with better editing and perhaps trimming down. Not every poem here struck a chord and as such this affected the emotional impact of the ones that did. In addition the Amazon version we downloaded suffers from the bain of all independent poetry publishers, Kindle Formating, which meant the beauty of the concrete poem Anvil was somewhat destroyed in the process. As a result this volume, from cover design to internal formatting, lacked proper presentation in its electronic format, which impacted the reading experience.
Nevertheless, what cannot be denied is that this is a wonderful little collection of verse: moving, insightful and, in places, wickedly funny.