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James Strazza
Author
Lyrical

Adult; Poetry; (Market)

Lyrical is a book of poetry by James Strazza, a music producer, songwriter and talented musician who lost his ability to make music or use a computer due to very severe ME/CFS, a debilitating neurological condition. Strazza turned to writing poetry by speaking to his phone, writing his first poem in July, 2020. With help from his mother, Strazza began posting his poems on Instagram at www.instagram.com/j.s.lyrical. In less than 6 months his poetry page gained more than 10,000 followers from around the world and many of his poems garner thousands of likes.

See his fans rave about his poetry here:

https://www.instagram.com/stories/highlights/17867711120032548/

Since Strazza can't read his own poetry due to his illness, see his fanse read it for you here:

https://www.instagram.com/j.s.lyrical/reels/

 

 

Reviews
Strazza, a former musician and songwriter, “used to think poetry was stupid.” However, he recounts, as his chronic illness worsened, he became bedridden, and he lost his ability to play music, poetry became an expressive outlet and a refuge from his daily struggles. This collection is divided into five sections: “Blowing Kisses,” about love; “Heartache,” about loss and yearning; “Stomach Pains,” about his experiences with illness; “Heretic,” about controversial elements of our world; and a fifth section of song lyrics, blurring the lines between standard poetry and the poetics of music. Through brutal honesty and beautiful metaphor, Strazza offers countless quotable lines about the human condition: “They say the best art comes from pain, / but that’s incorrect. // The best art comes from honesty; it’s just / that pain has a funny way of making / people very honest.” Interspersed with the poems are a few illustrations by various artists that touch on some of the text's themes.

Strazza’s poetic strength shines in his shortest poems of just a few lines, as these allow his exacting word choice and mastery of rhyme to take center stage. His economy of language and punctuation create a sense of closeness between him and the reader. His past experience as a lyricist is evident in his use of metaphor and rhyme; for example, in “Houseplant:” “i’d bloom in early season / and never be a chore / i’d shine my waxy coating / for no other reason / than for you to adore.” “Houseplant” is just one of many poems in which Strazza personifies objects or animals as a way to envision life outside of his bedroom. He also relies on bodily imagery as a way to explain his thoughts and feelings within the confines of his room.

At the end of this collection, Strazza writes: “if you made it this far / you deserve one more kiss blown. // thank you / for taking my heart / into your home.” Sometimes funny, sometimes emotionally gutting, and always beautiful, Strazza’s poems inspire readers to contemplate the importance of words as vehicles for empathy. Readers and music fans will love this poignant collection of masterfully written poems.

Takeaway: Readers and music fans will love this poignant collection of masterfully written poems.

Great for fans of: Rupi Kaur, Rumi’s The Love Poems of Rumi, Leonard Cohen’s Book of Longing.

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

Amazon.com purchaser

Brilliant, beautiful, and heartbreaking. James Strazza captures so many thoughts and feelings so eloquently, cleverly, and concisely. While also not taking himself too seriously.
I hope the window he opens into the world of severe ME/CFS, where so many are trapped, will help mobilize people to cure this horribly neglected disease.

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