GC Bryant’s Experiences in Reality is a carefully thought-out collection of predominantly religious verse, from a Christian viewpoint, intended to bear witness to the comfort and peace that comes from a life devoted to God. Some of the poems are secular, introspective reflections on the trials and pleasures of navigating in the world. Bryant addresses numerous issues: hypocrisy, faith, morality, integrity, virtue, kindness — topics that crop up in daily life. Whatever the subject, Bryant seems driven by a strong sense of moral imperative.
There is much provocative and pointed advice in these pages; however, it suffers from a lapse in execution. Like much Christian verse, it relies too heavily on codified, nebulous language that doesn’t carry much depth or substance for the uninitiated. And even for Christians familiar with terms such as “God knows your heart,” ”You will need the Word,” and “relationship with God,” this kind of writing lacks power and resonance. Bryant neglects to elaborate, illustrate, or create imagery that can reach readers in a powerful way.
If we have a relationship with God, how is that manifested? Does He come to us when we feel isolated, cold and lonely? Does he soothe us if we have a fever or ache in our bones? Keying in on such particulars would enhance this work.
Any useful or helpful poetry must be characterized by original language and ideas expressed in ways we haven’t seen before. For example, when Solomon’s beloved declares that “Love is strong as death,” the intensity of the simile takes our breath away. Too often Bryant uses overly familiar phrases and comparisons, such as “I fall to my knees,” and “…we can conquer all obstacles.”
Bryant’s Experiences in Reality is an earnest, avid exploration of the challenges facing those who seek spiritual satisfaction and tranquility. More vigilance and attention to originality, efficiency and precision would greatly improve Bryant’s verse.
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