Book Review: How To Sing When People Cut Off Your Head And Leave It Floating In The Water, by Michael Collins



Please note that this is not a sponsored post. The only payment I am receiving for this review is the pleasure of sharing the work of a poet whose words leave me speechless.

It took me a long time to circle around to writing this review. It’s been weeks since my first read-through. Since then, I’ve read this chapbook four more times.

Yes, I’ve read this collection of poems five times. It’s worth noting that I rarely reread anything. Anything that I’ve read more than once qualifies for a very special place of honor on my nightstand.

You might be wondering why it would take me so long to write a review for a book I love enough to read five times in a matter of weeks. To be frank, it’s because I don’t think God Damn! as a stand-alone qualifies as a book review.

Until now, that’s all I was capable of getting out when I tried to talk about it. I’m not going to do justice to Michael Collins’ poetry, and that pains me. It deserves more.

How To Sing When People Cut Off Your Head and Leave It Floating In The Water is street corner blues and ancient mythology, shaking hands over a bridge of timeless relevance. It’s irreverent laughter and the type of grief that keens and wails like a warning in the night.

Michael Collins has succeeded in producing a body of words that will remind you that poetry can be simultaneously deep and easily accessible; a rare feat in a field of publishing that sometimes seems to be dominated by the masturbatory work of academic poetry, written for the sole purpose of flaunting the author’s intelligence (or access to a dictionary and a perverse love of obscure words). It’s a reminder that brilliant writing is meant to clarify, not confuse.

You’ll have plenty of questions after reading this book, but blessedly, “What the hell was he getting at?” won’t be one of them. Michael’s poetry is open to interpretation, while also being refreshingly straightforward in tone and content.

If you’re looking for poetry that is fresh, digestible, and most importantly, actually enjoyable to read, you can buy How To Sing When People Cut Off Your Head And Leave It Floating In The Water on Amazon.


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