A Flower in a Box

Bradley Perera

Publisher: AuthorHouse Pages: 190 Price: (paperback) $18.24 ISBN: 9781504988278 Reviewed: April, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

Bradley Perera’s A Flower in a Box is a collection of lineated poems comprised predominantly of rhymed couplets.  The poems are book-ended by a 12-page prologue and 15-page epilogue.

The clearest phrase in Perera’s book is the title, which provides two concrete nouns (“flower” and “box”) that readers can picture in their minds.  What follows, however, is work that  consistently confounds with abstract nouns and passive voice.  For instance, the first sentence of the prologue begins, “This [presumably the book itself] is about a becoming of choice which can be involved with betrayal, propose it with an instinct of survival.”   It is unclear who is becoming, choosing, etc. This pattern of reader confusion persists throughout the book.

Even when a speaking subject occasionally emerges, as in “My Ministry,” the diction and syntax  serve to obscure rather than elucidate meaning: “Finally, I feel her breath die./ Idly by reel, the death cries.”  The relationship suggested by “I” and “her” is never developed.  The author seems more invested in rhyming than in sense-making, as he continues: “Did I long? I see myself destroy./ Amidst, by song, my trees health coy.”    

This collection is divided into two parts, “Love Postponed” and “Bluff Tone.”  No recognizable shift in tone, style, or content distinguishes these sections.  At the center of the book is a small section called “Lingual Between Pictures and Verse,” wherein the author includes an assortment of charcoal drawings, poems, and a few passages of catechism-style Q &A.  These passages likewise lack any contextualizing details, including who is asking and answering the questions. For instance: “Does it pay to assume responsibility?”// “It is not of worth, so by currency of regard it is not a consideration.”   

In its current form, A Flower in a Box is an inaccessible volume of vague diction and confusing syntax. A thorough revision is required in order for the speaker to successfully communicate his ideas and emotions with readers.     

Also available as an ebook.

Available to buy at: