Poems from Quarantine


Loved it! 😍

A collection interweaving vivid, purposeful imagery with throught-provoking pieces of artwork.

As with The Thirteenth Circle, Chaz Allen writes poetry which is poised and posed to make the reader think. Exploring a myriad of topics, Allen’s work has clear aims and intentions. My only concern, again, is whether it reaches these.

I remain unsettled by the writer’s voice interrupting the reading. Frequently, Allen seeks to explain their poetry and I am a firm believer that poetry speaks for itself. Poetry is subjective and should be allowed the space to breathe. The reader should be allowed to respond to a collection without the writer narrating it for them. Of course, ‘Jennings’, about Allen’s grandfather has a moving explanation but this read more as a tribute and could almost have been a poetic/prose piece in itself. But other narrations seem to come from either a place of insecurity, self-indulgence or both, and it is a shame because I think Allen’s poetry does speak for itself. I would love the opportunity to respond to their work without an explanation.

Especially, as Allen’s overarching structure is tremendous. The poetry and artwork lead wonderfully into the next; almost as if they fold into each other (which makes the sudden appearance of the writer a hindrance). In comparison to The Thirteenth Circle, Allen’s imagery has improved greatly too - with an economy of language reminiscent of Hemingway or Frost, Allen’s images are stark and purposeful. The longer form poems are definitely the best examples of this; the shorter pieces / one liners often felt redundant or stunted. Allen’s talent certainly shines when the work is fleshed out. Particular favourites were ‘Lost Poem’, ‘Shimmer’ and ‘The Dopamine Fade’ for their vivid portrayal of introspection while reflecting on the world around the speaker.

Lastly, the artwork is superb in this collection. The pieces are shared sparingly but complemented the work wonderfully. 

Thus, Allen is undeniably talented, I just wish they would trust us with the power to respond rather than seek to explain their words. This body of work could speak loudly for itself, if only it were allowed. 

Reviewed by

I am a writer and freelance editor/proofreader based in the UK. I have self-published two poetry collections (Between the Trees and Flowers on the Wall). I enjoy reviewing poetry, short stories, literary fiction and historical fiction. I am the Editor-in-Chief for Free Verse Revolution magazine.


About the author

Chaz Allen is an American poet based in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Allen’s poems are often wrapped in allegory, metaphor, abstraction, and invite the reader to dig deeper than what's on the surface alone. view profile

Published on March 01, 2021

7000 words

Genre: Poetry

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