Leviathan, a collection of poetry by Kent C Schroer, is a thrilling mixture of old and new: it both embodies the struggles of the author’s past, and the present wisdom of a man with lived experience. One thing that makes this collection so special is its origin. In between his first book, Pillars of Sand, and his second, the since unreleased version of Leviathan, an event took place that almost cost him his life- hence, this book, and this version, would never have seen the light of day were it not for some wonderful people- friends, family, and strangers included. Where Pillars of Sand saw the poet in turmoil, Leviathan is a book dealing more with resolution, finding peace in oneself, and keeping demons at bay. In it, you will find themes of religion and myth, nature, and personal events that have offered, in many ways, strength and healing. Ultimately, this book is an exercise in reflection: it is a peek into the past of someone battling with mental illness, drugs and dark ideations, while keeping a hopeful eye on the future. Kent has picked only the best poems from the first collection, and the best from the second, and with a writing finesse that has grown with age, distilled them down to their purest, most impactful forms. This is the perfect collection for any lover of poetry, and above all for those who feel the universal struggles of being a human.
It was not always that Kent Schroer wanted to be a writer, but he grew into it through an intensified passion and hard work ethic. He was born in Orange County at the turn of the 90’s, and grew up in Corona until he was about eight years old- from there, he moved to the San Bernardino mountains, which would remain his home for over a decade, and became a big inspiration for his work. In his time spent living there, he experienced freezing snow storms and great wildfires, and it was this duality that showed up not only in his poetry, but also his work ethic, which became very black and white the older he grew. Either he would do things with utmost care and passion, or he wouldn’t do them at all. It was around the age of fifteen that he began to write, and what he wrote about was rather uncommon compared to children his age: his older brother had just left for war on his second tour, and in lieu of this, he tried to recreate what he believed the scene would look like on the battlefield, of course knowing nothing about it at all. Since he had started to write, he has been challenging the norms of poetry, betraying the traditional for themes and ideas more compelling. A long-time writer, he has carved his own path, relying on the concept that less is often more, and that poetry should find a happy medium between appealing to the layman, as well as those with more sensitive tastes. Over the years, with new life experiences and thus sources to draw upon, he wanted to write a collection of poems that would serve as both a reflection and looking glass into his inner world. First it was Pillars of Sand, a book wrought from turmoil, and now, it is Leviathan, a book dealing more with resolution and reminiscence. Since he was sixteen, he has been published in a number of collections; he studied at UC Riverside, where he was taught under such notable poets as Juan Felipe Herrera and Chris Abani, and received his degree in Creative Writing. From there on, he has been striving to hone his craft and find his own niche in the poetry world, drawing upon such writers as Dylan Thomas, Jane Hirshfield and W.S Merwin, notably his earlier works.