KJ GoForth’s Glimmer of Hope presents a lengthy, impassioned poem touching on issues such as love, religion, and the problems of modern society.
One assumes the book’s title refers to its centerpiece poem, although the poem itself is untitled. This piece comprises most of the book, other than the one-page poem “Daughter I Never Had.” The main poem, told in first-person, serves as a kind of odyssey or quest, tracing many aspects and obstacles of the narrator’s life. Although it’s long and rambling, the verses move naturally from one topic to another.
The poem delivers rhyming couplets (with rare exceptions), and the style mostly serves the ideas and emotions driving the verses. At times, however, it restricts or curtails longer explorations, limits understanding, or forces awkward rhymes (“Where am I at I know where I’m from/ This earth is amazing except for its scum”).
Grammar problems also impede enjoyment, as readers sometimes need to stop to parse meaning; for example: “Separation of church and state/ Our for fathers saw our fate”). Such misspellings (including references to “Scooba gear” and more) distract from the poem’s messages. Lack of punctuation propels the rhythm—until its absence is felt in lines that would have benefited from commas to separate discrete thoughts or phrases.
Pop culture references spice up the proceedings, with Cinderella, Luke Skywalker, and Superman mentioned, among others; slang also livens up the language. However, while some readers might appreciate the overall grittiness, others will find it unrefined or even distasteful (“Walk with pride F the fear/ Be your own boss not a queer”; “Right the wrongs hear my words/ Come and take all these turds”).
“Daughter I Never Had” serves as an effective coda about a man reconfirming his dedication to his daughter after not living up to the role before.
Glimmer of Hope is a raw, rhythmic offering, but its flaws are likely to limit its appeal.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.