We Are the Aliens: My Secret Poetry

We Are the Aliens finds indie poet Ronnell Beaty looking heavenward in both senses of the word.

His collection of free verse poems maintains some elements of form, while remaining accessible to those nervous of poetry chapbooks.

Preoccupied with celestial bodies and extraterrestrial life as a springboard to contemplate humanity’s place in a (Judeo-Christian) grand scheme, Beaty’s introduction makes a suitably bold promise. We Are the Aliens sets out to
“..take your mind to places you will never forget.
So just let your eyes be opened to my spiritual ways of thinking about life.
And as you read my poetry book you will never be the same again.”

Whether or not Beaty’s poems live up to such a grandiose set-up may prove an intensely personal judgment made by each reader, determined by their relationships to spirituality and science. Beaty stops short of inviting readers to interrogate these relationships, reaching instead for inspiration or transcendence, with a trace of humanist thought in the exhortations to look within and without for salvation, like “don’t be frightened by all that sees you.”

Such effort is slightly undermined in pieces like the title poem, which indulges in statements like ‘God is God’ seem profound at first glance, with echoes of ancient poetic rhythms found in the Old Testament, particularly those which repeat or couple phrases (We Are The Aliens makes effective use of hypnotic, mantra-like repetitions and devices like anadiplosis, in which a word from the end of a phrase begins the next).

Beaty’s poems, while calming or uplifting, may not be exactly what skeptical or agnostic readers prefer. Ultimately, We Are The Aliens, while trying to contain multitudes, proves frequently earthbound, humane and open-hearted but limited by its tendency to preach to the converted.