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Reviewed by Jamie Michele for Readers' Favorite
Counting Days by Erric Emerson is an immersive book of personal poetry, formatted to read in a chronological, storytelling order of days. Each heading is titled with a typed font and followed with scribbled and free-scratched numbers, and a rogue Giant Translucent Wolf Spider. The formatting of the book is almost as intense and provocative as the poems themselves...almost. The poetry dances between internal feelings and outward observations, fuelled by strong drinks, nicotine, and all the seemingly banal lives of people (and sometimes animals) surrounding him. But they aren't banal at all. In fact, Emerson augments vapid encounters, magnifying them to a point where they are intensely felt. From "A Nicholas Sparks Matinée", where a couple are on a date he's witnessing, to "The Stay-Alive Place" where the reader is taken into rehab, and on to "Up" and a sexual encounter with a coworker, Emerson weaves a vision of life from the inside out in a wildly poetic and intelligent body of work.
Poetry is never easy to review because it's entirely subjective and very, very personal. That said, Counting Days by Erric Emerson is truly a journey that I was enthralled by--even if it's difficult to say I was happy to experience it, given its serious undertones. It was the personal interactions, the human emotion that I most appreciated. This is enhanced by the arrangement, which is curative and artistic. I enjoyed "Aureole", a poem that rings around in the shape of a breast and starts with, "...The car was driven in circles so we could find a safe place to park..." This is certainly a book of poetry that will leave you thinking long after you've read the last line.