2020 meant something different for everyone, each person being presented with their own unique challenges and coming away with scars meant only for them. What do we do with these scars? Grieve, celebrate, address, ignore? The answer is, again, different for everyone. But there’s one man who transferred those scars to the written word, who picked at his scabs and allowed what lurked beneath to leak onto the page, and into his poetry.
Emotion Corrosion is the debut poetry collection of Leigh Haddington, author of Kings of Hell, a horror novel I reviewed upon its release. This collection, subtitled ‘Poetry from a Disturbed Mind’, is split up into six parts, ranging from ‘Depression’ to ‘Disturbed’ to ‘Loss’, and of course, ‘Pandemic’. As these titles suggest, the collection is not plain sailing. The scars at which Leigh picks result in poems that present the mind of someone grappling with grief, emotional displacement, anxiety as to one’s place in the world, and the question of what to do with the nostalgia of youth. I could lay out for you the technical expertise with which I feel these writings were constructed, but in light of such heavy subject matter, I feel these considerations are almost inconsequential. The strength of Emotion Corrosion is in its refusal to back away from the most painful of topics – topics we must all eventually face.
I ask you again: what do we do with our scars? Whether the marks of our own battles were earned during the events of 2020’s global pandemic, or through other battles both lost and won, it is up to each individual to determine what to do with the memories and traumas bestowed upon us by tragedies past. For each person there is an answer, and Leigh has found his.
I hope this laying bare of his own agonies and anxieties has proven beneficial to him, and that he has found a form of catharsis in the birthing of Emotion Corrosion. Regardless, I want to thank Leigh for bearing his soul for us all, and he should know that his collection proved for me an exceptionally intense and emotive read.
Just how I like it.