Poet Durel R. Patterson‘s It’s Still the Way I Feel is both an acknowledgement and furtherance of views detailed in his previous collection. Notes the author: “This work expresses some old views I had about life and some new views that I have about life. However, some things are fundamental. Then it was It’s Just the Way I Feel and now It’s Still the Way I Feel.”
Those views are wide-ranging: the book is divided into seven thematic sections: “History-Education-Facts of Life,” “Religious and Spiritual,” “Life and Death,” “Love and Romnce,” “Imagination vs. Concentration,” “Family” and “Social Issues.”
The poems all rhyme in simplistic ways (such as, true/new; said/dead) and are delivered in a tone alternately boisterous, as In “Yes, I Am a Black Man,” and knowing, as in “Happy Birthday” (”As you’ve grown just one year older/ And your hair begins to gray/ Count each strain as a mark of wisdom/ And thank God for each new day.”)
Rather than presenting a universal perspective, many of Pattersons’ pieces bespeak the author’s own positions and opinions. He expresses his devotion to the Christian faith in poems such as “Heaven” and to the right to equality for all Americans regardless of race in “Civil Rights and Integration.”
It’s Still the Way I Feel conveys its messages in clear, simple language, which will please those who find more oblique poetry frustrating. But the sing-song nature of the rhymes, while endearing, detracts from the often serious subject matter (“Sexual harassment is on the rise/ Bringing tears to grown men eyes…”), stripping it of any emotional power. It also imparts a lack of sophistication that will be off putting to serious poetry fans. However, those who are drawn to rhyming poetry and are interested in the topics of race, human relationships, faith and societal inequality may relate to the pieces here.
Also available in hardcover.