J Kenzy’s back book cover for Excursions of the Mind 2 describes the contents of this collection as “poetic short stories.”
Excursions of the Mind 2 is an oversized format, with photos and artwork adorning the colorful pages. It offers rhyming poems that touch on a wide variety of topics: from Cleopatra to the American Revolution to James Bond to Barbara Bush.
The poems, indeed, tell stories with vivid characters. “Pearls for Barbara,” about Bush, reads, in part: “She was the enforcer/ Stoic and strong/ Funny and fierce/ Her whole life long.” In a poem about the Declaration of Independence, Kensy writes: “Seventeen days in June/ With prowess and polish of pen/ In the red brick home of Jacob Graff/ Our America was about to begin.”
Kenzy’s work can be descriptive. Lines like “Strolling through the streets and square/ The smell of love is everywhere/ The lapping sounds against the pier/ I close my eyes and you are here” draw readers into the scene.
The collection also has some flaws, however. The rhyming is inconsistent, with some poems beginning in rhyme, then veering into free form. For instance, “Words of the Founding Fathers” begins: “Most of us do not know/ What our founding fathers said/ About the newly found government/ Creating the words as they were led.” A later stanza drops the rhyme (or stretches it beyond recognition): “What little my countrymen know/ What precious blessings they’re in possession of/ No other people enjoy/ This wonderful land splashed with God’s love.” Many times, an ABAB rhyming scheme turns suddenly into a stanza where only the last two lines rhyme.
The wide range of ideas and chaotic graphics and fonts can be disorienting; themed sections might have helped readers adjust to the various topics.
Sophisticated poetry readers won’t find much to appreciate here, but those who like history, nostalgia, nature and other topics told in simple, sing-song verse might enjoy Kenzy’s voice and viewpoints.
Also available as an ebook.