by Melody Lee ǀ @melody_lee_poetry_junkie
I am a certified book nerd. I could spend hours in a bookstore or library and be perfectly happy. Books are my favorite addiction, well, books and coffee! Iain S. Thomas’s book, “I Wrote This for You” captivated me the moment I picked it up in Barnes & Noble. Before I delve into the substance of Iain’s book, let me just say that it wasn’t a grab-me flashing book cover that drew me in. I was compelled to pick this book up because not only was it conveniently and cleverly displayed on an outside aisle next to a few poetry books I wanted to peruse, but it is hardcover…I so rarely find hardcover poetry books, and that was the kicker, the draw, the magnet. I was intrigued. Get past the cover, inside is magic.
This book mesmerized me. Upon opening it, I was blown away…the beautiful photographs on nearly every page, poetry flourishing throughout the book. Lots and lots of poems! I brought the book up to my face, I had to smell the ink and feel the pages on my cheeks. I wanted it near my skin, to feel it close, like a lover. Iain’s book, for some odd reason, I guess the stunning imagery and the heaviness of it, enchanted me immediately. Totally taken with this gem, I carried it with me to the coffee area in Barnes and Noble and began flipping through the pages. This is when I knew I had to have Iain’s book beyond the coffee shop, beyond the bookstore. This book needed to make a home in my personal poetry collection. And that it did.
Iain S. Thomas’s, “I Wrote This for You” is like Disneyland, metaphorically speaking. Rich with words, emotions, feelings, it has a plethora of poetry on every page. Some pages are filled with several mini or micro poems, while other pages are used entirely for longer poems. Iain writes primarily using free verse (“Free verse is an open form of poetry that does not use consistent meter patterns, rhyme, or any other musical pattern. Many poems composed in free verse thus tend to follow the rhythm or natural speech.” Wikipedia). And if you love photography, Iain’s book is filled with stunning photographs. At times his photos seem to be random, not jiving with the poems he writes, but they all demand to be felt, to be studied. This book is heart and soul. Pardon the cliché, but it’s true. You cannot NOT read this book and feel the author’s heartbeat and his passion. He doesn’t just throw a few poems and photos on pages and give us a skinny little book about broken wings, heartbreak and fucked up lives. No, he makes you feel his words and study his photos. He comes to life on each page. He inspires. He enthralls. While there are some poems that seem rather ordinary and basic, I could feel the author’s emotions, and as a reader, that is vital for me. Take me somewhere in your words, don’t just spill ink on paper for ink’s sake. Let me feel what you’re feeling, where you’re going, what you’re doing. What do you, as the writer/poet, want me to know, to learn, to experience? What is this adventure you’re taking me on, what path? If you can open my heart and my imagination, then you’ve won my heart in poetry, and Mr. Thomas did that for me. Even his most simple poems had me captivated in one way or another.
I will be honest, I have not read every poem in this book, there are so many, and I don’t read poetry the way I read a novel or a memoir, from front to back. Plus, this book commands attention to so many details. — His multiple poems on a single page tell a story, different stories on different days, as he marks all his poems with dates. — I pick it up and let the book guide where I go. This is how I best enjoy poetry. So in Iain’s book, some of his poems have been read several times, while others I’ve not yet read, but from reading most of the book I can tell you what a wonderful gift it was for me to find. I am enjoying this book in bits and pieces every day, and I feel you, as a reader and lover of poetry will do the same. It’s not necessarily deep, lyrical, philosophical poetry, but it’s poignant and stirs me to the point of wanting to savor this book for a long time to come.
“I Wrote This for You” has 316 pages. It comes in both hardcover and softcover. (I prefer this particular book in hardcover, because of the photography.)
I love the way Iain begins our journey through his words, his heart and soul which is felt on every page and almost every poem through his use of poetry and photography. This turns out to be a dynamic collaboration of imagery and visuals.
Theme throughout book seems to be life, love, loss, growth. Common poetic themes, but guided with captivating photographs and a style all his own.
“I need you to understand something. Ten years ago, I started writing this for you. I wrote it for you and only you. Since then, millions of other people have read it, but none have understood it the way you understand it. I set out to find you a long time ago and today, I’m so glad I finally have. Thank you for reading these words.”
“I Wrote This For You: 2007-2017 is a collection of the best poetry and photography from the first 10 years of the best-selling project. It contains new work, old work, work that’s never been seen before and a selection of fan-made work inspired by the project.”
Best for: Nostalgia and inspiration
Buy for: Anyone who loves poetry and prose
Buy it if: Hardcover: You need or want a coffee table book with a twist – poetry and photography holding hands. Softcover: You love poetry and photography together in one book.
“I Wrote This For You: 2007 – 2017” can be purchased online from Amazon
You can also connect with Iain on Instagram ǀ @iwrotethisforyou.me
Reviewed by Melody Lee ǀ @melody_lee_poetry_junkie
Melody is a published poet, online blogger and features writer and an avid reader, power-walker, wine-enthusiast, foodie and collector of adventures. When Melody’s not drinking coffee, running her social media sites, reading novels or writing her next poem, you’ll likely find her exploring one of her nearby nature trails in North Florida, USA.