Review: Blood, Booze, and Other Things in Nature

By Courtenay Schembri Gray

Blood, Booze, and Other Things in Nature by C E Hoffman reads like a confession—as though I am sitting in a pretty cupboard within the confines of a grand church. Attempting to review poetry books is a challenging thing, simply because you never want to give too much away (if that’s even possible).
This particular collection reminds of how Anne Carson structures her poetry books. Hoffman has created an almost epic-poem-like story that weaves in and out of different emotions, which is reminiscent of the Disney film, Inside Out. A lot of the poems within this book appear as though they are destined to be performed.
The words bounce off the page in a sugar high. There is a pretty cadence and rhythm that bobs you along through the text. The only way I can describe that feeling is being on one of those theme park rides where you travel through the water in a boat, looking at statues etc. Each poem is a figurine made up of many parts.
C E Hoffman is frank within their work. They sugar coat nothing, always saying what they feel. Without titles, you could read this collection as one frantic breath, which goes back to what I said about epic poetry. Ultimately, Blood, Booze and Other Things in Nature is one for the slam poets. I think you’d particularly enjoy this one.

Courtenay Schembri Gray is a pushcart nominated writer from the North of England. You’ll find her work in an array of journals such as A Thin Slice of Anxiety, Misery Tourism, Expat Press, Red Fez, and many more.