by Jemma O’Donovan
‘No Homeless Problem’ is a collection of poetry written by Belfast-born Séamus Fox. Throughout this book, Fox clues readers in on what it’s really like to be homeless by drawing on his own experiences, and by using the accounts and stories of 44 individuals who have also experienced the difficulties of being homeless.
The main thing I thought was most effective about reading this book is that I was able to peer into the lives of so many different people, and that what I was reading are true experiences of people who have lived through the horrors of having nowhere to go. This is what made this collection so hard to read, but also what made me keep on reading. I found that by being able to learn about the complications of homelessness that the majority of people don’t get to see (such as in ‘Attempted Murder’, ‘Yellow’, and ‘Life’) really aided my understanding on the harsh reality of what can happen to human beings when they’re not looked after by other human beings, and it reaffirmed the importance of community and support.
At times, I found that some of the poems seemed to have similar voices that blended into one, but I actually think this was effective when it comes to the intentions of this book because it showed me that these experiences always happen to the homeless, no matter who they are or what they once had. I don’t think this approach would’ve worked with any other poetry collection, but Fox pulls it off very well.
This collection of poetry is incredibly thought-provoking, and it ultimately led me to think about the way I perceive homelessness and the ways that I can help and leave a positive impact on people who need it most. For example, ‘Good Samaritan’ and ‘A Bowl of Noodles’ show examples that no matter how big or small a gesture, they will always be appreciated. This collection taught me that all that matters is that we, as human beings, look after each other.