Keaton Henson is by far one of my favorite musicians/artist. As a poet when I listen to music I focus heavily on the lyrics and he has always had a way of cutting to the core with his words. More so though he also found a way to captivate me with his instrumental album Romantic Works, which is quite hard to do. However this is not about his music; very recently Keaton published his first poetry book, Idiot Verse, and naturally I almost pissed myself with excitement once my copy arrived.
It begins with a small note from Henson. Your life is a book – it is more than its first and last page – and mostly made up of ‘and’s and ‘theses then proceeds into the first poem of the book in which is also written to the reader specifically asking them to “please read as though sleeping” and stating in his own words that there is no point in wasting time trying to find the metaphors and alternate meanings behind the words in the book, that what is written simply is. There is something tragically beautiful about this start. As is common with Henson’s work, and well as far as openings go he definitely nailed it.
As one continues to read it is quite clear that Keaton manages to take the pain and loneliness from his songs and found a way to paste it onto paper perfectly. It’s no secret to any of his fans that he struggles with social anxiety and depression, that he has gone through quite some heartbreak in his life that fuels his art. Somehow he manages to make misery and heartache alluring, which in my opinion, is an extreme success for a writer. Although most fans would expect a book mainly about heartbreak and longing, there are a few surprises thrown about. There’s a poem about performing live that hits the reader pretty hard and some about living in general, on writing, and a couple poems that give us a glimpse into his family life and places that have held with him…and maybe he wishes hadn’t.
In conclusion I have to say it is probably one of the best poetry books I have read in 2016, and as a writer myself it has inspired some new writings as well as just made me think on some things in a different way. As artists this is what we strive for in other work. For the fans out there who aren’t writers/artists themselves but just enjoy a nice read, the book is written in a straightforward simple way that anyone could connect to and find something to love in and isn’t a long read either. I suggest taking a nice bubble bath with some candles and ambient music on with a glass a wine while reading, that seemed to work for me ;]
Lexi Spino is a 24 year old poet from the small sad town of York, PA. When she isn’t writing or slaying burritos at the locally owned shop Roburritos, she is moshing around local punk shows, running around like a five year old with her daughter, and judging/supporting other people’s art. She is currently in the middle of editing and publishing her second poetry book [her first one called I’m A Wanderer, Not A Runaway is still for sale though limited supply] and is also working on a novel that will most likely never be finished. Follow her on instagram at lexi.spino for upcoming shows and info on her second book, as well as witty one liners and drunk short poems. You can also find her on facebook at www.facebook.com/lexi.spino.