The Age Begins (published by The Age Begins Books) is the first collection of poetry from Canadian writer Oneal Walters. It is a mixture of personal poems about his search for success as a writer, and “love” poetry, about . . . well, “love”. It is something of an odd combination, but one that works quite well, resulting in an honest and intimate collection.
Editorially, however, the book is lacking. Many, if not all, of the poems have a certain awkward, self-concious feel to them. There are those that are obviously trying to press home a message, and those that are simply overflowing with angst. Here’s an example from “Seperate Ways”, which falls into the former category:
She says, “You’re wrong.
Girls and guys can be friends
Without sexual motives.”
I disagree, “Females are not
My friends, well except one
But that’s something else.”
As reflected here, one of Walters’ bizzare stylistic choices is to refer to women as “females”, a trait that makes it seem as though he is writing about an alien species. Many of the poems are awkward in this way: honest but clunky; truthful but unpolished. With more editorial input the core of this collection could have shone.
That said, The Age Begins is well presented. The pages are layed out beautifully, and the book itself is pleasantly designed. It divides itself into two sections: “Love” and “Mis-Justice”, though the difference between these two is never entirely clear.
The Age Begins is a heartfelt but simplistic collection. If you’re feeling sentimental, it is available from The Age Begins Books, here: theagebegins.com