Delighted to be a part of the wonderful Blog Tour to share my thoughts on a stunning poetry collection, IF ALL THE WORLD AND LOVE WERE YOUNG by STEPHEN SEXTON. My thanks to Martina at Midas Public Relations for the copy of the book and putting the tour together.
ABOUT THE BOOK
‘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 Times
Shortlisted for the Forward Prize for Best First Collection
When Stephen Sexton was young, 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, 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 unreal.
I found this to be a stunning piece of work. I wondered how mixing the world of Super Mario World with grieving would work, but somehow it just does! It had me smiling at the memories it created in my mind about playing Super Mario World and the escapism that the game offered, and had me crushed by his descriptions of watching someone he loves be so ill and dealing with loss and grief.
What really comes across is the honesty and emotion that he was clearly going through. How do you make sense of watching the world around you and all that you know crumble away? For him, losing himself every now and then in a fantasy world of a video game was the release he needed. It mixes the memories of different levels in the game – seeing the names appear and the challenges in each level made me smile with fondess! – alongside memories of his family and his mother. Life provides challenges of its’ own and we are all competing in the video game of life – with hopefully no big bad beastie/boss at the end to have to defeat.
I thought this collection was a pure gem that left me in tears. It was beautifully written, poignant but punchy, raw but refined and how the little moments during his life now meant so much to him. Cannot recommend this highly enough!
For more information about the Dylan Thomas Prize 2020 please click the link below…