Warren L. G. DeMills, Affections (No press listed, 2012)
Had I been planning on giving this any stars, it would have lost them for incomplete information.
Vanity-, POD-, and Self-published poetry comes in two flavors, with no middle ground: it’s either really, really good or really, really bad. If you are familiar with vanity-published work at all, you are probably not surprised by the idea that 90% of the vanity-published books you will pick up are of the latter flavor. When it comes to poetry—and I will admit right up from that my criteria for what makes a great poem is far, far stricter than it is for prose—that number tends to be closer to 99%. Now, why am I telling you all this? Well, there’s the kicker. As I write these words at the end of September 2014, Affections has eight reviews at Amazon. One of them is a three-star review (which to me means “lightly recommended”, since 2.5 is the average). All the rest are either four or five stars. So this has got to be one of the one percent, right?
Well, no. Occupy CreateSpace is in full effect. But you don’t need to take my word for it. But do yourself a favor and don’t commit to the whole thing like I did. A quick perusal of the Look Inside function at Amazon will show you all you need to know. I mean, do you even need to know anything else about a poem called “Dedicated to Cutie”? Well, maybe you do, since you might be thinking it’s an indie rock reference.
“If I could put you into nature
You’d be an exuberant sun
Rising above a colorless sea
Zealously waiting to capture
Your beautiful reflection.”
I should mention, to add to the howls, that the two stanzas before it were of four lines and in relatively strict meter; that fourth line here exists simply because De Mills didn’t spend enough time on this poem to get his third stanza into the same rhythm as the first two. Which leads to the inevitable question: why in the world are you even attempting to publish your work when you haven’t even reached the level of mastery where you understand that if you’re writing a poem with meter, the stanzas should all conform to that meter?
I don’t know what book those other eight people read, but I suspect it was not Affections, which is currently the leader in the race for worst book I have read this year. (zero)