William Thomas Brumley’s debut poetry collection “You Might Feel This” is aptly named because every single poem made me feel some kind of emotion. As a person who has anxiety and depression the poetry in this book really resonated with me. The poet captures what anxiety and depression feels like with imagery that paints the numbness and darkness of it. Another theme that Brumley tackles is the complexity of romantic relationships . He shows the intensity of emotions that is felt during conflict or a breakup. I also want to mention that aside from the content, what I really loved about this book was the format. You can tell that the author put a lot of thought into making sure it was well put together because of how professional and flawless it looks. He even includes a page after each poem asking your thoughts about it or you’re also given the freedom to write your own poem. As someone who is always looking for inspiration to write poetry, this was a nice surprise for me. I’ve picked three poems that impacted me from this collection to talk about.
The first poem “Familiar Friend” I have interpreted as a poem about when anxiety comes to visit you. Anxiety for me feels like an annoying friend that visits at the most inconvenient times and the poet captures that when he states, “Fear is an old familiar friend of whom I’ve fallen out of touch with/Why does this shape haunt me? Can they not find another for torment?” (Brumley, 7-9) The way Brumley questions why anxiety haunts him brings a raw intensity in this poem about anxiety that’s not talked about. It indeed does feel like torment and torture at times.
Another poem that impacted me was “Stormy Nights”. I interpreted this poem about how your romantic partner distances themselves away from you because they’re on the verge of breaking up with you. I know many people including myself that have been in this situation and it’s awful; especially if you’re not ready to let go of your partner. When Brumley states, “Please, please, don’t leave thee here/I can feel your presence is near/ One more climb, one more calm/ Upon the ruckus sea” ( Brumley, 12-14),these lines draw up an image of someone pleading to their partner to not leave and to give them one more chance. Brumley did an incredible job capturing the sorrow and desperation someone in this situation would feel like.
“Trepidation” is another poem that impacted me. I have interpreted this poem as the calm you feel after anxiety leaves and questioning how long it will last. This is stated when the poet states, “May I keep this sealed up tight in a bottle?” (Brumley,9) As a person who had suffered from chronic anxiety and depression, if I had a string of good days filled with hope, I would question how long it would last. What’s also interesting to me about this poem is that Brumley addresses people who suffer from anxiety in wishing that they too get a reprieve from anxiety when he states “I wish this ship could sail/Sail far across the sea of tranquility/For it shall reach others who have been trapped under the forceful thumb of anxiety” (Brumbley,10-12) Brumley shows humanity in acknowledging other sufferers of anxiety.
Mr.Brumley presents an honest depiction of the many complex emotions felt during periods of anxiety, depression and conflict with an insightful awareness. I would highly recommend this poetry collection that will not only make you feel something but will also make you think. I’m excited to read and review his next poetry book Finish Your Thoughts. Below is a link for both You Might Feel This and Finish Your Thoughts: