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A Dream of Unfettered Roses (2012): Please, Fetter Them

Charles Moffat, A Dream of Unfettered Roses (poetry.charlesmoffat.com, 2012)

A painting by Moffat of a naked woman holding a flower adorns the book cover.

I considered NC-17ing the review because of the cover. But no matter how much of a prude you are, it’s the LEAST offensive thing about this book.
photo credit: Amazon

I kind of wanted to like this book after I read the Foreword, despite the fact that it was presented to me as a “Forward”. The author seemed affable enough, though in hindsight I should have probably realized he was trying to put a good face on things. He did mention that the book had been proofread a number of times and that any misspellings left were deliberate. I always take that as a good sign. He also mentioned that he likes to receive gentle criticism, specifically as compared to “rudely worded emails”, and I should have gathered from this that he’s received a lot more of the latter. But I am ever the optimist until I am in fact presented with stuff like

“Women are a force of nature
Greater than any hurricane
Men are helpless against that force
Unless we’re gay”
[ed. note: formatting corrected, see below]

I honest to pete laughed out loud at that last line. Which might be a good thing if Moffat were going for comedy here, but he’s not. He’s dead serious, to the point of using poetry to dispense advice (in all caps, no less):

“People who love only sex
are really just pathetic.

The virtue of karma in relationships is such that it makes justice poetic. Finding genuine love and kindness makes two lovers positively magnetic. Lust is the mere by-product of affection, but true love is both prophetic and unapologetic. ALWAYS FOLLOW YOUR HEART.”

Remember that bit I mentioned in the first paragraph about how he’d specifically pointed out that it was proofread? That is probably the case with the draft, but as you might be able to tell from that excerpt, no one looked at the final copy to make sure the line breaks had carried over. Oops. And I will say that normally I let that kind of thing go (though when it’s occasional, not when it’s the six lines of your last stanza, that’s not the only place it occurs in that poem, and that’s the norm in the book, not the exception), but when you make it a point to talk in the foreword about how your book was proofread…

So we’ve covered unintentional humor, poetry as advice, and formatting problems. If you are a forgiving sort and need a fourth strike, how about places where it’s painfully obvious the author was, we’ll be kind and say, reaching, for a rhyme? Sometimes you’ve got a chasm in front of you, and no one’s got this kind of reach…

“What scares me is I understand how you think
Your obsessive personality disorder makes me blink”

Actually, I’m going to tell you you may need to shell out the shekels for this one just so you can see how much more ridiculous that particular piece gets. Like T. P. Mina’s immortal In My Eyes, this is a work that is so phenomenally awful that it circles back around into a kind of cheesy greatness. Were this a movie, it would be The Room. (zero)

About Robert "Goat" Beveridge

Media critic (amateur, semi-pro, and for one brief shining moment in 2000 pro) since 1986. Guy behind noise/powerelectronics band XTerminal (after many small stints in jazz, rock, and metal bands). Known for being tactless but honest.

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