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Book Review: A COMPLEX ACCIDENT OF LIFE by Jessica McHugh

Zakk Madness reviews A Complex Accident of Life by Jessica McHugh published by Apokrupha June 24, 2020.
Blackout. Deconstruction
        A calculated obstruction 
A Complex Accident
         flesh vs. word 
brief but powerful 
the weight of a sledgehammer brings 
   scribbles, doodles and patterns
 another heart hidden inside,
the moment
     may not appreciate 
A Complex Accident
                of a beautiful moment
Zakk madness is a big dumb animal. 
Blackout poetry is an interesting and striking construct. Deconstruct is probably a more fitting term. A calculated redaction and obstruction of words from an established written work (fiction, nonfiction, pamphlet, restaurant menu) to from a fresh entity. Taking something from the past, sacrificing parts of it to create rebirth. Isn’t that one of the more pure aesthetics of art, forming something new out of something old?
Jessica McHugh’s latest book, and first poetry release, A Complex Accident of Life, deconstructs the words of Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus to create a new collection of poetic verse. Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley’s 1818 novel, is on the surface a narrative concerning a scientist taking something from the past, sacrificing parts of it to create rebirth. A fitting inspiration for this medium as Dr. Frankenstein’s creation is blackout poetry using flesh vs. word. 
The 52 pieces of poetry created for A Complex Accident of Life are brief but powerful. Something I’ve come to expect from McHugh’s brand fiction (not the brevity but the power.) Jessica’s words always swing with the weight of a sledgehammer and this brings the heat again. 
The eBook formatted presentation (and I’d imagine the physical will follow suit) is a poem standalone, followed by a scan of the page it was created from, with colorful scribbles, doodles, and patterns flowing around the wordplay. Which is an obvious characteristic to blackout poetry that I just realized/ discovered while crafting this review, yeah, I’m dense like that. The aesthetic of the presentation carries the same weight as the prose itself. Two halves forming a whole life. A Complex Accident of Life is a satisfying read, the poetry on its own merit, but also seeing how the page is whittled away to find another heart hidden inside, it’s pretty rad.
I read this book on my phone, as my Kindle wasn’t (and still isn’t) cooperating and, at the moment of purchase, a paperback copy wasn’t yet available. Reading at the workplace with a tall cup of my favorite ice brewed coffee, surrounded by folks who may not appreciate or subject themselves to poetry in any form or faction. I was moved by the presentation, and I’d bet the farm that in a physical form it’s beauty is threefold. A Complex Accident of Life by Jessica McHugh, the best moment of that particular Tuesday. A beautiful moment in an otherwise chaotic and ugly day. 
Zakk Madness 
Zakk madness is a 40 something horror nerd and yo-yo enthusiast. He is not a critic, but a big fan of horror fiction. He is into black metal and dumb & dark humor. Former reviewer for The Mouths of Madness Podcastshow, he currently reviews as The Eyes of Madness. When this chaotic life is keeping him from reading he is spending what free time he has with his wife and their three sons and one animal, a minpin-chihuahua named Freddie.

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