I got my first taste of Mahan’s poetry on Twitter. I enjoyed the material he shared, so when he announced his book, it went on my wishlist. The title, Private Poems Mostly, intrigued me. A hint at the secrets you’d find inside. The title doesn’t disappoint either. From the first poem, “Her Eyes” the reader is placed intimately in Mahan’s life. I cried after reading it. The feelings surprised me. I even needed to do a bit of writing to understand them. I don’t believe “Her Eyes” is meant to be a sad poem, but for me it was. I take it as a good sign when any writer evokes emotion from me. The very next poem “Briana Writes” feels like a letter of encouragement to a friend or maybe a sort of “I see you and who you are.”
Each and every poem grabs you and gives you the impression of being with the author and the people around him. You feel the importance he places on the lives that touch him. His way of showing them he cares and understands their struggles and their strengths. Some of the poems are short insights, and some feel more like a poetic story. Each carries a tag, letting the reader know who they were meant for and sometimes a little more. I think its these tags that give it the “private” feel. Almost like you found someone’s journal, years later, and couldn’t help but have a peek.
I look forward to seeing more of Mahan’s writing. He’s a talented author with a style all his own. I like the direction of Private Poems Mostly and would love to see more poetry from Mahan. My last thought upon reading the book, “The poems leave you feeling like you have intimate knowledge, but how much do I really know and how much did I just suppose?” I like that. It feels like each poem is what we make of it through our own perspectives.