Opening Nick Flynn's first published book of poetry, Some Ether, is like peering through a textured window. While the colors and images are sharp, the objects and sentiments are distorted—candidates for unique interpretations. Flynn's fragmented poetry reflects his confusion in coping with his mother's suicide. Many poetic devices illustrate his surging emotions—primarily his use of line/stanza breaks and voice. The enjambment and variation in points of view emphasize Flynn's belief that there is more than one way to interpret each poem.
[...] Analyzing committing suicide from his mother's perspective is a coping mechanism, demonstrating Flynn's desperation to still remain close to the memory of his mother. However, forgoing his own voice in the poem displays a distance he keeps from his self. When examined on a less superficial level, the content of the selected pieces contains an abundance of poetic devices. A blend of vivid imagery and hyperbole presents Flynn's poetry as concrete and effective. His attention to visual details breathes life into eerie scenery and events. [...]
[...] In order to discover an underlying theme to Flynn's poetry, it is essential to examine the selected poems as a group, in general. There are so many wonderful images on which to stumble that singling out each one individually would not do the bigger picture justice. Sometimes to understand the most complicated subjects, we must resort to asking basic questions. For instance, what is exactly happening in Flynn's poems? In many of the selected poems, he simulates conversations, literally inventing what someone might say or think in a particular situation. [...]
[...] The separation of that line from the remainder of the sentence allows the reader to digest his connection before moving on. The line breaks and stanza breaks mid sentence are characteristic of the rest of Flynn's poetry, representing a stream of conscience thought process. This choppy quality emphasizes Flynn's uncertainty and inner turmoil regarding his mother's death. In addition Flynn's use of syntax further conveys feelings of confusion as long sentences followed by questions are a common occurrence. Firstly, long sentences add to the spontaneous stream-of-conscience effect and make the poems read more colloquially. [...]
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