In Blanket of Hearts, poet Robert A. Cozzi explores themes of love and memory and the bittersweet nexus of the two when a union ends. He captures the pain of seeing an old lover with their new flame, the chances not taken and still remembered years later, and the all-too-human desire to “hit the rewind button.” In other poems, he recalls the ecstasy of new love, “when everything tasted of ice cream” and desire is like an all-consuming riptide, pulling him toward oblivion. He charmingly describes the beloved’s voice as “the cinnamon in my hot chocolate.” The final poem that inspired the book’s title is especially lovely.
Cozzi also skillfully makes everyday moments profound, catching someone’s eye while waiting for coffee in a cafe, pausing to admire a beautiful stranger on the street, or simply observing the natural world, where “the purple shade of evening spreads its cloak.” He isn’t always wildly original, frequently employing worn similes, comparing the lover’s blue eyes to the ocean, and so forth. He is also repetitive – there are many, many interchangeable odes to a beloved singer. At times, it reads a bit like a teenage girl’s diary, so some efficient editing is definitely in order. However, there is enough quality material here to form a solid collection.