Analysis of Poems "Odyssey: Wanderings in the Global Village"

Categories: Odyssey

This collection of poems will take you on a journey to different parts of the world in history where heart-wrenching events took place, leaving a stench of death that is nauseating even today. At one point, I wanted to stop reading Odyssey: Wanderings in the Global Village. I could not imagine how anyone could be such a philosophical pessimist year after year for three decades. The underlying theme of the sting of death was awful, but I decided to continue because torture and killings, for whatever reasons, are not fiction.

Mortality is a fact that Larry Smeets exposes with bitterness. Over the years, he did not write his poems with the intention of wide publication. They were shared only with his friends and dear ones.

It would be preposterous for Smeets to compare his poetry with Homer’s Odyssey, as suggested in the title. The latter is mythic and has a completely different philosophy. I remember reading a book From Savagery to Civilization by Vincent Hannity.

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He analyses the themes of war, sexuality, love, and compassion in Classic Western literature, bringing out how people became more human because of their painful experiences. They believed in heroes who suffered but emerged victorious after dying.

I don’t find any similar encouragement in Smeets' writings. Although he states that we must learn from the past, his thoughts reveal an existential and nihilistic view devoid of inspiration. The poems are flat like death. The author writes that humans have some fundamental questions and recognizes his limitations in understanding them.

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In the introduction, he expresses hope for happiness through a better life in families and society nevertheless, I simply cannot believe he had any positive thoughts when he actually wrote the poems. They are like a sponge that soaks only negativity. In spite of deconstructing the text, I am unable to find any reliable movement toward optimism. Here is an example: “Your world … is an hourglass … Your past and future are one … And your legacy? Fallen sand.”

Although composed without rhyme or meter, the contents of Odyssey: Wanderings in the Global Village do have the nature of poetry. The themes are diverse. Topics range from events in the past to the present, North to South, and West to East. They are disconnected, such as graduates facing an indifferent world, the brutality faced by one who is abducted, Cleopatra, the death penalty in China, Samson and Delilah, the plight of a couple going through divorce, Smeets' own family life and correspondence with friends, the future of the sun, pedophile priests, and more. He also writes in commemoration of important personalities and their experiences but seems to be looking at their lives through his own dark glasses. Only one poem is a pleasant surprise. It is about a brother who donates his blood to save his sister, thinking that he will die in the process! The poems become bearable as they progress but develop a sarcastic tone. One begins to see a smile, a spark turning into a flame, but the poet sees it dying down. He seems to enjoy his philosophy.

There are scenes of graphic sexuality and violence in this publication, which are not meant to be read by children or people who are fainthearted. Contrary to the author’s beliefs, I think “hope” is constitutive of human life despite its mortality. The book is not true to what the author claims in the introduction. It also has several grammatical errors and needs editing. For all the reasons already discussed, I rate it 1 out of 4 stars. This is one star more than the “zero” rating Smeets seems to give life in his writings. They are discouraging, and I would not recommend the collection to anyone for reading.


Updated: Dec 12, 2023
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Analysis of Poems "Odyssey: Wanderings in the Global Village". (2021, Feb 12). Retrieved from

Analysis of Poems "Odyssey: Wanderings in the Global Village" essay
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