A Soul Not Eclipsed by Lisha Simmonds is an upbeat collection of short poems about life and, especially, love.
Simmonds’ poems are often quirky and offer some delightful surprises. They are written simply, in short phrases without complicated syntax and would be accessible and relatable to a wide audience.
Her poem “Totality of interdependent circumstances” is representative in many ways of the collection. It has an intriguing title, and because the poem could go in so many different directions, it draws readers in by piquing their curiosity. The author uses repetition for emphasis and fun metaphors to address a beloved: “You’re my future tense,/ [… ] My dangling participle,/ My split infinitive…”
Another example of engaging wordplay is the cleverly-titled poem “Effect and affect,” which begins, “A spontaneous smile erupts on my face./ Images of you pixelate, focus in place.” This rhyming poem mixes an image of digital technology with a traditional theme of love as it continues: “[…] Respect, and mutual kindness./ We share a careful mindfulness…”
Other poems about the broader world can be elegant, with simple images. The poem “Performance” is only four lines, but, like a haiku, it evokes a whole scene and mood: “I saw the ocean today./ She had no audience./ The beach was eerily desolate./ She danced anyway.”
Often, however, the language falls flat or is too ordinary, as in “Your shielded wings”: “You gave me the love and safety/ I used for the courage[…]/ For this,/ I thank you.” Or “Intimacy,” which begins: “This need to touch,/ This requirement to be touched/ This affection—This is real…” There are also frequent moments when lines could be either more attentive to musicality or to specificities.
Generally, such issues aren’t a major obstacle to enjoying the lively mind of this poet. Readers seeking a cheerful, somewhat eccentric, easygoing book of poems will find many moments to appreciate A Soul Not Eclipsed.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.