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Reviewed by Jacob R LaMar for Readers' Favorite
Smoke in the Afterlife is an adult poetry book. Each poem is written in free verse so it contains no patterned rhythm or rhyme. Penned by Emilio Iasiello, Smoke in the Afterlife describes the sufferings the author experienced during his childhood. Certainly, some of the pieces center around violence as it relates to the author's life but none is written in excess so while the book is more fit for adults it’s in no way harmful to a younger audience. Though it is a big piece of the story, this manuscript doesn’t focus solely on the violence the authors experienced; many poems also center around alcoholism and the role that had in his past as well. Primarily the story focuses on how past trauma can help mold a person and shape the course of their future.
Emilio Iasiello’s Smoke in the Afterlife is replete with a metaphorical language whose devices tend to drive the story further rather than creating a distraction. One example would be in the poem For My Brother Who Needs Strength, where the entire piece focuses on Theseus and his time within the labyrinth. The collection is an in-depth experience and probably not intended for those in search of a light read though I personally enjoyed it. Smoke in the Afterlife is well written with a sizeable vocabulary that would exceed the knowledge of some adult readers and many younger ones, though the book is sure to capture the interest of experienced poetry lovers all around.