Visiting Hours is Shane Koyczan’s first collection of poetry. The collection was first published in 2005 and this eBook edition was released in 2013. It was pure chance that led me to Shane’s work – a stoush with someone on Facebook who misquoted and misinterpreted one of Koyczan’s more famous poems, We Are More. Every cloud has a silver lining though and the more I read of Koyczan’s work the more I liked.
My concern with buying a collection compiled by a spoken word poet was that it would lack some of the vibrancy, some of the presence that is present in the poet’s own performance of the work.
I needn’t have worried. Koyczan in addition to being great performer of the spoken word also is able to translate that talent to the page. I received just as much enjoyment reading as I did from watching youtube videos after I was done. The difference to me seemed only to be one of magnitude. The words carry his poetry well, the performance just turbo charges it.
In comparison to other works I have read recently, this probably sits closer to my enjoyment of the work of Ali Cobby Eckermann. Koyczan’s work frequently touches on love and loss ad is accessible to a wide audience. Some poets have labelled it trite and self consciously clever. I find the work entertaining and moving. I appreciate his rhtym and rhyme and the narrative of each of the poems. I am not left scratching my head and having to do 3 or 4 close readings to try and get a handle on what the poet is saying.
No, Koyczan uses accessible language, uses the rhyme and cadence to enhance emotion. Two of my favourite poems in the collection made my cry. That’s not something I experience much or at all reading novels or even other poems. So if he’s being trite or clever I don’t really care. I’d prefer to be skilfully manipulated than bored.
Here’s My Darling Sara, it choked me up reading and then again reading it out loud to my wife:
So was it worth the $9 i paid for it? Yes, for the tears alone, for it’s ability to move me.