Atomic Kiss


Poetry - General
82 Pages
Reviewed on 09/30/2020
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Author Biography

Split by fission, plagued by fusion, living with creative demons... Brendan S Bigney writes poetry for the non-poets.

Writing in a storm of fire, he summons fictional imagery of Chaos and Order with the touch of the Atomic Kiss. Mix it with hard reality, and you get mind-altering and empowering poetry that hits you where it matters.

Before living out the remainder of his half-life, he was a Quest Giver in the Marine Corps where operations was his practiced art form. He never slept, rarely smiled, and mumbled with the muses. He enjoys a good dose of CS and is always working on a combination of words left unused.

Marines called him The Nuclear Cowboy.

    Book Review

Reviewed by Edith Wairimu for Readers' Favorite

Atomic Kiss by Brendan S Bigney is a collection of entertaining and insightful free-verse poems. The poem “The People that We Meet” opens the collection. It examines the many people one meets in a lifetime and encourages appreciating those among them who turn out to be special. “You Won’t Ever Rise” is a poem that lauds determination even when faced with constant failure. Another poem, “Misgrowth,” explores a situation in which a person confuses the process of growth with forcing another person to change. While some poems carry romantic themes, the collection also contains other poems whose messages are diverse. Some poems are brief, only consisting of a few lines, while others are longer. The brief poems are entertaining and surprising while longer ones mostly explore deeper topics.

In Atomic Kiss, similes such as “like a sweet sweet drip” and “like mothers searching for the first pictures of their babies” create distinct images of the lines in the poems where they appear. I liked that the poems explore different topics that make them captivating and unpredictable when moving from one poem to another. “AI > Human,” a poem about artificial intelligence is followed by “Abuses Many,” a brief poem about the abuses of humankind. Inanimate objects and elements are personified in the collection which gives them a lifelike appearance such as in the poem “Even the Rain is Mad,” which consists of the lines: “The rain is like a heart/ Beating itself into the ground/ Until at last/ Its beat ceases to be.” Atomic Kiss is an absorbing, straightforward collection of poems.

Soumya Sreehari

Will AI create better art than humans? How does an empty box feel? Why do some people we meet leave such searing memories in our hearts? How does darkness disappear into light? Are emotions important or worthless? What is the fate of a worn washcloth? Does the sun really rise? How do we define identity crisis? In the collection of poems, Atomic Kiss, Brendan S Bigney explores all these questions and many more. The devastation of a nuclear bomb, the gentle puttering of rain, a burnt tree, walking up the stairs – all these become instruments of introspection. Some short, some long, these poems delve deep into the human mind and the absurdity of human action. From the mundane to the profound, Atomic Kiss questions everything.

Through its nimble play of words, Atomic Kiss took me on a journey from the literal to the metaphorical and beyond. In this collection of poems, Brendan S Bigney succeeds in prodding the reader’s brain to think deeply. I had to read some of the poems repeatedly to fully absorb the implications of the words. I was smiling at some of them, I was heartbroken over some, I had to delve deeply into others. Reading these poems was like peeling an onion. There are so many layers within the words, waiting to be discovered. I am certain that I will gain fresh perspectives every time I read these poems. Pick up Atomic Kiss if you are brave at heart and are ready to push the limits of your thinking and imagination.

Asher Syed

Atomic Kiss by Brendan S Bigney is a compilation of original poetry that touches on several different themes in a total of seventy pieces of work. Most of the poetry is in free verse with a heightened focus on allegory use, and with only the occasional employment of rhyme or meter. Each poem varies in size, length, and structure with the majority sitting comfortably in a single stanza, such as Abuses Many, a single stanza, quad verse poem that succinctly describes the debasement of physical and written form as a side effect of human nature. Other poems are a bit longer, such as The Tree That Could Not Fall which has eight stanzas depicting in story format the evolution of a tree who mistakenly believes his worth has been routinely diminished. All poems engage in emotional exploration even when it is the result of or it results in a physical or any other form of tangible manifestation.

Poetry is deeply personal and for this very reason, it is unusually difficult to review. Brendan S Bigney speaks from the heart and this is evidenced in Atomic Kiss. There were definitely pieces that moved me and stood out above the others, such as Like a Worn Cloth, an ode to those who give of themselves fully to their own detriment until they are destroyed and cast off. Then there were other poems that felt a little clichéd and not particularly inspiring, like Distractions, a three verse shibboleth that comes off to me as slightly cheesy. Still, the shorter work, in general, does more to evoke the sentiment most hope to find in poetry and this is where I was able to find it. From a literary standpoint, I'm not sure how well the reception would be on this compilation from Bigney's peers in the upper echelons of classic poets and modern librettists, but that doesn't really matter if readers are able to connect with the work on a deeply personal level.

Louise Hurrell

Brendan S Bigney wants to write poetry for non-poets and in Atomic Kiss, he has succeeded. Both the topics and imagery used are so relatable that even those who don’t read poetry often will understand and appreciate them. Bigney seems very interested in discussing relationships - both romantic and with ourselves - and mental health, using imagery of the natural world. Throughout the collection, nature is often used as a stand-in for a woman. The strongest poem, the titular ‘Atomic Kiss,’ does something similar: a woman becomes a metaphor for the atomic bomb. Our narrator seems to be discussing both the whirlwind and aftermath of a toxic relationship and also the fallout after nuclear warfare. The poem tackles the anxiety and complex relationship humans have with nuclear weapons under the guise of a romantic one, and the combination of societal and personal problems makes ‘Atomic Kiss’ relatable on different levels.

The majority of poems in Atomic Kiss are short, sharp hits of emotion with some only a sentence long. Whilst a couple felt too slight and their ideas not fully unpacked, this technique worked overall mainly due to Brendan S Bigney’s coupling of certain poems. Two great examples of this are ‘How Worthless Our Emotions’ and ‘Their Importance’ which focus on two opposing ideas, namely the importance or worthlessness of emotions in our lives. They both ultimately have a similar message, but the clash between the poems’ angles makes the collection more dynamic and helps it to flow easier. Similarly, word choice is used in this manner: for example, ‘rise’ is seen at the end of one poem and then in the first line of the following one. I found this repetition of language helped tie the collection together and made it a lot stronger. Atomic Kiss is a quick read which brims with hopefulness despite the occasionally grim imagery.

Tiffany Ferrell

In Brendan S Bigney’s Atomic Kiss, we are introduced to a collection of poems about struggle, heartbreak, and abuse, to name a few themes. We are taken on an emotional journey through prose and poetry with his short yet effective pieces that speak of trials and distress. The Nuclear Cowboy introduces us to hard-hitting experiences with his witty play on words that will leave an impact upon finishing. I thought Atomic Kiss was a beautiful collection of poems. The collection is so diverse in subject matter that there is at least one poem that a reader could find themselves relating to.

I enjoyed reading Atomic Kiss. It’s a collection that many people can relate to. I always love it when a writer can blow a person's mind and leave them in awe with a short poem. Bigney has done this many times in this collection. A few of my favorites are When At Last They Meet, Projection, Distractions, The Killing Of Happiness, and Misgrowth. I can relate to these poems on a deeper level. The words have been something that I have struggled to define, and yet these poems seem to say it all. Overall, Brendan S Bigney has done a wonderful job in writing such a powerful and real collection of poetry that really grabs the reader's attention. Atomic Kiss is definitely a book I will be recommending to friends. I will also be on the lookout for more of his work.