The Thirteenth Circle is a collection of 66 poems written by American Poet, Chaz Allen. Aiming to provoke thought about one’s nature, and autobiographical in style, the author shares explicit details of his life and what inspired certain pieces. The poems within, often tied to metaphor, allegory, and abstraction, invite the reader to reach far past the surface. Themes explored include: Faith and Spirituality, Love, Depression and Mental Health, as well as Growth and Evolution. The Thirteenth Circle includes content and imagery that are original works of art.
The collection aims to walk readers through the written journey alongside the author. Its intent is to invoke thought and contemplation amongst its readers. The collections ultimate purpose, in the end, is to inspire those who read it to believe in what they are capable of becoming. Life has a way of “happening” to of all us. Sometimes it’s in our favor and sometimes it’s not.
The Thirteenth Circle exists as a candid and factual account of what one may overcome. Its poems are visceral, thought provoking, and poised to uphold those of any race, creed, or nationality who’ve faced diversity and struggle.
Allen’s The Thirteenth Circle is a debut which explores man’s relationship with faith, temptation and possessing a sense of self. Through a combination of poems, drawings and autobiographical excerpts. Allen tells his story in the hope others can relate and find solace.
The drawings are fascinating; each one a different style, only the characteristic colours of black, red and white remain the same. The poems which followed these illustrations stand out as a result - they are often transcripts of the wordless images and this insight into a creative’s mind is incredibly refreshing.
Allen’s frequent autobiographical ‘pitstops’ were too. Very few writers ever feel the need to explain their work, so at first I looked on these snippets with concern. However, Allen only ever stops to build upon the poem, rather than dismantle it. One poem, about suicide ideation, led to Allen questioning the rise in mental illness in recent years and how culpable modern society is. Thus, Allen uses his work to open up a dialogue with his reader.
The poetry itself ranged from mediocre to brilliant. Many added little to what Allen was hoping to achieve; caught up in so much abstraction they became meaningless. However Allen is clearly talented, it is just perhaps the editing and structure of this collection which could have been improved.
Nevertheless, Allen’s collection offers poetry readers something new and fresh. Many shall find solace and their own meanings in the more abstract pieces.