Bellezza’s Text Is Spirited But Weighed Down By Clutter
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She is not a text designed for light or easy reading. As no poems appear until nineteen pages in, some individuals may lack the patience to search them out and give up before reading any poetry at all. Worse, when the poems do finally show themselves, they arrive in an avalanche. The crowed formatting poet Thomas J. Bellezza has chosen unfortunately creates an intense sense of claustrophobia. Individual poems should be allowed to shine. Each should be able to utilize the page as their own spotlight, but instead as soon as one ends, another poem is stepping on its feet. Bellezza doesn’t allow his poems to soak into the psyche or even give the reader time to appreciate his efforts as a writer.
His opening piece, “ABC’s of Touch” is a clever and playful little thing but Bellezza has fallen into the same trap his fellow lover of writing, Robert A. Cozzi did. Like Cozzi, he could not pare down his work into an appetizing, yet springy collection. The result is poetry engorged on itself. There was clearly a discerning attitude applied in the creation of the aforementioned poem. It is succinct, well designed and fun to read. If only such an attitude had been employed when designing the rest of the text.
The collection reads less like a poetry collection and more like a textbook about poetry which comes complete with footnotes and extraneous information from the author. The need for an editorial eye is incredibly strong here. There are enough poems in this work for two, if not three collections. It is nigh impossible to finish the work as trying to read through it results in a complete visual overload.
Bellezza includes a touching story of the encouragement he received from a teacher when he first wrote a poem as child. The poet has grown since his initial encounter with verse but he still seems to be tangling with it. There is also the question of what this text is exactly. Is it a memoir? A collection of loosely connected creative pieces Bellezza has worked on over the years? Bellezza states that this is a collection of poems but many arguments could counter that claim. One of which being that the text is split into three sections only one of which is named ‘Poems.’ The other two are entitled as ‘Lyrics’ and ‘Lord Telmorn Altayon.’
This last section was incredibly befuddling as the name appears quite often throughout the text in relation to other poems and lyrics, but with no explanation as to who this character is. Upon investigation, it was discovered that Lord Telmorn is Bellezza’s musical performance persona and this character has a very intricate lore tied to him. It would have been helpful to readers unfamiliar with this character to explain a bit about him in the beginning of the text.
In fact, there appears to be such a rich source of background material to this character that, realistically, Bellezza could write a work of poetry dedicated solely to this character and create a verse novel like Stephen Page or Connor Charlton have done.
This is not an attack on nontraditional formatting of poetry texts. It is an appeal to all poets that they swing a razor blade enthusiastically at their work so, in Bellezza’s own words, the poetry can be “…freeing.” Creativity runs rampant in this work. Focused and channeled, it could become a formidable entity. Those curious to learn more about Bellezza’s She, published in 2018, can order the collection online or through local bookstores.
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