Sunday, June 28, 2009

Fifty Confessions Author: Paul Kiritsis

Genre: poetry

Fifty Confessions is the new collection of poems by award winning poet Paul Kiritsis. The poems reveal, in a raw and very personal fashion, his descent into the darker regions of his own psyche, due to the influence of an undiagnosed illness. The complexity of this descent is influenced by his interests in mythology, occult philosophy, Western alchemy, history, psychology and English literature.
The beginning of the book explains in prose what happened to him during the summer of 1992. Kiritsis was revelling in the excitement of returning from a farm holiday, and was looking forward to his first year of high school when, over the course of a week, he realised that something had changed, and things didn’t feel right within him anymore. He became convinced that he was dying, but although he regularly attended church, he couldn’t bring himself to confess his mortal fears to his local priest.
At the age of twenty-one, he was forced to have a blood test because of his worsening physical symptoms. He was then confronted with what he calls the “unknown enemy”: an undiagnosed illness that all but one of his medical practitioners dismissed as a psychological or illusionary illness.
The poetry of Fifty Confessions is, therefore, an intensely personal revelation of what it is like to live with such an illness. These confessions are grouped chronologically, written in the form of a poetical diary, as he addresses and battles with himself, the illness, the medical profession and the drug companies.
Kiritsis’ modern free verse is sometimes immediate, and at other times he expresses himself through the characters and philosophies of myth, legend and religion. The relationships within this world are frequently dark and troubled. The poems graphically allow the reader to perceive the world through the eyes of a man who is suffering from an indeterminate yet real "unwellness." By openly admitting his fears, frustrations and anger, the poet enables the audience to identify with how someone can live for years with an illness that modern medicine does not understand.
However, there are moments of light and hope. Even though in A Stroke of Wrongness he writes that, "The light seems so much farther, The earth much less nurturing. The water has lost potency In quenching my thirst," his Neo-Platonic or Gnostic belief in a god can appear hopeful. In Have Faith In The Silent Footfalls Of Love, the Divine Physician is described, “As real as the oxygen We breathe into our lungs; Ready to blow fresh Air into their lives If only they just believed.”
Kiritsis offers no simple solutions; this is not a book of happy endings and easy answers, but there is a sense of acceptance and potential hope at the conclusion. In the epilogue, the character of Aphrodite declares, "And when the Golden Age does dawn I’ll scry the old world's stillness, To prove to you that The seed and the sword Cannot be crushed by illness."
Wheldon Curzon-Hobson Allbooks Reviewer.

Format: Paperback
Price: $12.95
Number of pages: 164 pages
June 2009

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