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Some Melt Stars For Crowns by Vincent Hollow, Irene Manacos (Illustrator)

Absorbing and electric… A hauntingly melancholic work that stretches the imagination.

Hauntings and nightmares of unnamed protagonists come to life with macabre imagery and verses woven in melancholy and terror in this elegiac and compellingly absorbing volume by Hollow. The book tackles death, decay, grief, and longing with gruesome imagery scattered throughout. The opening poem, “starlight webs,” lays out the poet’s intentions: “ocean/ restless as a child/ stretching starlight/ into intricate webs/ before breaking apart/ and leaving me/ tangled in the foam/ devoured/ by its umbra.” The protagonist in “guide to our anatomy” holds nothing back, spilling their soul into spellbinding odes to pain, death, devastation, and decay: “all of our limbs/ dissected, mutilated/ we’re magnetized to/ sharp objects/ and the shards of our vanity/ all the pieces we never knew/ we were made of/ cataloged in lines of gunpowder/ and cocaine.” The graphic depictions of death and decay are unsettling, increasing in intensity as the narrative moves forward. In “arms full of lavender,” Hollow writes: “on the crescent scythe/ hangs her body/ dismembered/ sprouting arms/ full of lavender/ sphinxes and hawks/ making braids/ of her twisted, frayed locks.” Hollow employs cadence and repetition to great effect in multiple poems, with the theme of death and decay appearing almost everywhere. Occasionally, emotional undercurrents flow over, as in the protagonist’s somewhat sentimental but macabre remembrance of lost time in “rose murder.”  In the hauntingly beautiful “ad infinitum” and “trip the light fantastic,” Hollow delivers subtle turns of phrase alongside a forlorn yet purposeful tone. The slightly melancholic ambience of “night life” is enchanting: “what if dreams/ are memories/ from the lives/ we live at night?/ no wonder/ i have trouble/ waking up.” Melancholic “slow dances don’t last forever,” pays tribute to the love long lost “in the flickering light/ your feet sway/ slow, off tempo/ creaking marionette/ pendulum princess” whereas “house of wax” mourns a place where “everyone burns/ no one stays the same/ rising fever and ardor/ our blood trickles/ through veins reformed.” Some of the poems shimmer with innovative lyricism and emotional vulnerability—“kissing fire,” particularly touches the heat: “you’re so perfect/ i’m so blue/ a smooth delicate liss/ on sober lips.” The poems balance imagery from death and decay, drawing as well from horror elements, thus intensifying the feeling of standing astride an unsettlingly dark world. There is desolation, with many of the poems straddling a nostalgic past and an unsettled present. Readers seeking a hauntingly beautiful collection will take pleasure in Hollow’s sometimes-scary, sometimes haunting but utterly gloomy collection.

Some Melt Stars For Crowns

Vincent Hollow, Irene Manacos (Illustrator)

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Pub date March 17, 2022

ISBN ‎ 979-8765523100

Price $6.99 (USD) Paperback

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