Early in one’s vocation as a poet, it’s typical to experience a rush from creating something new, organic, autonomous and completely ours. It never crosses our mind that the piece could be improved, but if we were to ask established poets, we’d learn that very few would consider their process completed without revision, no matter how satisfying that first draft.
While several pieces in R.U. A’Dean’s Autumn Leaves of My Life are compelling and polished, others, it seems, have not gone through the necessary self-editing process.
A’Dean has a viable, palpable lyric sensibility. Most poems in his collection include a pretty line or two: “Some days you loll on your rocker” (“Ode to the Green Grass of This Years [sic] Spring”) or “When the fire of the sun calms down” (“Bridges in the Sky”).
But we’re just as likely to find problems with inconsistent diction, cumbersome syntax or inexplicable meaning: “Spawning the panhandle of my vision” (“Unsung Heroes”) or “I tread on the tiles, those glazed piles / Of the ceramic walls of mind” (“Those Ceramic Walls”). Much of A’Dean’s verse could be remedied by cursory revision, aiming for elucidation.
“All Alone By The Ocean,” possibly the most successful piece from Autumn Leaves, is fairly clear, the logic is easy to track and while the flow could be improved by excising unnecessary words, we feel included in A’Dean’s reverie: “The wind wails and the waves glitter.”
It seems clear that A’Dean understands what poetry should do and how it should sound. He just needs to spend more time with each piece, embracing the necessary precision to connect with readers.
Also available in hardcover.