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Diane Vallere

Headhunter Poems

Headhunter Poems - Ken Greenley, Angela Mark, Chuck Svoboda Headhunter Poems is a free verse poetry book that tackles the societal downfall that America is enduring. It covers issues such as the recession, or in his case, the Second Great Depression” as well as the environment, politics, and wasted life. The overall tone of the book is bleak and depressing; it is similar to the future of America according to the opinion of some readers. There is little room for optimism although there is the occasional glimmer of hope, just enough to keep a reader slightly above despondent. Headhunter Poems is thought-provoking, emotionally challenging and very entertaining. It’s worth a read but it may take a reader by surprise if not emotionally prepared for the depth of the content.

Originally plunging into this book having no clue as to what to expect from it, it was a big surprise. The cover alone is dark and the first poem is about a coffin. It’s not gory or gruesome; there is intent for dark humor and positivity but the tone for me was very bleak. It appears that the intent was for the poems to be darkly humorous and to provide a message of hope and endurance through even the bleakest and most hopeless of times. The concern I have with recommending this book to every reader is that anyone who is already feeling despair or doubt over the future could find themselves feeling even more depressed. A person must already have a glimmer of optimism and hope in order to appreciate the underlying currents of endurance within these poems.

The poems in Headhunter Poems are very straightforward and understandable. While they do contain metaphor and symbolism they are overly vague and do not require deep analysis to understand. They are written for the everyman reader and are regarding life events that are very relatable. The poems are technically written very well and cannot be criticized for lack of structure or rhythm. They are well-constructed and properly formatted; grammatically there are no errors. Overall, the book was well-written.

Greenley mentions, in his bio that, “The number of places he's lived is only exceeded by the number of jobs he's had” and he uses his vast experiences to provide deep insight into the content and themes of his poems. The poems have a broad scope of content and, as has been referenced multiple times, are darkly humorous but it is a humor that won’t appeal to all readers. If a reader enjoy dark content and black comedy then this is certainly a collection of poems worth reading.

Review by Caitlin Waldrop
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