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By Ghia Vitale
Jacob Moses is a poetry wizard and spoken word artist from Staten Island, NY. Seance provides such an intimate glimpse into his mind, spirituality, and personal background, reading it feels as though you’re learning someone’s sacred secrets. It’s a psychology assessment, grimoire, and personal diary all at once.
Jacob Moses isn’t new to the poetry scene. He’s previously published two other chapbooks: Art Therapy 101 and … and the willow smiled. When I received my review copy, I was thrilled because I knew I was in for a poetic adventure. Much like in his previous books, Jacob Moses uses poetry to explore the realms of the occult and psychology in Seance. However, he is very experimental and original in how he executes each poem’s form, word choices, and theme.
One thing I love about Jacob Moses’ chapbooks is that they’re authentic and Seance is no exception. Readers learn a lot about the poet himself during this tell-all of a chapbook. He dedicated the chapbook itself to his familiars and includes their pictures in the very beginning of the book. The chapbook opens up with his answers to the House-Tree-Person Assessment (HTP), a test that mental health professionals use to diagnose personality and mental functioning issues. Reading this assessment reminds me of how I feel when I read confessional poetry. The first poem is “Genesis of Jacob” and it truly is a beacon of insight into his Jewish spirituality. As I read Seance, it’s obvious to me that each poem comes from the heart. That's why I'm honored to be included in the "coven" of reviewers in the back of this chapbook.
Much like in his other books, nature is a prominent theme in Seance. One of my favorite poems in this book is “Willow in the Wind.” It’s shaped like an actual tree and reads like a spring breeze. In “Missing Cup,” he writes about some of his occult practices and praises entities who’ve helped him by name. Another great poem of his is “Parakeet Song,” a tribute to the bird familiars he’s raised in the past and/or currently cares for today. As a bird nerd, I appreciate that this is far from the only bird poem Moses has published in his body of work.
However, it’s not all birds and trees with Seance. Moses also writes about his experiences with mental illness and addiction at length. One poem that stands out to me in this regard is entitled “One Year Sober” and the words let readers experience a piece of his shamanic journey towards healing. He also writes about the stress of COVID19 and having bipolar disorder. “When You Can’t Dream” reflects on how mental illness manifests through dreams and disturbed sleep patterns. I think poems like this are important for spreading mental health awareness because a person with mental illness wrote the poem himself. When marginalized people create media, it helps people see the world through our eyes a little better.
Pick up your own copy of Seance via Amazon. For more updates, like Jacob Moses’ Facebook page.
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