Breakdown – Chris McLoughlin

Published July 1st 2016 by Big White Shed
Author: Chris McLoughlin
Format: Chapbook
Genre: Poetry
Pages: 24
Star rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
Opening line:

“He was born in a carnival ward
paraded past surgical masks, vocal chords raw.”

Goodreads synopsis:

A collection of ten poems focused on mental health and grief. This is the author’s first collection of poetry, and includes blank pages at the back for the reader to write their own poems.

The reason I read this book is because I was asked to interview Chris for the magazine I write for. So I was given a copy of his book to read in preparation for the interview. I wish I had read it sooner! It’s brilliant.

Chris is predominantly a performance poet, and this really came through in his style of writing, especially in the first few poems. When I read them in my head I could imagine how they would be performed and what impact they would have.

This collection covers two main themes: mental health and grief. Chris has anxiety, and his poems aim to convey what it feels like to have anxiety, and are also written in the hope that whoever reads his work feels less alone.

My favourite poems by far were ‘Not Over You’ and ‘Trying’. It’s very difficult to make me cry, and I even resisted tears when I read A Little Life but ‘Not Over You’ had me literally weeping. I recovered, then had to read it through again…and again I cried, and then a third time. I’ve never cried so much because of a poem before.

He is such a brilliant poet and I wanted more! His is the kind of poetry that is well-written and relatable. I have given this four stars because although the opening poems were very good, they didn’t affect me quite as much as the later poems, and I didn’t connect with them or understand them as well. I’m sure if I saw Chris perform them though, that would change my mind!

Chris is working on a full collection of poetry, but it’s still going to be a couple more years in the making, but I can’t wait until the day arrives when I can read that collection.

By the end of the month, Breakdown should be available to buy on his website (currently under construction): pijaykin

Link to the book on GoodreadsBreakdown

Watch Chris perform his poems on Youtube: Chris McLoughlin Poetry



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