Sway This Way: Idiot Verse by Keaton Henson |Review

Review by Jade Mitchell

An acclaimed musician, writer, and visual artist, Keaton Henson has already painted a picture of love, heart-break and pain with his numerous albums and collections of artwork. But now, he can add the title of poet under his belt. Idiot Verse details the moments and mishaps of Keaton’s life over a three-year period, and captures them at their rawest and honest emotion.

Within his poetry, there is a sense of isolation, in the longing to be in another’s company. Within poems such as “Grow Up With Me” and “Polite Plea”, there is a gentle coaxing within Keaton’s voice, the kind of plea which is inviting, even if it is as simple as to exist with someone.

“I will make art, not for, but about you

speak truths while you’re sleep and wake you with hands

we will dive deeply into one another

and stay out of our own weary heads”

But within this isolation, there is also the temptation to hide. To conceal your emotions away and lock them forever within yourself. “Hiding It” faces this idea of being overwhelmed with feeling that you can barely hold yourself together, so you keep yourself hidden.

“I vow to stow it all away

and keep the world from you

if I can’t handle all of it

how could you feel it to?

So I’ll smoke a cigarette and think

of everything you are

how can I feed and dress myself

when thinking of the stars?”

Within Idiot Verse, there is also the contrast between love and heart-break, and Keaton knows this all too well. The poem “The One” is simple in its poetry. There is something quite bitter-sweet within its language, within filling yourself with so much care and love for someone so much you’d sacrifice your life for them.

“you are my angel

I’ll keep you from harm

talk to me sweetly

break both my arms

My Aphrodite

you’re every breath

sing me a lullaby

love me to death”

But what happens when this love stops, when it’s over-shadowed by fear that you can’t help but tell yourself to leave? “Too Soon” details the leaving of someone too quickly. This poem is full of longing and regret, but the love still exists there, trembling.

“I know

I left you far too soon my love

but knew from every laugh

that I was never going to be

able to be enough

I know I gave up far too soon

and left in a loathsome way

but please understand I’m not quite a man

but perhaps will be someday”

But sadly, this review is not enough to display the intensity of Keaton’s work within this collection. Idiot Verse carries the reflections of being a creator, of the hardships of writing, of being isolated and finding solace within poetry. Within the last poem “To”, Keaton ends the collection with a bitter-sweet poem, highlighting the harmony and balance we will one day find in our lives.

“to plant flowers

and leave, never to see them grow

to pretend to pretend you’re important

but secretly feel that you are”

Connect with Keaton:
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Keaton Henson is a musician, writer and visual artist from the suburbs of London, England. He has released three critically-acclaimed albums: Dear, Birthdays and Romantic Works as well as scoring for ballet and film. Keaton has also shown his art in exhibitions around the world and published a book called Gloaming. He is currently working on his fourth album alongside new exhibitions and books.

Contributing Editor

Jade Mitchell is an 18 year old poet / writer who resides near Glasgow, Scotland. Her work has been featured in The Grind Journal, Inky Paper and Ink Scotland. Aside from working on her writing and poetry, you can find her listening to Lorde and reading every poem she can find in sight.