For me, I Watched You Disappear: Poems by Anya Krugovoy Silver is a collection that started off strong, weakened immensely in the middle but managed to bring itself back up near the final part.
My first issue with this collection is that there are simply too many direct statements and questions. The former of which I find not poetic and the latter of which I think don’t work as well as they’re supposed to. In a way, they make the poems ugly, clashing with the phrases that are poetic and as a result, creating this uncomfortable teetering between the poetic and the not poetic. Should this teetering be done on purpose to create a juxtaposition between two things, then brilliant, goal achieved! Should it not be done on purpose, well…it’s just not my cup of tea.
My second issue is that even though Silver forms tangible enough imagery in each of her poems—sufficiently strong to feel the phantom of emotions, it’s neither solid nor bold enough for me to really feel as though I was the persona. I think one of the powers of good poetry involves being able to consume the reader, whether partially or wholly, and resonate with them to the point that they can really imagine themselves as the persona. A few times, I was disappointed in the poems because they start off so strong but end/continue weakly. I can feel the intention of the poet, imagine the emotions she’s trying to imbue into her words, but as I try to wholly immerse myself into it, it’s the same words that cut me off.
Other than that, I find that a little too many of the poems here read more like small narratives instead of poetry. For instance, the second section where Silver offers a sequence of poems based on the Brothers Grimm’s fairy tales. Even though I’m a huge fan of fairy tales, my love for them couldn’t make me love the second section of Silver’s collection of poems. They don’t sound poetic enough (phonaesthetic devices of poetry, where you at?) to be categorized as poetry to me and that’s troubling because sound is really important.
All the things I didn’t like about this collection aside, there are a handful of well crafted poems here, and there is a number of beautiful metaphors, similes and just phrases in general that I find brilliant. Even so, the number of those versus what I didn’t like, isn’t sufficient to make me adore the majority of this collection. Though, I can appreciate it still. Nevertheless, I’d still check out Silver’s other published books just to see if it was this specific collection that was more miss than hit for me or just her style in general.