In her poetry collection, Lost in the Maze: Finding Myself, Eve J Blohm aims broadly to model inspirational self-reflection for readers. As the speaker states in an early poem, “a blank screen exists in/a world of silence/ waiting for our ideas/ songs and words.”
The book consists of lineated and prose poems, free-verse and formal work. Blohm is particularly interested in meditations on mortality and creativity in relation to images of the natural world. Her writing is at its best when she uses clear, concrete details, as in these lovely lines from “The Magnolias”: “seasons change/ sweat beads form on my forehead/ falling rain// late evening hours/ pink & red carnations lean over and wilt” or in “Summer Drought,” which offers various summer scenes, including: “men rollerblade/ through traffic/ make their own rules.”
The book, however, often delivers familiar platitudes and clichéd natural scenes rather than original insight and imagery. For instance, Blohm writes: “Gray days do not have to stay when troubles come my way, when all the days are dark and gray.” The association between gray weather and negative emotion is overused, lessening its emotional impact on readers.
In the middle of the book, Blohm incorporates a series of well-known sayings and famous quotes (e.g. “Hope is the thing with feathers…” by Emily Dickenson), which she intersperses with personal commentary. This humorous diversion disrupts the tenor of the other poems. It also highlights the need for greater organization; grouping poems into sections according to theme and/or style would enhance the work. As is, readers lack a sense of the collection’s thematic arc across the 95 individual selections listed on the Contents page.
There are some graceful moments in this work, but greater organization and closer attention to unique, sensory and experiential details would help the collection reach its full potential and engage a wide reading audience.