ARC Review: The World Isn’t the Size of our Neighborhood Anymore

An Indie Film in Verse

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Austin Davis’ soon to be released The World Isn’t the Size of our Neighborhood Anymore is an intriguingly endearing work of poetry. It is full of youthful energy that swells and twirls through the verses; however, Davis’ work could use a bit more artistic finesse. Davis’ poetry is good, there is no argument on that account. His collection is built upon solid bones, but he hasn’t quite mastered the technique of artful critiques. Unfortunately, there are poems like “The Hole” and “Toxic Masculinity” which fall short of their goals simply because the verses are so blatant in their message that they fall into a form of preaching rather than poetry.

Although, Davis does weave some interesting imagery into “Summer’s Over”. He diverts from the usual romanticism poets adorn Autumn with and instead describes the turning leaves as the “…yellowing / like teeth who’ve tasted / too many puffs of smoke.” These lines add a necessary edge to the overall whimsical text. Davis does try to add some grit in a few of pieces but it reads as play acting. The effort is not wholly unconvincing but rather, it is a tad over the top. Yet, in the selected lines above, the quick bite is so effortless it’s shocking. And that is what makes them successful. In those lines, the readers can finally feel the poet’s ability to snap when needed.

“I Don’t Remember Being Born on Mars” is another piece that is quietly mesmerizing. Here, the speaker washes readers in “…the rainbows / we found in tar bubbles / on timeless summer evenings”. Davis’ poems are the incarnation of the intoxicating smile of that freshman college love – so lovely but not grown up just yet.

These poems are actually an indie film playing out between the covers. This collection is so desperately earnest and romantic it doesn’t matter how sappy the whole thing could end up being in the end. The reader’s heart strings are beguilingly led by the hand into the

Austin Davis’ soon to be released The World Isn’t the Size of our Neighborhood Anymore is an interesting work of poetry. It is full of youthful energy that swells and twirls through the verses; however, Davis’ work could use a bit more artistic finesse. Davis’ poetry is good, there is no argument on that account. His collection is built upon solid bones, but he hasn’t quite mastered the technique of artful critiques. Unfortunately, poems like “The Hole” and “Toxic Masculinity” fall short of their goals because the verses are so blatant in their message that they forget to be poetic.

Davis does cast an interesting image in “Summer’s Over”. He diverts from the usual romanticism poets adorn Autumn with and instead describes the turning leaves as the “…yellowing / like teeth who’ve tasted / too many puffs of smoke.” These lines add a necessary edge to the overall whimsical text. Davis does try to add some grit in a few of pieces but it reads as play acting. The effort is not wholly unconvincing but rather, it is a tad over the top. In the selected lines above, the quick bite is so effortless, it’s shocking. And that is what makes them successful. In those lines, readers can finally feel the inner snap of the poet.

“I Don’t Remember Being Born on Mars” is another piece that is quietly mesmerizing. Here, the speaker washes readers in “…the rainbows / we found in tar bubbles / on timeless summer evenings”. Davis’ poems are the incarnation of the intoxicating smile of that freshman college love – so lovely but not grown up just yet.

These poems are actually an indie film playing out between the covers. This collection is so desperately earnest and romantic it doesn’t matter how sappy the whole thing could end being in the end. The readers are taken by the hand into “…the middle / of this green and gold cornfield…” where their heartstrings feel the pull of lost nights where they felt like they could’ve floated straight off the ground into a cataclysmic grouping of volatile stars. But the insertion of some pontifical pieces do aggressively pop the glistening soap bubble of fireflies.

The World Isn’t the Size of our Neighborhood Anymore will be released March 2020 through Weasel Press but is available for pre-order. Davis’ work will surely only grow in poetic prowess with time and this charming collection is an impressive start to his tenure as a wordsmith.

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