Rotten Pleasantness – Dark & Strange Poems and Prose by Veronica McDonald
The title is a giveaway for the theme and structure of this book. However, rather than being instantly aware of what to expect this chapbook delights in subtext.
There is a continued notion of more to be revealed from reading each poem and prose. The layout is a journey from childhood to adult life. The beginning has an essence of childhood fairytales with doses of morality to forewarn you of the dangers of life.
With the narrative format of her poetry, the blend of prose works well to move the book in pacing and theme. The author uses a non-rhyme structure often that helps to intertwine it with the prose to be seamless.
The latter part of the book takes on a darker tone with references to demons and monsters, but not in an overt horror or paranormal sense. It is done subtly, which is the authors overriding strength. Surprising modern day relationship woes are introduced sparingly, which despite the journey structure feel a little out of place. The ending feels quite abrupt and the poem chosen could have been stronger to conclude the book.
A particular favourite poem from the book is ‘Once Upon a Bicycle’ that delights in the subtext with an overall mystery of what is occurring behind the scene. The lines “Once upon a bicycle, I fell and scraped my knee. The blood is spilling on the bed as the stranger watches me.” is truly fantastic in displaying the author’s strengthen in simply intriguing the reader.
A great debut and welcome read. Certainly, an author who can progress and hopefully get even stronger in her writing.