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'Enigmatic' by Daragh Fleming – Book Review by Lee Sheridan

Daragh Fleming’s Enigmatic is a finely crafted collection of poems that are largely accessible and conversational in style. For the most part, its thirty-one poems deal with themes of mental health, particularly that of younger people, as is the case with Fleming’s previous works.

While most of the poems are stylistically straightforward, there are some that spontaneously break away from the standard form, poems like ‘This is All Quite New’ and ‘[Pa]t[i]e[n]ce’. Readers will likely spend more time contemplating the experimental styles of these poems than their subject matter.

The poems don’t necessarily give the reader the answers they might be looking for, but as is the case with Fleming’s other works, they might set them on the right path. They are honest, and shine light on aspects of the modern world (and ourselves) that we might be in denial of, or just straight up ignore. In this way, the title Enigmatic is a fitting one. The body of work is simultaneously simple and perplexing all at once. The collection is serious, but there is a subtle albeit blunt humour sprinkled throughout, particularly in its micro poems, such as ‘the modern way’:

"I wanted to call and tell you/that I think you’re lovely. /But we don’t do things like that these days. /So I liked something you posted on the internet instead."

Interestingly, this collection begins and ends with poems styled as “prayers” and – about midway through – has a third poem addressed ‘To the God(s) Departed’ that deals with one’s struggles with faith. Perhaps the complex feelings and ideas that arise from each poem are Fleming’s attempts to fill the hole(s) that the God(s) departed from? There are nihilistic undertones throughout this collection, but I get the sense that Fleming is building from where people might be starting from: the ground up. By breaking down common, relatable conditions and states of mind, and exposing us to these things, we might walk out into the cold night slightly less bare.

As with other Sunday Mornings at the River publications, the book is beautifully designed, with its cover depicting a painting similar to the romantic piece Wanderer above the Sea of Fog by Caspar David Friedrich – and even though its contents are far from romantic (though some of the poems do examine the theme of love – i.e., ‘Tinder’) the book’s outer-shell still complements them.

If you liked Fleming’s previous titles, particularly his poetry, you will appreciate this one. It is a solid collection leavened with essential insights and ideas that a lot of young people must open themselves up to. Fleming's book will launch on the 24th of November at 7 p.m. See link below:

You can find out more about Daragh here:

You can also watch our interview with Daragh here:

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