Tara Mohr, The Real Life (Tara Mohr, 2011)
(note: review originally published 27Sep2011)
I can’t remember who first recommended The Real Life to me, which is a blessing… for that person. I’ve had the file sitting around on the reader waiting for me to get to it for quite a while, which helped me to forget, if I ever knew, that Mohr is not a poet, but an inspirational speaker and “life coach”. If you read that sentence and alarm bells start going off in your head, congratulations, you win the prize.
This is horrific. It barely qualifies as a loose collection of those awful self-help sound bites you find carved into rocks on the mahogany desks of people who need to feel good about themselves when they fire workers because the company’s profit margin is dipping below four figures (without the decimal point), much less poetry. Don’t believe me? Get a load of the opening lines of the very first piece here:
“Don’t be greedy with the universe, she said to me.
But she didn’t say it in the mean way.
She didn’t say don’t dream big, don’t want things, don’t think you deserve.
She meant: look at your life and trust it.”
(“The Real Life”)
It gets worse after that, if you can imagine such a thing. Where are the images? Where’s the poetic language, the sense of rhythm and form, anything that makes a poem a poem? Not here, I’ll tell you that.
This little ebook runs eight pages, which is eight pages too long. The only reason it doesn’t get a zero is that there are some pretty cool photographs and paintings illustrating this mess. Which makes this a book for illiterates; they’ll be able to appreciate the pictures without having their minds flensed by the godawful writing. ½