(Published by Cyberwit.net, 2007, ISBN 91-09415091004, 138 pages, paperback, US$15)
Through My Eyes is an excellent example of a work of fine literature that functions on many levels. It is not merely a personal tribute to Elvis Presley, but an historical and sociological poetic document - giving insight into one of the most widespread celebrity fan groups to be found today, but also containing voices of the author, the fans and Elvis himself, as well as many private and spiritual thoughts that make up and support the author's personal reality. Through My Eyes is, as the author indicates in her modest title, her own account and vision ... but it is much more in that it both explores a modern archetype.
Mappley is careful not to present love of Elvis as a "cult" or a religion, but is quite adept at showing (through her verse) how, how much and why she and others hold this man in so high regard. Therefore, Through My Eyes is more than just a work of poetry - it is also a study a phenomenon: that of persons who revere a man that has inspired them, sung the musical poetry that still reverberates in their hearts, and who many aspire to mimic and follow even so many years after his death. That many believe that Elvis is still with us on the Earth is perhaps not so difficult to understand when reading Mappley's book, because for them he is quite alive and living within them - through his music, his clothing and hairstyles, memorabilia, and even pilgrimages to Graceland.
Most readers have (by now) understood that I have great expectations of poetry in general, and tightly constructed rhyming verse in particular. Here Marie Mappley has so cleverly expressed her thoughts and questions, has organised the sequence of poems so well and has identified her audience so clearly (both Elvis fans specifically and those curious about learning more about "the King" and his followers) that the verse rolls naturally off the tongue and in recesses of the right brain, also sparking creativity and engagement in the reader. The rhyming, musical style is appropriate here - further supporting the theme of the book: the music and the musician as a modern day archetype.
Through My Eyes is original, straightforward, well conceived, well planned, and well executed. It is refreshing to read a book of poetry that combines poetic craftsmanship with successful expression of the author's feelings about a particular theme - a theme that has given her a reason to write ... beyond a mere love of poetry. That gives the artistic work life, passion, power and credibility.
Literary criticism (2008) by Adam Donaldson Powell (based upon "Through My Eyes", published by Cyberwit.net, 2007, ISBN 91-09415091004, 138 pages, paperback, US$15)
MARIE MAPPLEY (UK) makes her debut as a poetry book author with this collection of poems.