After an emotional 2-1/2-year period in which his wife Angela faced pancreatic cancer, author Guglielmo has collected his poems as a testament to the life and love they shared, in I Take Thee, Angela: A Life in Poetry.
The book begins with the couple’s first meeting, following them through their marriage and the births of their children, and eventually, to the dreaded diagnosis of cancer. Set up with this timeline, the collection is something of a biography of Guglielmo and Angela’s life together.
The first poem of the chapter “The Dreaded Discovery” skips ahead time-wise and reveals the final fate of Angela in a few lines, which spoils the suspense for the poems that follow. Those poems detail the couple’s reactions to the diagnosis, the treatments, and take the reader through all of the ups and downs of the process.
Guglielmo’s poetry is unsophisticated and sometimes awkward, as when imagery and similes seem forced, dictated by the need to make each couplet rhyme: “Many times I’d asked you to let us have a dog./But you would never let it happen, you were stubborn as a log./Then one day, to my surprise, you bought this little puppy./A Boston terrier came into our lives, I felt just like a yuppie.”
Guglielmo keeps the rhyming pattern throughout the book, but the poetry itself is never the strong point of I Take Thee, Angela. What carries the book is the raw emotion the author freely and honestly shares. One cannot help but be moved by this loving couple’s plight.
I Take Thee, Angela is a poignant tribute that, unfortunately, lacks poetic resonance. Those who can read it more as a memoir and less as fine poetry may find themselves touched by this look at married life through another’s eyes.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.