A Review: Enjoy Oblivion by Wolfgang Carstens

Enjoy Oblivion, Wolfgang Carstens, Janne KarlssonEnjoy Oblivion is Wolfgang Carstens’ sardonic farewell and final fuck you to a father who never learnt how to be a dad. Illustrated by Janne Karlsson, this collaborative work is as far from poetry’s dusty reputation as a collection of poems could possibly be. A reputation confirmed by the slim pickings within the poetry section of libraries and high street book shops, furthered by cosy poetry circles and protected by academics who should know better. A reputation at serious threat by Carstens and Karlsson, who are not content with tickling the nipples and testicles of fellow poets.

This chapbook belongs in the hands of ordinary men and women, particularly men and women with children. Written by a son who has been forced into out-working the transgressions of an absent father, this chapbook is naturally sewn together by a dark thread, but unlike similar collections, this one will not leave you grasping for the codeine and scotch bottles. Enjoy Oblivion will have you reaching for your children and holding onto them as though they were your last breath.

Carstens makes writing with brevity look so damn easy, but of course, the simple line that sticks is the hardest to write, especially when it comes to subjects as weighty as family, failure and death. Karlsson’s contribution is equally deceptive in its simplicity; his illustrations are the purest portrayal of abandonment. He prods and provokes those raw emotions we like to keep hidden, so his images are in perfect sync with these poems.

Robert Southey said, “It is with words as it is with sunbeams. The more they are condensed, the more they burn.” Enjoy Oblivion, with its controlled sadness and concise language is a perfect example of Southey’s sentiment. The last poem and closing statement uses five simple words to sum up the collection with far greater clarity than many more verbose poets could with a thousand. Read this chapbook with care, this collaboration burns.

Now you’ll have to excuse me, as I need to go and spend some time with my son.


Title: Enjoy Oblivion

Page Count: 28

Author: Wolfgang Carstens

Illustrator: Janne Karlsson

Publisher: Concrete Meat Press


Matthew J. Hall

Matthew J. Hall

An avid reader, writer and reviewer of poetry and short fiction. Author of Blood Pudding Press 2015 chapbook contest winner, Pigeons and Peace Doves and The Human Condition is a Terminal Illness will soon be available through Bareback Press (2017).
Matthew J. Hall


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