Review: Tremulous Hinge – Adam Giannelli


Genre: Poetry

Publication date: 15th April 2017 by University Of Iowa Press

Format: eARC sent to me for review from The University of Iowa Press via Netgalley

Rain intermits, bus windows steam up, loved ones suffer from dementia—in the constantly shifting, metaphoric world of Tremulous Hinge, figures struggle to remain standing and speaking against forces of gravity, time, and language. In these visually porous poems, boundaries waver and reconfigure along the rumbling shoreline of Rockaway or during the intermediary hours that an insomniac undergoes between darkness and dawn. Through a series of self-portraits, elegies, and Eros-tinged meditations, this hovering never subsides but offers, among the fragments, momentary constellations: “moths all swarming the / same light bulb.”

From the difficulties of stuttering to teetering attempts at love, from struggling to order a hamburger to tracing the deckled edge of a hydrangea, these poems tumble and hum, revealing a hinge between word and world. Ultimately, among lofting waves, collapsing hands, and darkening skies, words themselves—a stutterer’s manoeuvres through speech, a deceased grandfather’s use of punctuation—become forms of consolation. From its initial turbulence to its final surprising solace, this debut collection mesmerises. 


Reviewing poetry is challenging, as it is something I feel is extremely personal. What one person can connect to, another can’t. This collection was beautiful though; a heartfelt, stunning book.

The imagery in all of the poems was wonderful and I found it thought-provoking. Whilst the writing wasn’t over the top, rather it was simplistic in some places, it created such images in my mind and covered a whole number of topics extremely well. It didn’t matter how simple the writing was in places because it did what poetry should do; invoke feelings and thoughts.

There wasn’t a poem I didn’t like in this collection, they were all so wonderfully executed. The rhythm of the pieces worked perfectly to emphasise their meanings, as did the tone of the poems. They didn’t feel gimmicky or cliched, which I definitely appreciated. I also loved the word choices that the poet made – they created a poetry collection that is as insightful as it is elegant.

I would definitely recommend this poetry collection, as it covers a wide range of emotive topics and it is truly beautiful. It is easy to follow, but it remains apart from the new ‘tumblr’ poetry (I believe that’s how some people refer to it) that is so popular today. In other words, it uses regular poetry conventions (for contemporary poetry, that is), and the result is wonderful.

Rating: 4 / 5 🌟


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