Love Letters to the World is a collection of prose poems in the form of letters addressed to “My dear world”. At times I got the distinct feeling that the world was a specific person being addressed, such as a lover or a friend. At others, I thought it’s being addressed to the world at large with its “flowers and skies” but not to the people of the world; more like to planet Earth and nature.
I have mixed feelings about this volume. On one hand, I want to appreciate the sheer number of “letters to the world”. On the other, I want to ask “Why?” What is the purpose? What is this in relation to? I’m also having a bit of difficulty classifying this as prose poetry. It is a collection of letters written in purple prose. It’s crossed that thin line between poetry and purple, to the point where it tried to be luxuriant and profound but ended up being vague and broad and, I hate to add, a tad pretentious.
The book is divided into six parts. I was not too impressed with the first part, but I decided to keep reading in order to give a fair review, and to be completely honest, it didn’t take up too much of my time. Each letter is only about half a page long, so you can sort of glide through the book. The first section is full of the word “sentence” (for example, “we do not live or think in sentences”). It’s sprinkled so liberally, present on every other page, that it eventually loses all meaning! The second section is my favourite, because that did jolt me with a few of the writer’s observations and I thought the book was definitely worth my time. But with sections three to six I was back to being unimpressed with a light buzzing in my head – a buzzing that just kept asking, “Where are we even going with this?” The word “sentence” from section one was replaced by “displacement” and “placement” and “true”. Actually, those words were present quite a lot in section one as well. The letters themselves do not relate to the section titles, so I don’t know what purpose they serve. If there is a connection, I could not make it out.
In the midst of all these needless words, I do see that nearly all the letters have at least one coherent, meaningful thought. Everything else is just a frame or graffiti around it. But whoever heard of a book with only single line quotes as individual chapters (actually there are, but these books are the height of pretentiousness and narcissism).
To me (and you’re free to disagree of course) poetry (or prose poetry or any literature) is supposed to mean something. Nothing out of this world, nothing groundbreaking, but a simple thought that makes me feel something, conjures an image or just makes me sit back and think. In those respects, this book has failed me. However, there were still one or two letters that I enjoyed. In addition to that, this book does not tax your brain and it takes only a couple of hours to read through.
Think of it as a cleanser after a particularly heavy book, and read it if you wish. If you choose not to, you’re not missing much.
Note: I received a Kindle ARC of this book from Netgalley. This review is honest and unbiased.