Some Things I Still Can’t Tell You, the upcoming poetry book release by self-proclaimed “actor, baker, candlestick maker” Misha Collins, is an emotional rollercoaster from the beginning to the very end.
I was provided with a free ARC of Some Things I Still Can’t Tell You. The opinions shared are my own.
Misha Collins, best known for his portrayal of the angel Castiel in The CW’s Supernatural, released his critically acclaimed cookbook The Adventurous Eaters Club: Mastering the Art of Family Mealtime in 2019 alongside his former partner, Victoria Vantoch. This sophomore release from the actor cements his place in a different realm of literature entirely: poetry. While selections of Collins’ poems have been published in other anthologies such as Columbia Poetry Review, Pearl, and California Quarterly, the upcoming release, Some Things I Still Can’t Tell You is his first solo publication, and it certainly makes a name for itself.
For those who are already fans of Misha Collins’ work, Some Things I Still Can’t Tell You is a candid and yet raw look into the actor’s thoughts and private life. Eagle-eyed readers familiar with his past works (and past resumes) will be sure to spot interesting easter eggs littered throughout the book. Every line will surely be broken down and analyzed on Tumblr for years to come. Those unfamiliar with the actor’s work will be treated to a fascinating balance of both mundanity and deeply thought-provoking prose, often within the same poem or the same verse. It takes a deep measure of talent to seamlessly transition from complaining about the iPhone’s user experience issues to questioning the meaning of your place in the world without it feeling clunky or forced, but Collins manages to balance whimsy and emotional gravitas exceptionally well.
Some Things I Still Can’t Tell You splits its works into six sections that take the reader on an emotional journey through the work and through life itself. The first section is one of love poems, an adventure through all of life’s different forms of love, from romantic love solidifying into the dependable, always-by-your-side kind of love. It travels through the romantic nights, reminiscing on the past, the brutal honesty of true love, and the times that it’s harder to be honest. As Collins’ life becomes more complicated and complex, it seems that at times he feels like more of an observer in his own life than an active participant with the power to effect change. A growing sense of a lack of place in the world accompanies a sense of anticipatory grief and foreboding that takes over the tone of his work in this section.
The next sections chronicle an interesting subversion to the picturesque expectation of the life of a Hollywood actor as Collins writes about depression, loneliness, self-doubt, longing for a clear purpose, and the difficulty of being away from his family for long periods of time. All of this culminates in a truly gut-wrenching set of poems regarding Collins’ recent separation from his wife of nearly 20 years. Collins’ beautiful and vibrant adoration of her in all of the prose leading up to this point makes these poems some of the most difficult to read, especially for those familiar with the truly fracturing feeling of such heartbreak.
However, Collins does not dwell on the sadness for too long and quickly thereafter picks up a tone of remarkable resilience, recalling the comfort of deep conversations, road trips, and the other people important to him in his life. Longtime friend and filmmaker Darius Marder receives a specific callout by name in the touching poem “Marder”. Collins reflects on his parents and speaks about the bittersweet sorrow of watching our parents grow older, our change in perspective of our parents as we age, the too-invasive nosiness that some mothers adopt as they get older, and how being a child of divorced parents has changed his own personal outlook.
The last section focuses on Collins’ children, the subject of the book’s dedication and his clear guiding light moving forward. He notes his personal journey from observing the children of others, to discovering his own impending fatherhood, and the immense joys (and challenges) of children, from the wonderful highs to the “it’s 3 am and you just peed the bed again but I really don’t want to get up and change the sheets” slightly less highs.
He addresses the strikingly true reality of how much children can change a relationship that few are willing to address. All of this, of course, are things a parent treasures, as they know these young years are few and numbered, and this is a feeling that Collins captures beautifully. He seems solidly determined to use the experience he’s gained in life and love throughout the writing of the book to make the future better for his children. One could even be forgiven for hearing the notes of Hamilton’s “Dear Theodosia” playing in their ear whilst reading of Collins’ devotion to his children, as the clear drive to do better by them rings true throughout the work.
A few poems that left a particularly deep impact on me, that I would advise other readers to keep an eye out for while reading: “Devil in the Details”, “These Hours”, “ Fire and Water Part One: Absolution”, “Men in Woods”, and “The Last Poem”.
Some Things I Still Can’t Tell You is truly a remarkable trip through all of life’s mundanities and pivotal moments. It takes the time to stop and ponder on all of life’s intricacies and pitfalls in a way that reminds the reader to stop and enjoy life, and serves as an important reminder to be present in every moment and not just let life pass you by. It is truly, as the book’s description states “a love letter to simple joys”.
It gets 5/5 Stars from me!
Taylor is a multimedia designer, photographer, video editor, and writer. She has been involved in fandom and producing fan content since she was old enough to read and write.
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