Review: "Mend Your Misery" by Kristofer Dommin

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mend Your Misery cover2006

Mend Your Misery is a collection of twelve poems largely focused on love and heartbreak. Kristofer Dommin seems to have channeled that spotty teen-angst phase that drives people to poetry, and honed it to its core. While the themes are overall pedestrian and the language commonplace, where Kristoff shines is his attention to the rhythm of the words; for instance, the first stanza of "My Heart, Your Hands":

I can feel the knife carving
Your love in my heart
You promised you wouldn't harm a hair
On this fragile body, no, that's not fair
But how can I trust you?
How can I trust you?

Kristofer uses repetition to strong effect throughout while keeping a tight rein on his words otherwise. And each poem sets a story for the reader; "My Heart, Your Hands" is a literary slice of that moment of angst when one is trying to become vulnerable to another. "Dyin' on the Radio" is cleverly designed to highlight the conflict of mass culture and personal communication. "Tonight" is a reprise of "My Heart, Your Hands" seen from the opposite's view--a promise, yet cautionary of how hard the world can be:

Every action has a consequence
But do you know it yet?
Yeah, do you know it yet?
Nothing any vice can tame
It only feeds the flame,
so will you feed the flame?

"Tonight" actually ends on a surprisingly philosophical note, which could be read as a tongue-in-cheek reference to the similarities inherent in the poems selected, or so much more:

Does it matter if you know my name
Because we're all the same,
maybe we're all the same

Where the audiobook really shines, however, is in its full ensemble production. These poems are not merely read, but belted out with gusto--sung straight from the poet's soul. And the poet's rendition is accompanied by a relatively complex assortment of instrumentation, including guitar, keyboard, bass, and drums. Full use is made of the instruments to frame and enhance the reading of the poetry, adding emotion to the words that would otherwise be much harder to find.

The audiobook is very professionally produced, and will certainly fill any angst-ridden night with deeper understanding, or at least a little compassion. It's well worth a listen. Dommin has captured a reading on YouTube, which we present below; and you can listen to more selections from their audiobook at their myspace page.

- reddit, digg, facebook, stumbleupon, etc... please! ;)
posted by kaolin

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