Drops of Insanity by Jeff Oliver

Jeff Oliver’s Drops of Insanity is a solid collection of poetry consisting primarily of short poems dealing with a variety of topics. Though largely focused on musings associated with identity and mental illness while navigating society and relationships with those factors involved, there are a great many poems that deviate into assorted horror-themed allegories and expressions of pain and suffering. It’s worth taking one’s time, reflecting on the word choice and symbolism implicit in many of the verses, especially since the vast majority are no more than ten lines in length.
It’s when we reach the longer form poem of “Her Soul To Keep” that the collection stands out at its strongest. A narrative expressed through the verse; this particular inclusion is a fascinating transition from the previous material collected in Drops of Insanity. At the core, it’s a breakdown of family, disappointment, revenge, and choices with consequences we’d not anticipated. It’s also a poem about demonic possession, murder, and the dissolution of the soul in the searing flames of Hell. What could be wrong with that?
While it may feel like this collection suffers from some repetition where content is concerned, I’m inclined to believe this was an intentional flourish from Oliver. Occasionally this repetition appears in the form of epimone, but more often it appears to be a method of creating a sort of cyclic flow to the material contained within Drops of Insanity. Hell is repetition, as we learned from the Stephen King screenplay, Storm of the Century, and mental illness is an exceptionally personal sort of Hell. Looking at it that way, it becomes difficult to imagine Oliver wasn’t attempting to immerse the reader in the overarching theme of this collection of poetry.