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Book Review: Mereland by Ed Near

Updated: Mar 29

The poetry book I chose to read in January was Mereland by Edward Near. This poetry collection combines elements of world-building. Mereland is a fictional town. It’s inspired by the poet’s hometown, but as the dock on the cover suggests, the inspiration fades into its own world.

Against the ruins of my domain Against the rough hide of its rust I steal back the unsalted remains And I begin the struggle to rise from dust

Most of the collection feels like the poet is taking the reader on a tour through Mereland. In “Morning in Mere Land,” we’re waking up in this town behind the speaker’s eyes. “A glimpse of light/Coloured by childish curtains.”

The poet’s bio describes him as “an autistic man and would-be recluse.” Reading closely, we see that this collection is really about a young man gaining insight into himself as he navigates the world of autism. We are a guest in Mereland and are new to his unique perspective on the ups and downs of growing up on the spectrum.

Countless possibilities the world sing praise Yet here the body lies in a daze Combination of choices locked, a desire to raze

If you’re interested in the technical aspects of poetry, this collection contains traditional elements. The first poem, “I and the Wilds” uses the AABB rhyme scheme, and the second one mostly uses ABAB with a slight variation in the middle of the poem for effect. The poet plays around with different rhyme schemes, but structurally, it doesn’t deviate much. At times, the collection reads like a lyrical fantasy. There are references to towers, crows, firebirds, chalices, phoenixes, etc. I found this to be a unique touch since most popular poetry is cemented to a contemporary landscape.

Overall, Mereland by Ed Near is a beautiful poetry collection that shines a light on a unique experience. I recommend it if you enjoy poetry.

P.S. This was not a sponsored review and I did not receive the book for free in exchange for a review. I bought it on my own accord and decided to share.

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