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Saturday, October 2, 2010

Poetry from Vitori Reviewed

King of the Empty Kingdom: And Selected Works

F. D. Vitori (Author)
Paperback: 52 pages
Publisher: CreateSpace (August 16, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1453710388
ISBN-13: 978-1453710388
Genre: Poetry

Review originally published on

King of the Empty Kingdom is a book of selected poems that profoundly revere human life and experience in all its beauty, ugliness, and perseverance. Each is tempered by the poet's keen awareness of mortality as evidenced in the title poem, The String, and Scream.
I find some of the love poems simplistic. Although not unenjoyable, they lack the gravitas of the other works included here. As the poet stated in his preface, some of these poems are from "a younger time". F.D. Vitori has a strong sense of language and self-expression, particularly in some beautiful turns of phrase:

"the infant grass glistened" from Birdsong.

"Each too small to fathom the event" from The Last of The First Moment.

"but the more you you touch the fire, the less it burns.

Or, there is less left to burn" from A Wayward Spiral.

"There is more darkness than can be lit by a candle." from With Eyes Lowered.

"I am a miserable tangle of thought and emotion,
The bastard son of perspective and notion" from The Truth in Me.

"The frog does not look up and wish to be a bird." from The Heralding.
There are potent recurring themes in these works that appeal to my personal tastes a great deal, such as love, hate, fate, humanity, survival, catharsis, and self-realization. This thematic pattern turns up often. Most notably in Color Blind, War, King, The Truth in Me, Time and Life, Visage, Father, and The Voice. It takes a lot of experience and working through the world's "babble" to achieve wisdom and self-realization. I use babble because the poet uses this word in both View and The Voice. In counterpoint to the drive for self-realization, the poet also cautions against hubris in King with:

"Take away my throne

and I am plain,

Therefore, even I can be slain."
The centerpiece of this collection is, of course, the title poem--King of the Empty Kingdom. This poem recalls the strong narratives and storytelling of the pre-Romantic and Romantic period poets such as Milton and Blake. King of the Empty Kingdom is artfully crafted with a solid narrative and thematically cohesive. The poem opens in sorrowful contemplation and ends in joyful appreciation of life, reasserting the poet's note that Life is "the most beautiful lady of all".
As a collective work, the poetry is a strong debut from a new voice in poetry that honors the traditions of the past.
Personal Favorite: Time and Life

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