Hi everyone! I’m excited about this post for two reasons. For one, I am so very thankful for the opportunity to have had early access to this work sent to me by Verona Booksellers to review. It’s always an amazing feeling to be in partnership with them and Bryant, so thanks so much!
#2: it’s a poetry book! I’ll get into this later, but I think personal, casual poems like the ones in this book are so intimate, revealing, and rare. Anyway, let’s talk about In the College at Night!
*Note: my rating system has been altered for this post since this is a poetry book and not a novel, where characters, pacing, and cliches are considered in my ratings. My review guidelines page has been updated to reflect this.
Synopsis: In the College at Night is about a young man’s coming of age within the complexities of campus life.Full of pathos, poignancy, and provoking introspection, this poetry collection guides readers through the quiet magic of a summer romance, the generational restlessness of packed parties, the angst of a hopeless relationship, and the self-reflection of graduation afternoon. In the style of spoken word poets such as Phil Kaye and Rudy Francisco, Loney’s poems capture the clumsiness and spirit of today’s youth and their rampaging wild hearts.
“‘Cause I dunno, there’s something about our little road trips that’ve really opened my eyes to the world and its many possibilities.'” — “Longer Days, Shorter Nights”
“I always mean it when I say I wanna give you the world.” — “Together”
“If vulnerability is unattractive, then I’m the ugliest one of all.” — “This Sacred Line”
Forewarning: if you aren’t looking to read poems about young adult romantic endeavors, this may not be the book for you. If you are, keep reading!
What I loved:
1) The synopsis is 100% accurate by describing this book as “full of pathos, poignancy, and potent introspection.” There is a generous mix of “this is sad” and “this is so wholesome” moments throughout the book.
2) The poems were so captivating. I sat down to begin reading this in a local cafe, not intending to read more than a few poems consecutively. I ended up staying for an hour and a half and read the entire book. It is so incredibly rare for me to do that, and I was shocked when I realized I had made it to the last page! I couldn’t stop reading.
3) Although I haven’t read many poetry books in my lifetime, the poems in this book deeply resonated with me for a few reasons. For one, I found that the poems have a common theme of thoughts that are universally relateable, making them easy to both read and understand. I appreciated this because I think poetry in general has this connotation of words that are esoteric and mysterious, but the Bryant’s are neither of those. They are colloquial, yet provocative.
4) The words on have a way of making you feel comforted or pleasantly surprised if you’ve ever felt alone in having certain thoughts. For example, one poem in the book titled “The Light We Cast” talks about thinking about people who the narrator went to high school with and wondering how their lives are going now. That’s something that I have thought about in the last seven months, and I was comforted by that small shared experience.
5) I am honestly just an absolute sucker for deep thinking, pretty words, love, and sappiness. If you are too, this one is for you. Without spoiling the intricacies of each poem throughout the entire book by explaining my love for them, I think it is safe to say you’ll love them too.
Thank you again to Verona Booksellers for the opportunity, and keep an eye on this space, as another interview with Bryant is coming soon! Until then, check out the interview I did with Bryant about his book Seabreeze Academy!