A Farewell to Demons
I was lucky enough to receive this ebook for free from the author, Dean Tongue, and experience something a little different from my usual fare of reading. I have been a long-standing fan of spoken-word poetry from people like Levi MacAllister and Clint Smith III, but written poetry is a rare thing for this old salt.
Much of the book is driven by Dean Tongue's experiences in life and especially those supported and wrought by the people in his life. Most importantly, the effect of his girlfriend and partner on his situation is the most prominent feature of a lot of the book. Some of the poems struck as something written by a love-struck teen such as a large number of poems I wrote myself and now cringe at. However, these same poems have a rawness about them and I have the feeling that Dean Tongue did not polish them up all that much (if at all) before publication. The first few poems left me with that “teenage poem book that usually gets hidden at the back of the underwear drawer” feel.
It was after a few poems that Tongue's creativity and skill emerge and begin to really come into their own. The book is arranged in such a way, that the author seems to really hit his stride after a few “warm ups”. “Tomorrow's Rainbow” is a case in point where Tongue cleverly arranges not only the content of the poem but the structure of it. I have to admit to being too slow to pick up what he was doing until the end. There are a number of poems that genuinely surprise and delight with the structural and language play they contain.
A large number of the poems also explicitly express another major driving force behind Tongue's creative output in poetry: helping other people who are going through dark times such as he himself has experienced. Tongue is not simply writing poetry for himself and his own healing process, but is also reaching out to others who may need someone to come alongside them. This motivation makes the book a beautiful thing indeed that goes beyond the artform and attempts to make a difference. A lot of the poems end with some form of life advice for the reader, a kind of guide to getting on with life and getting through some of the crap that the world throws at you.
As made explicit in the book, Dean Tongue is writing for an audience of one (I would say an audience of two, though). He is writing what he wants and he has the courage to put it out there and let people into what is going on. A Farewell to Demons, the follow-up to Agressive Depressive, is a book of raw edginess that is honest and gritty. This is a guy who has clearly come through some pretty dark valleys and come through with a lot wisdom and guts.
Postscript I also wanted to express my gratitude to Dean Tongue for his generosity in providing A Farewell to Demons for free. If you want to find out more about a prolific author with a really positive outlook on life, you can find Dean Tongue at these places.