A Potpourri of Poems

Gary Ten Eyck

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 182 Price: (paperback) $13.99 ISBN: 9781532043222 Reviewed: September, 2018 Author Website: Visit »

This collection of rhymed poetry represents nearly four decades of work. Often humorous, the book contains a varied assortment of topics, like potpourri in six small, mismatched bowls.

Divided into six sections, poems discuss the author’s family, friends, co-workers, therapists, dental hygienist, etc. Sections are titled “Reflections on Life and Love in My World,” “Friends I Have Known and Loved,” “Animals I Have Known and Mostly Loved,” “The Flying Dutchmen—My Family,” and “Songs of Sandy.” A sixth section, “The Crusty Crustaceans,” personifies crabs with lusty appetites and interesting agendas.

This 34-page section on crabs has the most potential, and with editing, would make an entertaining chapbook on its own. From the poem “The Engineer Crab”: “There’s just one quirk in his structural work / And the building his designs provide: / Being crustacean in mind, you’ll usually find / The steel skeleton on the outside.” “The Halloween Crab” is another highlight: “A Halloween Crab climbed over the pumpkin, / Bobbing for apples he took a dunkin.’ / He reached for the side and tried to grapple, / But instead, he became the first crabapple.”

Other than the crustacean section, subjects have personal significance to the author rather than universal meaning, relevance, or appeal. Several poems are written in Spanish with no translation, and two poems inexplicably are written by the author’s daughter.

This collection also is flawed by focusing exclusively on humor and rhyme, while neglecting rhythm, meter, and fluency. From “A Thought on Christmas”: “I hope that living through this festive season / Will give my life a living reason. / I pray that celebrating his holy birth / Will prove next year to be of some real worth.” Shifting points of view and repetition of phrases (“If I had my druthers”) also appear throughout this work.

This literary potpourri will be sweetest to the author’s family and friends, who may be willing to overlook the limited focus and poetic shortcomings.

Also available in hardcover and as an e-book.

Available to buy at: