A review of Magnesium by Ray Buckley

Reviewed by: Lorraine Currelley

by Ray Buckley
Belides Publishing Group
Paperback: 98 pages, January 10, 2017 ISBN-978-0-997-6773-1-7

I looked forward to reading Magnesium. Buckley is a poet with whom I was unfamiliar. I was eager to hear his voice. I wanted to sing praises to the book and its author. I wanted to share my discovery with others. Unfortunately, when I thought I had connected to several poems, I found myself on the outside looking in. How was I expected to enter, with the doors and the windows locked?

Ray Buckley’s Magnesium read more like a journal of personal thoughts, experiences and reflections than a cohesive collection of poems. It felt like a cathartic exercise attempting to work through, explain and find resolution. I was with him on his journey, as he shared his relationships and interactions with others. However, he lost me with attempts to wax philosophical, and sound profound. Instead, work came across as pretentious. I wanted to find Buckley’s poems for myself. Sweet discovery is one of the joys of poetry.

Several times my reading was interrupted by having to stop and refer to the table of contents in order to make certain I was still reading the same poem. Having to work this hard made it tempting for me to abandon the reading. However, my commitment to give the author my full attention and respect to the manuscript propelled me onward.

I am a firm believer in craft and study. We can all benefit from workshops, retreats, formal and informal study, as well as constructive criticism from our peers. Magnesium is not a bad book, it’s Ray Buckley’s book. Perhaps, Buckley would have given this reader a different experience had he focused on developing each poem and letting the reader in. There were times I caught glimpses of possibilities of poems; snippets of light peering through at the end of the tunnel. There were moments when a shiver of delight flashed through me and the work showed up as its true poetic self.

About the reviewer: Lorraine Currelley is a poet, writer, activist, educator, storyteller, multimedia artist, mental health and grief and bereavement counselor. She’s the Founder/Executive Director of Poets Network & Exchange, Inc, a safe, positive and supportive space for poets and writers at all levels. She facilitates poetry and creative writing workshops, produces featured poetry readings, open mics, panel discussions and a scholar lecture series. She’s widely anthologized and the recipient of numerous honors. She resides in New York City. Find out more about Lorraine at: http://poetsnetworkandexchange.wordpress.com