Impact jumped at the opportunity to review a poetry collection by one of the university’s very own students and contributors to the magazine. Written by third year English student Chloe Erin for her dissertation, this debut zine, Seasonally Affected, includes themes of love, friendship and mental health.
The collection is divided into the four sections based on the seasons of the year: autumn, winter, spring and summer, with three poems for each, which explains the meaning of the title. As well as the poems, each season has an introductory page filled with illustrations, songs listed and short quotes. I loved the inclusion of the songs, as it provides the reader with something to listen to while reading the poems, acting as a playlist to fit the mood of the writing. It also adds a very personal touch, allowing the reader to understand some of Erin’s influences in her poetry.
I think the structure of the zine is clever and works well; the chronological order portrays the progression and time, allowing the reader to follow the poems as if they show the development of a story and an emotional journey.
“This poem is an original and inventive take on the sonnet form”
One of my favourite poems of the whole collection is the first one, ‘antidepressant’. With a strict 10 syllable line structure and a couplet at the end, this poem is an original and inventive take on the sonnet form. Traditionally, sonnets are love poems, but Erin twists this convention, as expressed in the first line “an ode to my lover duloxetine”. Having written a sonnet myself once, I can appreciate how difficult they are to master, but Erin gets this one very right.
“A powerful, insightful project, and one which works wonderfully as a poem”
Another particularly provocative and well-thought-out poem is ‘one word’. As the title suggests, the poem is built of a list of one-word sentences. Once the reader flips back to the glossary, they learn that the list is a summary of twenty-six online submissions of individuals’ experiences with their mental health. Erin shares her aim to “combat some of the stigma that surrounds the discussion of their irrationalities or symptoms”. This proves itself to be a powerful, insightful project, and one which works wonderfully as a poem.
Whereas the autumn and winter sections are mainly in black and white, the progression into spring and summer injects much more colour. The visual elements of the collection are very striking. Lovely illustrations appear frequently, helping to depict the themes discussed and adding to the meaning and reader’s understanding.
Throughout the collection, Erin’s use of imagery is sharp and provocative. I would highly recommend seasonally affected to any poetry lover, along with those who may not feel completely confident with poetry, as it contains many accessible themes and ideas, especially since it is written by a fellow student. Even if you don’t understand the intention behind every line, I think everyone would relate to Erin’s writing in some way.
Intimate, short and sweet, I’m very glad that I had the opportunity to read some of Erin’s work. Each and every aspect of the zine has been carefully considered to produce a stunning collection of poetry that is well worth a read.
All images Courtesy of Sophie Hunt.