Bitter Sweet Love (2016)
By Michael Faudet
I finally had the chance to read Michael Faudet’s second poetry book entitled Bitter Sweet Love this winter break. With a title like that, one can already assume that this poetry book will focus on heartache.
Yet it wasn’t the heartache poetry that I found interesting but rather the prose narrative that caught my attention. There is a pattern that I started to notice as I read this book, particularly with the prose. Some of the passages are linked together by the constant reference of specific female protagonists such as Lucy, Sophia, and Serena. Faudet places these passages in a random order, so if you want to be an avid reader, you would have to be a detective and piece together the small passages in order to get a “whole story.” It’s a clever game to play in a poetry book but it would take some time and effort on the reader’s part to do it.
While reading, I wondered why he had recurring characters throughout a simple prose and poetry book. My only conclusion is that he’s trying to show readers that you remember people from specific memories that impacted your life in some way as opposed to the overall character of a person. These memories aren’t chronological but are triggered by some mood, emotion, or object. And so by having these prose passages in random order, it gives off that sporadic vibe of memories and remembering people in those memories.
Furthermore, Faudet continues to be erotic in his poetry and prose which I greatly praise for because he has such an interesting outlook on love, just like in his previous book. Yet in this book, I think he emphasizes the prose aspect more than the poetry. He creates this dream world where his love affairs reside in as if these relationships are just pure fantasy or a mere recollection of a time from long ago. In fact, there is some supernatural charm and magic to some of these passages which I enjoyed reading.
One last comment I have about this book is how Faudet depicts an interesting affair with him (the male speaker) and a woman named Sophie. However, Sophie is in a relationship with Serena as well, whom the male speaker is made aware of. It’s interesting to note how a male writer describes a romantic relationship between women because he can only image or observe such a relationship rather than being in one himself. I’m not sure what to make of it but you do get a sense of unspoken words among these characters that Faudet tries to convey in the language.
Once again, Michael Faudet continues to impress me with his wit, charm, and eroticism.