The narrator realises the mother can no longer speak to him he returns to this word in a deeply moving elegy what kind of story do I tell apple is the longest story I know let s see how does it go again apple apple apple Sexton has a fantastic gift for capturing an internal space and making it accessible to the reader He writes with maturity and patience allowing his elegies to enter the reader s mind and creating an intimacy and as well as an expansive view of the modern world The idea of centring a collection around a video game might feel gimmicky in lesser hands but here it lends only depth and focus to the word Sexton s voice and his work feel entirely fresh and entirely assured what he is doing may be new but he is completely in control I am moved excited and enthralled by this collection Full disclosure I have never in my life played
Super Mario World If All the World and Love Were Young is a Mario World If All the World and Love Were Young is a of poems structured around Nintendo s classic Super Mario World In this otherworldly narrative Stephen takes us not only through the game s levels as the visceral flowered landscapes bleed into our world but also a step further along in his mother s cancer journey The collection is an imaginative moving depiction of how video games become a way to slip through the looking glass a way for a nine ear old boy to be in two places at once when he needs an escape from reality Overall this is a lucid emotional exploration of memory grief and the necessity of escapism This is a highly original hybrid of video game imagery and a narrative about the final illness of his mother who died in 2012 As a child the poet was obsessed with Super Mario World He overlays the game s landscapes onto his life to create an almost hallucinogenic fairy tale Into this virtual world which blends idyll and threat comes the news of his mother s cancerOne summer s day I m summoned home to hear of cells which split and glitchso haphazardly someone is called to intervene with poisonsdrawn from strange and peregrine trees flourishing in distant kingdomsHer doctors are likened to wizards attempting magic In blue scrubs the Merlins apply various elixirs potionspanaceas to her body until they give up and acknowledge the limitations of medicineSo we wait in the private room turn the egg timer of ourselvesHippocrates in his white coat brings with him a shake of the head where we cannot do some goodat least we must refrain from harm Super Mario settings provide the headings Yoshi s Island Donut Plains Forest of Illusion Chocolate Island and so on There are also references to bridges Venetian canals mines and labyrinths as if to give illness the gravity of a mythological hero s journey Meanwhile the title repeats the first line of The Nymph s Reply to the Shepherd by Sir Walter Raleigh which as a rebuttal to Christopher Marlowe s The Passionate Shepherd to His Love eschews romanticism in favor of realism about change and mortality Sexton wanted to include both views He discusses his inspirations in detail in this Irish Times articleApart from one rough pantoum Choco Ghost House I didn t notice any other forms being used This is free verse internally unpunctuated it has a run on feel While I do think readers are likely to get out of the poems if they have some familiarity with Super Mario World andor are gamers themselves this is a striking book that examines bereavement in a new wayNote Be sure to stick around past The End for the Credits which summarize all the book s bizarrely diverse elements and a lovely final poem that s rather like a benedictionOriginally published on my blog Bookish Beck for no reason except for being alone I try to scream into the wildness of the worldI make no sound the flakes of snow are noisier in the fallingthe berries are loud with colour on the back windowsill a birdhas written its name in footprints a handful of steps at the doorThe voice is made of whatever is left how the world is dentedThis poetry collection piece together a memoir of Stephen Sexton s Science And Immortality youngerears structured around his obsession with Super Mario World I had anticipated this to be a fun anthology due to the brightly coloured cover and the gaming elements the synopsis hinted at It was far from that and all the poignant because of itThrough the lens of the games that consumed him Stephen details his mother s cancer and his inability to fully understand what ails her When saving princesses is so obtainable in one world saving one s own mother is so out of reach in another It is the juxtaposition between the two that these poems return to again and again creating a sorrowful and heart felt anthology full of raw emotion The cultural references were the springboard for far hard hitting topics and I deeply appreciated the honesty and beauty each poem conveyed. Otherworldly narrative takes us through the levels of Super Mario World whose flowered landscapes bleed into our world and ours strange with loss bleed into it His remarkable debut is a daring exploration of memory grief and the necessity of the unrea. .
Onument Readers crowd around it Sometimes a way of coping with events
In The Real World the real world to head back to the things that gave A History Of The Baha I Faith In South Carolina you comfort in the past For Stephen Sexton this means heading to the world of Super Mario Kart where he spent lots of hisouth racing against the characters in this colourful and larger than life world It was a place that infused his reality and gave him lots of happy memories to look back onIt is this nostalgic place that he returns to in this book freuently as the poems take us through the various tracks and characters in the game The fun Though Is Short Lived Because All The is short lived because all the through he has the agony of watching his mothers illness develop to the point where it finally claimed herFor a collection of poems that leans heavily on gamer references about a fun thing to play it is heavily draped with sorrow and grief I liked the way that he varied the pace and structure of the poems and having those two themes running all the way through it builds into a narrative thread and feels like we are sharing his grief Definitely one to read again one dayThree Favourite PoemsDonut Plains 1Chocolate Secret 7 Larry s Castle I ve been looking forward to this collection for months having admired Stephen Sexton s work since I first heard him read from his pamphlet Oils I was not disappointed This is an imaginative moving and fresh narrative poem The title If All the World and Love Were Young comes from a pastoral poem by Walter Raleigh while the poems themselves follow the structure of Super Mario World each section named after a level of the game This collision of lyric tradition and innovative modern references is a defining element of Sexton s work Sexton and I are roughly the same age we are by the current definition Millenials This is the first collection I ve read that captures something of being born around 1990 filtering life through cultural references knowing that we live on a dying planet and wondering what exactly we ve been handed by earlier generations Using Super Mario World as a jumping off point allows Sexton to vividly explore the ways in which we re indebted to pop culture and how it defines not only our conversations but our internal landscapes He explores the expansiveness of video games and the joy of escapism as well as the ways in which it limits us At the same time Sexton is writing lyric elegies and is well aware of the poetic tradition of Northern Ireland and the broader English speaking world This collection centres on the death of a mother and uses both the structure of a video game and the traditions of writing about grief to explore a huge personal loss Sexton uses long expansive lines setting the scene of Yoshi s Island the archipelago aswim with joyful blue white puffer fish over the idle effacement of dying the many prickles of needles of many exotic compounds This use of long lines paired with unusual imagery means the collection does not immediately ield its emotional weight to the reader Instead the reader travels to Donut Plains where Kappa swarmed in every colour under a waxing crescent moon or to Forest of Illusion as the reader encounters Sexton s gift for imagery of the natural world the knot of dark eyes signalling in the goat willow s eastern skinor the spiny caterpillar making letters on the branches is as familiar to me as sunset must be to nightfall The realities of death and loss are brought gradually to the reader s attention allowing their impact to be experience on many different levels such as the loss of an imagined future the loss of faith in the body the loss a companion the loss of a way of being the loss of family Sexton is very much in control of his work he brings the reader with careful and exact patience to the heartbreak so that we become part of the journey of loss Super Mario World aids him in this it allows the reader to share an internal landscape with the narrator of the poems so that we we feel the grief as our own so that when the narrator says this is the wrong universe among all the universes we are with him The section Valley of Bowser towards the end of this collection brings us to the heart of the emotional landscape We are in a deep blue sea where swells a sense of falling down through the bottom of the world We have come to the edges of language We meet the narrator s mother in hospital where the narrator feels I ve been here so long I think I hear my children passing the door The section is full of echoes of other parts of life or lives unlived The portable television we brought from home is standing by acting as a portal to one of these worlds The loss of a future is symbolised by the act of speech as the mother says No grandchildren and no first steps and never again a first word We learn the mother s first word was apple and when. Ted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection When Stephen Sexton was oung video games were a way to slip through the looking glass; to be in two places at once; to be two people at once In these poems about the death of his mother this moving. .
Rating BDealing with the death of mother Stephen Sexton blends Mario and the
Sadness Of Loss Inof loss in ways Although sometimes blend was too close knit once ou got the rhythm of the poetry it was easier going I am disappointed in the edition though Sexton s lines are long and the publisher should have made the pages wider to accommodate them instead they had to awkwardly be enjambed At times there is a brilliance of emotion and reality or avoidance of reality there are also many poems that did not strike as sure of themselves This is in part because they worked to make the whole rather than working as single poems I am happy this won the Forward Prize for it is forward thinking but it seemed a bit undercooked too Worth a read all the same I really loved
this collection i read a review which intriguedcollection I read a review which intrigued because the book is about the poet s memories of the ears when as a teenager he played Super Mario World whilst his mother was going through treatment for cancer It s dense allusive it sounds beautiful and it demands reading and re reading I can see it would not be every person s cup of tea but I found it very beautiful and heartbreaking There is a section at the end called CREDITS which is a guide to all the influences and allusions that Sexton makes and it is worth going through it when rereading the poems to see where and how the echoes and resonances come from As an English teacher I would love to work on this collection with students although I suspect it might do their heads in Just an extraordinary window into the human mind and the experience of grief This is very beautiful and moving and sad it undulates just like grief And if Orangeburg you find some day dear friend my sad head uponour shouldersgo out into the world and say world it s been so long world hello This was ok I think I like the idea of this book than the actual content contained within It s a collection of poems based on Super Mario and is mainly about a mother s death from cancer and memory The Super Mario theme is obvs metaphorical for going on a journey a uest etc I liked the poem about the uncle who was a miner who died in Tasmania as it creates an interesting parallel with Mario who s a miner himself of sorts isn t he The comparisons of Mario w Dante were also v interesting I loved the poem that had the image of Otzi the Iceman waiting for thousands of ears with berries in his gut extending a frozen hand So cool And the other poem about looking at fossils of dinosaur stampede and wonderig what spooked them So eah as Hidden History Of Savannah you can see big theme here of time etcHowever there was too much descriptive writing for my personal taste I found a lot of the poems uite dull to read because I don t like reading endless description I like lines in whichou can hear a voice or personality For example I really liked it when the author addressed the reader directly at the end this has not been easy thank Hot Rods Custom Cars Of The Sacramento Delta you friendou are a super reader That made me awww Overall this is a clever idea and obviously very moving and emotionally affecting material but it s a tiny bit gimmicky Some lines I liked see how direct and plainly stated they are I just don t like reading descriptions of mountains and cactuses it will be an adventure I think it will be an adventurethe future is cannon blasting es should he step wet out of the lake I will offer to him kindnessI will offer soba noodles in soy I will offer my name Since she has lost her sense of taste we have dinner in McDonald sIf I m going to die she says I might as well go to McDonald s having been nowhere but long in front of the beautiful television wasn t it strange we used to live like that Cheese can mean almost anything No one is going to like this I say but I have done my best That the world unmercifully will not end is the hardest thing On a beautiful day in June we take the pain to the hospital Some things we chose to disregard the cruelty of newspapers I will myself to contain it I thought this was SUCH a beautiful line about learning to deal withmanage grief about the death of a parent I once tried to make a monument from the Television s OnOff buttonShould I pray to gods of thunder or the wounded gods of myself This is an extraordinary moving collection of poems whose dense constrained forms are the forms the intellect takes when it is coping the self takes when it can as it must when the subject envelopes This book is as rich sustaining as memorable inimitable as is the loved one s voice You will follow it across the Causeway into the beached whale in Donegal into the pixelated hyacinths and the heavy rain With the munificent vocabulary of Alan Gillis and the gut punched wisdom of Anne Sexton and Denise Riley the speaker claims I tried to make a monument from the emptiness of the house Sexton has made a 'Every poem in this book is a marvel Taken all together they make up a work of almost miraculous depth and beauty' Sally Rooney'A poetry debut fit to compare with Seamus Heaney This wonderful long poem is up there with the greats' Sunday TimesShortlis. ,