Book Review: More by Tracy Mellor – “hard-hitting, visceral, and an unrelenting examination of the human condition”

More by Tracy Mellor

Book Review
Title: More
Author: Tracy Mellor
Publisher: Lulu
Released: 2009
Pages: 211
ISBN – 978-0-557-04659-1
Stars: 3.5

More is poet Tracy Mellor’s second collection of poetry, following 2007’s Walk Backwards In Your Mind. These are self-published works of very high quality, printed on demand through

I know Tracy a little bit through our online acquaintance and I know that she’s had a particularly challenging journey in this life. She grew up in the Bay area of San Francisco (and currently resides in the greater Seattle region), an extremely bright, adopted, only child.

In her own words, “Tracy lives with a severe form of Bipolar Disorder and is active in mental health advocacy with NAMI (National Alliance On The Mentally Ill). She earned a B.A. Degree in Psychology from the University of California at Davis, and an M.S. Degree in Community Counseling from California State University – Sacramento.”

She is a talented chanteuse, a Celtic Diva, as well as a wonderful writer. She is an artist with words and paints vivid cameos of life as she knows it. Sometimes I am just struck by the beauty of the words she strings together: “lay me down/in a velvet shroud of midnight blue”, “I was draped/ in the ghost of Haldol”, “our first kiss/better than rain from quicksilver heaven”, “rusty porch-swing eyes”, “tap dancing on the floorboards/of eternal life”, miles of innuendo/contained in a grin”, “on a slingshot/back from Hell”, “speak here…/in the golden seashell spiral/of my ear”, and “the harbor of remorse/is flooded/with the fog of regret.”

“Tracy describes her writing as hard-hitting, visceral, and an unrelenting examination of the human condition.” Her poetry is not for the faint of heart. It’s for people who can relate to heartbreak, abandonment, disappointment, loss, frustration, attempted suicide, detachment and livid crimson anger, as well as those who dance in the midnight shadows of love and seek redemption from someone or something outside of themselves.

Tracy is a survivor, a fighter, and a lover and despite the hard knocks this life has given her, she never ever gives up. As she so eloquently puts it in Played: “but hope had me in a headlock.” It is this underlying hope and faith that she will get out of life what she deserves that keeps the reader rooting for her. I can relate particularly to In Plain Sight, about those who lie about who they are and hide behind their Internet-created facades:

In Plain Sight

some people hide
take delight
in assumed identities
fake names
other lives
glamour shots taken
Long ago
photoshopped beauties
legs up to their chin
tides of illusion
tucked behind webcams
they only tell you
what you want to hear
mutual admiration
in mere seconds
praying to a fallen god
of the most rotten variety
never revealing
the bitter truth
that “model” is a housewife
that “hottie” is a husband
boys and girls
lined up on the side
rack ‘em up
and watch them break
as deception looms
your bank account drained
as you support the latest
high-tech scam
all because
they said
you’re everything
what you see
when you look at me
is real
what you get
to the core
I never made claims
to be more than I am
I am armed
with arrows
a huntress
prowling for imposters
like to me
and I’ll have your head
paraded around
for public consumption
what you get is what you see
I have no time
for trickery

© Tracy Mellor

It is absolutely true that with Tracy Mellor, what you see is what you get.

More is, however, more often ominous than optimistic, melancholy than mirth-inducing, and disgruntled than delightful, and while I can certainly relate to the emotions Tracy experienced while writing these works, this collection is what I fear my own book of poetry (self-published through Lulu) is and it’s the reason I stopped writing for a long time. Until I can feel more sanguine about life, I choose not to put any more negative doggerel out there.

So, if you’re in the same headspace as Tracy Mellor was when writing More you will certainly appreciate her verse, but if you’re feeling content and confident about your life, this book probably isn’t for you.

1 Comment

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