Muses by David Hathwell

Scheffler_ADog'sLife_for-webDavid Hathwell’s Muses is a refreshing homage to nature’s simplicity in a world that is consensually encroached by technology. Hathwell, whose writing style is comparable to that of Robert Frost, indirectly informs the reader that inspiration is found and taken from mundane life. Additionally, Hathwell’s poems remind the reader that inspiration is not necessarily synonymous with joy; rather it is a force that allows certain experiences to burst. Specifically, inspiration (or “muses”) is someone or something that allows creative writers to perceive their thoughts in varying lights.

For example, Hathwell’s “Sure Thing” conveys an admiration between two characters: an individual and his chi. Chi has a variety of meanings but can be rudimentarily classified as an individual’s personal god. “Sure Thing” is from the point of view of the chi, and relates how the chi views its muse or specifically its “human,” in anything but a sure thing. The poem’s complete contradiction to its title is Hathwell’s way of suggesting that individuals are complicated figures, even to an extreme that their chi cannot recognize them. For instance, in the poem the chi views its human in forms such as a cracked red brick to a diamond. Hathwell’s “Sure Thing” strips the readers of their modern connections, and forces them to examine two of society’s oldest things: the individual and his chi. “Sure Thing” is a great representative of reminding readers how exquisitely complicated life and its participles (human, chi, mind, etc.) are in their simplest forms.

Moreover, Hathwell proves that he is uncannily unconventional at writing about the impact of commonplace instances as exemplified in his poem “Victory.” The poem is a witty contemplation of the speaker fantasizing the day he will meet his parents in the afterlife. Hathwell manipulates his diction to provide readers with a front seat into the action, specifically on the day the speaker’s father weds. In a surprise change from the norm, Hathwell’s poem provides the reader with innocuous humiliation and wit in the light of death, as opposed to an expected mournful nature.
Whether the poems are about dancing, dresses, death, or complicated individuals, Hathwell’s clear and fluid writing style prevents any disconnection between the reader and the poem. The lack of haze allows the reader to naturally glide and pause through the poems. In a society that is continuously sleeping with technology, Hathwell’s Muses is a refreshing escape that captures the intimacy of simplicity.

Reviewed by Madhura Nadarajah

$16.00 • 52 pages • Aug. 2016 • ISBN: 978-1-625491992

Muses by David Hathwell is
available on Amazon from David Robert Books

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