There’s a Person in Here by James Patrick
‘A collection of short stories and poems about holding on, letting go, and the space-in-between,’ James Patrick’s There’s a Person in Here is an intriguing reflection of one’s man life, through the ups and downs that he has undergone. By mixing constructed prose that tell short narratives, with poetic forms that elicit less concrete ideas and recollections, Patrick succeeds at keeping his book interesting at all times. The author’s writing is structured around loss, as he began writing back in 1989 after the unexpected death of his parents, taking the reader to the end of where his words come to rest, at the time he loses his eldest son. His writing captures heartbreak, and how the world can continually mystify the soul, as we search for answers, trying to comprehend why things have gone in the way they have. Covering all aspects of a man’s life, There’s a Person in Here has its own triumphs and tribulations, the forms the author writes in constantly alternating as he strings you along through his personal journey, reflecting on his life, and in turn causing you to think about your own.
While the cover of the book is a bit off-putting, due to the way the eyes of the person pictured seemingly pierce your soul, it actually tends to fit the overall tone and themes of the book. Life is a distracted mess of mishaps strung together by memories. By claiming that there is a person inside of this book, James Patrick begs the reader to go further along with his words, inviting them to come along with him as he recounts his life through the written verse. The poems often change shapes, lengths, thus showcasing that as a poet he is capable of alternating his style, which not all writers can claim. Right around the hundredth page of the collection, we are introduced to ‘Openings’ which includes ‘forty-seven first sentences of short stories not yet written.’ While this may seem like an incomplete way to read or write anything, the beginnings of each of these unfinished stories actually showcase a lot about the writer, and relate his art back to life, as aren’t we all living in a similar way? Isn’t this just a life that has started, is still being written, and has yet to be finished? There’s a Person in Here is certainly the kind of book that you will have a hard time forgetting.
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