POETRY REVIEW of Marianne Szlyk’s On the Other Side of the Window, published by Pski’s Porch Publishing, Lockport, N.Y.
Melodies, then silence, move throughout Marianne Szlyk’s new poetry collection On the Other Side of the Window. Sound carries us through her changing life, all four seasons, the future, present, and past “so many years ago as music played from transistor radios.” What makes her poetry even more intriguing is not only her purposeful syllabic count but also her effective use of the silences in between.
After we are drawn in by the likes of the Beatles, Beach Boys, a jazz harpist, and wind chimes, the poet steps back and “catches her breath.” She observes her surroundings closely, creates lasting images with her rhythms, then leaves us quietly reflecting on “all that grows in the space between”, whether that be artwork, relationships, or hair colors.
In an August 2018 radio interview on Quintessential Listening, Marianne read poems from her new book in her “teacher voice”, as opposed to her conversational one, both of which are paced and full of inflection. It is impossible to listen to her poetry without anticipating the narrative and getting caught up in the rhythm of the song-like lines.
The poems in On the Other Side of the Window take us on a journey from environmental to nature to persona, all linked together by music. “She imagined that she was changing/going someplace different from where she had been.” While I had never read Marianne Szlyk’s work, I can’t wait to hear where she travels next. After all, memorable poetry like hers leaves us humming, reflective, then changed.
Perry S. Nicholas
English Professor and Poet
SUNY Erie College