White Wine and Medical Marijuana
Reviewed by: Ziggy Merritt
Built upon experience, White Wine and Medical Marijuana, a self-published collection of poetry by Julia Cirignano, is steeped in the romance of college. But instead of taking a cheap turn toward pomp and revelry, the collection maintains a common thread of addiction, not simply borne from substances but more acutely, passion.
Cirignano’s brand of poetry is a sensory experience that draws upon sight, sound, and taste to relay feelings of disappointment in not just herself but others. There is a jaded lens here that views reality in shades of grey; obfuscating a life filtered through marijuana smoke and tipsy trysts at dive bars. Tones of resignation and hollow pleasure follow her throughout, but these tones are backed up by experience, by an object of desire. And yet that object is just that, an object. The partners is almost inanimate, not returning feelings of want, obsession, or belonging.
Instead the author is burdened by an obsession that only magnifies in intensity page after page, starting out in the realm of youthful ignorance to something almost addictive as depicted in “A Sad Story.” The collection only improves upon itself as it continues. Weed and wine figuring so heavily in the title and in the periphery of her true subject are more of an amuse bouche, a pairing that compliments the toxicity of passion.
At times the frustration vented becomes hyperbolic in its expression. The rawness of these personal experiences can be unfocused, generalizing too much or oversaturating her subject. Rarely does this truly distract from her intentions. Instead, a willfulness takes over as she closes on her subject. Disappointment, pleasure, and obsession all have their part to play, but there’s acceptance as well. “We are human and we are flawed,” she bluntly states in “Feeling Alive.” “We have to be okay with that.”