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  • Jimmy Broccoli

Damaged: A Wonderful Review From Wales!

"Damaged", reviewed by Welsh poet, Lea Webber:

Review of Jimmy Broccoli - "Damaged"

I have to say I was looking forward to this book. I was going to buy it, but the cost of the paperback was bumped up a bit with shipping from the US and so I probably would have needed to wait until my next payday and so Jimmy told me there would be some competitions and give aways coming up. So, I entered one of the competitions which was based around guessing Jimmy's age in an old photograph and my spidey senses paid off well. I won!

I had read some of Jimmy's individual poems online and they were immersive, intense, original and thought provoking. But I had no idea just how good this book would be!

I have to admit, for someone who writes, I don't really read that much since becoming a mother (for various personal reasons), and I know that I should read more poetry. I do read others poetry in groups, for commentary, but I don't read enough, just for pleasure. I do read anthologies and I have bought others poetry books and subscribed to a few journals, but I tend to dip in and out. When I read the right poetry, it is a deeply moving experience, but something has to really grab me to make me want to binge read it.

The first poem I had read before and found very moving, the second was simple, amusing and intriguing, but the third poem hit me like a tonne of bricks. It was just so graphic and intense and I was left not really even sure what actually happened (which left a sense of mystery), but it was so vivid, it was like someone had planted someone else's nightmare in my brain. But it wasn't just a bit dark or scary. It was real. And totally heart breaking. I needed time to process and brace myself before continuing and I thought perhaps I would need to read it very slowly and tentatively, but I didn't. I couldn't put it down!

Every poem was just so different, and yet had an unmistakable, Jimmy Broccoli style. I loved the way it was divided into four sections after the elements of earth, air, fire and water. It was like a rollercoaster of metaphor and emotion. This is real, raw, gritty, warts and all, narrative poetry at its finest. It will take you to places you couldn't even imagine until you read it and then you have no choice but to imagine it because it transports you, whether you are willing or not. Both explicitly, and figuratively.

This is surprising poetry that keeps you on your toes. There is rarely anything mundane about the subject matter (and when there is, then it turns into some kind of trip) and yet it feels like there would be something there that anyone could relate to. Loss, love, violence, disillusionment, awakenings, neglect, loneliness, supermarkets, escapism, sexuality, vegetables, the dark underbelly of humanity. Told with hope, clarity and compassion. And most of all a sense of survivalism and self care that somehow blunts the edges of the despair that is spilled out onto its pages. Without sounding too earnest. This leaves you inspired. And humbled. At the same time.

A must read!

It can be found at:

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