The Immortal Soul Salvage Yard (2021) by Beth May is a collection of deeply vulnerable poems that expose the ugly but intimate aspects of mental health, recovery, and all sorts of love, be it familial or romantic. The poems are varied and deeply involved – Beth manages to be playful without skimping out on how heartbreaking some of the content really is. There are at times fantastic balances of comedy and bittersweet moroseness.
This collection is scattered with little bits of hand-written words and lines, and some are styled in the book to be read from landscape which makes for a more affective reading experience. So many poems within are clearly strong spoken word pieces, so styling them different like this translates them so well to the page to be read.
Despite the varied presentations of each poem, there is still a very clear and strong voice present throughout. Not only is the structure of each poem diverse, but the subject matters are too.
I’ve never listened to any of Beth’s spoken word but, again, the rhythm and use of slant rhymes tells me that hearing these poems in person would be immensely captivating.
My favourite poem in this collection is ‘There Was Never A Hat’ by far. It’s short and effective and threw me off guard completely. It tells a massive story of a whole relationship in so little time, and the way it was told made me fall so in love with it as I read it.