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Bewildering Stories

The Critics’ Corner

About “Nobody’s Hell”

with Thomas F. Wylie

Nobody’s Hell” appears in issue 490.

I have read many of Rebecca Lu Kiernan’s poems at Bewildering Stories, and without doubt she is a superb writer. But the poem “Nobody’s Hell” struck me like thunder. Its raw and vivid imagery froze my emotions. For me it is one of her very best.

While being quizzical in the first stanza with “(x) minus laughter ... (y) times muffled crying equals (z)” she spins off sweat-like feeling with lines in stanzas three and four:

And dream so big, so bright
And trust the universe to get it right.

To see the ugly empty stare
We know is dancing there.

And then she closes from the title of “Nobody’s Hell” to the last stanza and last line “Our nights are everybody’s Hell” which ties it all together.

Whew! Wonderful poem! The kind of writing I love to see in Bewildering Stories.

Thomas F. Wylie

Thank you, Tom. I’m sure Rebecca’s many fans will feel the same as you. One thing the poem illustrates quite forcefully is that the opposite of love is not hate, it’s apathy. Someone who loves or hates you at least affirms that your existence is important in some way. But someone who might do either but does neither is anybody’s “hell”: the nothingness that denies being.


Copyright © 2012 by Thomas F. Wylie
and Bewildering Stories

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