Jana Prikryl’s first published collection of poetry, The After Party, is a border-blurring, portrait-painting, investigation of humanity.
The After Party is broken into two sections: the title section, “The After Party,” and “Thirty Thousand Islands.” “The After Party” is a series of poems, each with its own title and agenda. Many of the poems focus on one’s sense of place as an idea both powerful and flawed. While Prikryl seems to suggest that a place can be empowering, she conversely seems to point out the fluidity of one’s setting. People are people, no matter where they are from or where they are going. Her poems take readers from Rome to New York and beyond. Throughout all of this travel, Prikryl shows the mutability of identity, especially when it comes to identifying oneself with a place rather than with a self.
In contrast, “Thirty Thousand Islands” focuses itself mainly in Canada. The entire section is a single poem broken into fragments, each of which can stand alone, but which together share an even more powerful message also rooted in a sense of place and self.
Hope, is a pervasive theme running through both halves. This idea, though, is as multifarious and complex as location. For Prikryl it seems that hope is not simply being hopeful or optimistic. Hope is also embracing hopelessness; it is recognizing the limits of one’s own capacity for faith. And yet, somehow, even in the darkest, most grief-stricken poem, Prikryl can bring light into her words with the suggestion that hope is still there, somewhere, hidden beneath the folds of grief.
The After Party offers a unique and universally relevant view of what it means be human in a constantly changing world.
Published June 2016 by Tim Duggan Books, The After Party is available at your local bookstore.
FTC Disclaimer: This book was given to me in return for a fair and honest review of the text.