Scott Wozniak has seen some shit. This new poetry collection from Moran Press offers a sobering snapshot at a life of hardship, pain and regret. Wozniak puts it all on the line and pulls no punches. At times it can be hard to swallow, but it is necessary. This is vital and honest poetry.
One particular poem that stood out to me and hit me right in the feels was Numb, a poem that highlights the stark reality of heroin addiction - as he watches his friends die one by one from overdoses, he finally realises that he needs to get clean:
"I stood numb,
thinking to myself,
"They finally got
what they wanted,"
"What the fuck
That, to me,
is more mysterious
could ever be."
This is not poetry that glamourises the struggle, or celebrates reckless behaviour, but poetry of survival and redemption. Of fucking up and learning from it. Of taking every blow that life can throw at you, getting back up and throwing right back.
Littered throughout the confessional big hitters are astute and oftentimes comical observations about modern life, delivered in Wozniak's concise and succinct style. The juxtaposition of these lighthearted interludes make Crumbling Utopian Pipedream a fascinating and enjoyable read. I am incredibly proud to have published Scott's work in past issues of Paper and Ink Literary Zine (#9 and #10) and shout out must be made to the striking cover artwork by Marie Enger (whom illustrated the covers of Paper and Ink Issues #6 and #9). Grab a copy of Crumbling Utopian Pipedream from publisher Moran Press.