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Before the Distance

Adult; Poetry; (Market)

Poetry Chapbook of poems about living in the time of pandemic.
Reviews
Trozzolo’s charming and breezy collection of poems about life during the era of social distancing acknowledges the hardships of the pandemic while sounding a hopeful note. His sense of humor is cheeky and playful, as in “Heavy,” which uses a vertical stacking structure to indicate thinness as he suggests even writing a short poem can be beneficial. “Reputation” is similarly sarcastic, as Trozzolo notes how unusually nice he’s being to people, and how “If this virus doesn’t kill me/ It’s going to ruin my/ Respectability.” The verses are alternately reflective, mournful, fearful, wistful, and anxious. Trozzolo covers a lot of ground with a pithy style that gets straight to the point but never takes itself too seriously.

While Trozzolo is usually thoughtful in formulating his observations and ruminations, most of these poems have a spontaneous feel to them. They quickly and sketchily capture a mood, as in “Walls”: “Can you/ Climb walls/ while/ Sitting in a/ Chair?” These brief verses are more effective than some of the longer poems, such as the overly labored “Blue,” which loses its impact as Trozzolo works hard to create rhymes. Trozzolo’s humor also works best in small bursts, as opposed to poems like “It Is,” in which Trozzolo belabors references to the song “You’re So Vain” in order to craft a joke.

Most of Trozzolo’s poems don’t fall into the trap of being clever for their own sake. Even when he’s playing around, he focuses on communicating his ideas through vivid, spare imagery. He’s candidly direct and sincere in expressing his thoughts on how the pandemic has changed daily life, and communicates gratitude for the remnants of meaning he can still find. Trozzolo distinctively touches on the strangeness of pandemic life while embracing its absurdity, and his quirky poems offer laughter and genuine insight without being pretentious.

Takeaway: Readers looking for a poetic take on life sheltering at home during the pandemic will relish Trozzolo’s wit, empathy, and economy of words.

Great for fans of Kit Falbo’s Pandemic Poems, Christoffer Petersen’s Pandemic Poetry.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: -
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A

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