A Familiar Stranger by Matthew Williams

A Familiar Stranger by Matthew Williams

Throughout my life, I have been drawn to poetry. It’s something I have enjoyed both writing and reading at various times. During a period of crisis, poetry can heal the soul. And in times of joy it can perfectly express those feelings we find so difficult to identify and label. A Familiar Stranger by Matthew Williams takes us on a journey of self-discovery and of self-reflection. It’s an exploration of love both won and lost, and the search for understanding of the world and one’s self.

Matthew Williams

I’d like to introduce you, my readers to Matthew Williams. Matthew is an author and speaker who expresses his emotions through incredibly emotive poetry.

Matthew stands out as a poet because he is so relatable. He’s truly one of us! Matthew has undergone so many experiences many of us have faced.

The author is a divorcee, a father, trying to understand the world around him and navigate his way through love and life. Matthew is very open about depression, having suffered from this horrible mental health illness for much of his adult life.

In fighting back, Matthew tries to help and inspire others who have undergone similar issues. Our author is not only an accomplished writer and speaker but also a champion for the Time to Change Campaign whose goal is to improve attitudes towards mental health issues.

You can find out more about Matthew and his work by visiting his blog.

A Familiar Stranger

Matthew was kind enough to send me a copy of his latest collection of poems entitled A Familiar Stranger (available on Amazon). The title itself is incredibly evocative – is the author referring to himself? Or is the familiar stranger someone else?

The material is arranged into 4 chapters – Living, Loving, Falling and Rising. The 4 chapters take us on a journey with the poet as he experiences these various emotions.

Living

Within the chapter Living, Matthew explores the modern world. I found the author’s take on social media and its implications on our way of life incredibly poignant. One of my favourite poems in this chapter is That’s Living Online. This poem really made me consider just how mind-numbing social media and scrolling online can really be. With lines, such as

a trade in electro currency,

of comments, likes and shares

Matthew Williams – That’s Living Online

One cannot help but consider just how much social media has taken over modern life.

Loving

A poem that really stood out for me in the chapter Loving was ‘How Could You’.

never thought you would do that

couldn’t be the person I knew

the one I gave my heart to

who was that if it wasn’t you

Matthew Williams – How Could You

Many of us have been in a situation similar to the poet’s experience. We think we know someone but how little we actually knew them!

Matthew also explores love in the modern world through a number of poems. A particularly interesting one for me was F**k Tinder. I have been with my husband for 14 years, we met in a nightclub. This is no longer the conventional way (so I’m told). (In fact, I only discovered recently what exactly Tinder is). I have no idea how I would handle the new ways of meeting people and dating were I to start again. We join the author in trying to make sense of the online dating scene. Some of the poems contemplate finding love after a long relationship, which is always a difficult and emotional experience!

Falling

The poems in the chapter Falling deal with issues surrounding depression and they are incredibly raw and powerful. The author really lets the words flow from mind to page and completely releases his emotions. The reader can tell that the process of writing the poetry in this section is an incredibly therapeutic act for the author. Stumbling Through Fog and Heaven and Hell reminded me of a place I can recall all too well. The words in these poems actually made me consider how far I have come in my own battle with mental health issues.

Rising

I found the chapter Rising incredibly emotional. The material in these pages demonstrates the increasing clarity of the author’s mind in making sense of his own depression. After ‘stumbling through the fog’ I rejoiced in the sense that the author was beginning to see the light ahead. And there is also an important realisation that we don’t have to have a perfect sense of oneself and the world around us to be OK.

I’ll never have all the answers

never have it all sussed out

I’ll keep walking along my own path

Just trying to figure this s**t out

Matthew Williams – Just Trying to Figure this S**t Out

Why I Would Recommend A Familiar Stranger

An honest review doesn’t have to say anything negative. And this is an honest review with nothing negative to say! I honestly really enjoyed reading Matthew’s work and joining him on his journey. His work is what I would call ‘edgy’ – his style, the way the work is presented it offers something fresh and modern.

Some people have a problem with swear words in literature, I personally don’t have a problem with it. Matthew uses swear words in some of his poems, but swearing is simply part of the English language (I only use expletives because my mother and my children read my blog!) The language used is extremely evocative and powerful. The material is effectively arranged into chapters which follow the author on his emotional journey.

We don’t need to undertake extensive research to figure out the meaning of his words. They’re raw and real. Simply by reading Matthew’s work, you can imagine exactly how he was feeling at the time and what drove and inspired him to write.

I can highly recommend A Familiar Stranger and I look forward to reading more of Matthew’s work in the future!

* are my own expletives and not the author’s.

This is a collaborative post, however, as always, all opinions are my own.

Explore my Reading the Classics category for some more book recommendations.

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22 Comments

  1. January 25, 2020 / 5:57 am

    Poetry is great – you can convey your feelings with a few words. Matthew sounds great with his work – especially with finding ways to share his thoughts. I like the different topics that he covers. It really makes you think and relate with the mood. Thanks for sharing!

    Nancy ♥ exquisitely.me

    • Lellalee
      Author
      January 31, 2020 / 10:28 am

      Thank you Nancy xxx

  2. January 25, 2020 / 10:09 am

    I’m not overly into poetry but I think you’ve sold me on this! I love the topic areas and how thought provoking these snippets are!
    Soph – https://sophhearts.com x

    • Lellalee
      Author
      January 31, 2020 / 10:31 am

      🙂

  3. January 25, 2020 / 12:04 pm

    thank you for the introduction to the author – the poems sounds so interesting, such a good book to have read! 🙂

    Hope that you are having a lovely weekend 🙂

    • Lellalee
      Author
      January 31, 2020 / 10:34 am

      Thank you so much for reading! xxx

  4. January 25, 2020 / 2:08 pm

    Sounds like he’s a wonderful author!

    • Lellalee
      Author
      January 31, 2020 / 10:38 am

      🙂

  5. January 29, 2020 / 4:18 am

    I’ve never heard of Matthew Williams before but he seems to have a way with words – will definitely have to check him out!

    cabin twenty-four

    • Lellalee
      Author
      January 31, 2020 / 10:42 am

      🙂

  6. January 31, 2020 / 2:57 pm

    I don’t tend to read very much poetry these days (a legacy of studying it for years, I expect). And I haven’t heard of this poet before but he’s clearly a very skilled writer. “trade in electro currency” is definitely giving me pause for thought. Great review, thank you!

    • Lellalee
      Author
      January 31, 2020 / 6:30 pm

      Thank you Lisa xx

  7. January 31, 2020 / 6:58 pm

    Sounds like the kind of book my partner would enjoy

    • Lellalee
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 10:43 am

      🙂

  8. January 31, 2020 / 10:32 pm

    I’m not crazy about poetry but I think I may have to give this a go. The fact you don’t have a single negative is amazing! x

    Sophie

    • Lellalee
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 10:38 am

      🙂

  9. February 1, 2020 / 4:18 pm

    That’s a great post! It’s great you have shared some background about the author! Thank you for sharing!

    • Lellalee
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 10:37 am

      Thank you lovely xxx

  10. makeupmuddle
    February 2, 2020 / 11:19 am

    Thanks so much for the introduction! I’m going to have a look at Amazon, as I think I’d really enjoy his work! xo

    MakeupMuddle.com

    • Lellalee
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 10:29 am

      He’s a fabulous author! xxx

  11. February 3, 2020 / 10:56 am

    Thanks for writing this up, will definitely check them out!

    • Lellalee
      Author
      February 6, 2020 / 10:25 am

      🙂

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