The poetry in Winifred Roemer-Saabjo’s Full Circle reflects the poet-speaker’s concern for humankind and the natural world and offers glimpses of her experiences traveling around the world, among other topics.
The poems include lyric and narrative free-verse, arranged in five sections: “Ode to Humanity’s War,” “Life Awaits” “Wake Up in Love (After Dust),” “Transcendental Thoughts,” and “Full Circle.” They examine everything from nature’s awe-inspiring qualities to a mother’s love for her children to the poet-speaker’s gratitude for life’s abundance: “My yard is Gaia’s Eden./ My cup is overflowing.”
Throughout, the poet-speaker displays a gentle ethos. Despite strong convictions, she admirably resists the temptation to lecture or preach, presenting readers instead with many clear and touching moments, often engaging their senses and emotions with concrete details and simple, precise diction: “I could not help/ Throw out petals/ Of white flowers/ Into the river,/ Asking for forgiveness.// What about the rules/ Of Mother Earth?”
Not every poem achieves this standard, however. In some poems, the author saturates the lines with adjectives, leaving no room for the engaging image-making she’s clearly capable of. For instance, passages like “She whistles/ degrading words/ Of her traumatic feelings./ Vociferous thoughts…” are likely to overwhelm readers rather than illuminate a particular scene or idea. Compare these lines with the spare, elegant lyricism of this couplet: “I still see the beauty in you,/ My shadow.”
In other poems, the author’s language is general to the point of vagueness: “A thought, / An idea,/ A pen,/ A skill,/ A chain/ Of/ Words”). Or too expository, telling without showing: “Friendship does not/ Depend on opinions/ Or rumors.” Compare these with the vivid: “Two hummingbirds/ Land on our knees/ And whistle./ We look at each other.”
The collection would be enhanced if the author focused on streamlining the weaker poems to match the quality of the stronger pieces. But Roemer-Sabajo shows much promise in her voice, rhythm and style, and there are many wonderful surprises here.
Also available as an ebook.