Vice and Virtue

A poetic celebration of fun.

Poetry - General
176 Pages
Reviewed on 08/27/2018
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Samantha Dewitt (Rivera) for Readers' Favorite

The world around us is often starkly divided between good and bad, black and white, vice and virtue, but is it truly all that clear? In truth, there is more gray area than there is black or white, and there is more average than good or bad. The view from each side, however, is one that you feel drawn into and, when you can imagine them both as stark and cold, it draws you even more. The poetry and the beauty around us seem to make these points even more succinctly. Vice and Virtue, by Paul Kloschinsky, is one way that you can see all of the good and the bad throughout the world and throughout each of us.

This is a book that definitely paints pictures with words. You feel like you’re the social outcast, standing on the outside, looking in and wondering what it is that society feels is so wrong with you. You feel like you’re experiencing the day at the park, the noise of the city, spirits and grief, money and gods of all backgrounds and religions. It’s definitely about the good and the bad that exist in all of us and just how they can coexist without making us good or bad ourselves. It’s all about finding your own balance and achieving your own happiness in Vice and Virtue. Looking at both sides from the point of view of the extremes and the clear and brilliant views of someone who can really paint the picture is the best way to know.

Gisela Dixon

Vice and Virtue: A Poetic Celebration of Fun by Paul Kloschinsky is a poetry collection comprised of an eclectic mix of themes and subjects. Vice and Virtue also contains images and art work. Each poem is accompanied by a unique and interesting image or art piece that seems to somehow complement the theme of the poem. The poems themselves range over a wide variety of subjects pertaining to mortality, life and death existential questions, health, spirituality, emotions and feelings, the ego, desires, renunciation, etc. There is a certain preference towards the spiritual and mystical view of life and this is evident in the illustrations as well which depict motifs and themes from Hinduism, Buddhism, etc. along with contemporary images.

I liked the poems in Vice and Virtue: A Poetic Celebration of Fun by Paul Kloschinsky and, more than the poems, I loved the illustrations. Some of them are just fantastic and aesthetically very pleasing and inspiring. I also enjoyed the poems which focused more on contemplation and reflection on life, ego, etc. since they are thought provoking. Some of the poems I liked include “The math of matter/the surrealism of spirit,” “Valor,” “Masquerade,” and “The Search for Sublime Solace,” among others. I found them to be calming and peaceful and the images just add tenfold to that feeling. Paul Kloschinsky’s poetry style has rhythm and grace and I am sure poetry lovers will enjoy these poems. This is a good poetry book that I enjoyed reading.

Sandy Masia

Vice and Virtue: A Poetic Celebration of Fun is the fourth collection of poems from Paul Kloschinsky, exploring a wide range of themes, from the personal to the universal. Vice and Virtue is an encompassing collection of poems, truly vast in the number of themes, subjects it covers and emotions it evokes. It is truly majestic. At its core is a heartening poet who has had many defining experiences and thoughts, both good and bad, which all could be summed up in a simple but understandable word; "life". That is what you get when you read Vice and Virtue; a distilled poignant dose of life.

In it, a poet feels the world is moving on without him, that the world is severing its roots and tossing aside centuries of wisdom without regard. And it is this dangerous abandonment, rejection and ignorance that land mankind in a crisis of purposelessness, meaninglessness and confusion. Paul Kloschinsky expresses disdain for overindulgence and asceticism, preferring an Aristotelian balance in all things. These sentiments are expressed in a romantic and mythopoeic voice, juxtaposing insights of the ancients with the present.

Vice and Virtue is an eclectic collection of challenging poems by Paul Kloschinsky, filled with intelligent, keen observations of modern societies, the systems within them, human nature and existence. The illustrations are made to evoke emotion, perceptiveness and convey meaning, adding a layer to the poetry. They are truly curious and intriguing. Vice and Virtue is without a doubt worth keeping in your collection; it stays with you.

Sefina Hawke

Vice and Virtue (A poetic celebration of fun) by Paul Kloschinsky falls into the genre of general poetry and would appeal most to a mixed audience of young adults and adults who enjoy poetry combined with imagery. This book is a combination of poetry and visual elements so that each poem has their own unique theme and image that precedes the poem. The images serve to give the reader a slight teaser into the topic of each poem. The poems do not share one common theme; instead, each poem has its own unique theme such as death, spirits, tobacco, and more.

Vice and Virtue (A poetic celebration of fun) by Paul Kloschinsky is an interesting collection of well-written poems. At first it was a little off putting to have each poem with its own theme and with no connecting factors to bring all of the poems together. However, I quickly came to like the lack of a shared theme as it made each poem feel exciting because I did not know what theme I would be reading about next! I particularly liked the addition of images as each poem had an image that came before the text; I enjoyed looking at the image and trying to decide what the poem would be about before reading the words. This added an element of mystery to the collection as I felt that the images were clues that I could examine to try to guess about the poem.

My favorite poem was “Urban Minotaur” as it combined elements of ancient mythology with modern elements in a way that just spoke to me on a personal level. Overall, I really enjoyed this collection of poems and I hope the author decides to create another, similar style collection in the future with images!