In this poetry collection, Joan E. Gettry shares her insights, thoughts, affirmations, aspirations, and reveries on many of life’s sorrows and joys—all bound together by her deep devotion to God.
Gettry senses the mystery of God’s hand at work, writing in “God’s Plans for All of Us”: “God sets in motion for all of us/ A beginning of first opening the door.” But it is up to each of us to do our part, she implies in a later poem: “A word or two of comfort/ A little smile towards that human soul/ Can bring them back into the grasp/ Of the human fold.”
In “Stillness within Themselves,” Gettry uses internal rhyme and repetition to describe inner peace and calm: “Like a spring of water flowing in sweet repose/ When there’s nowhere to go/ With no trouble below or above its surfaces/ To hasten its movements/ In Unison, Body, Mind and Soul…”
Overall, the author presents life’s vicissitudes in gentle language that feels peaceful. However, mistakes in grammar, awkward phrases and sentences, and a heavy reliance on clichés undermine the work.
The problems begin with the first line of the first poem: “We came into being and placed upon this Earth…” A few pages on, proofreading and grammar difficulties emerge: “Of Human’s vive’s” (it should be “lives”—but why the apostrophe?). On the same page: “Which gives no mercy to those who crosses…”
Certainly, clichés and catchphrases can work as a kind of shorthand when a writer is hurried. But the plethora of overworked phrases here is hard to overlook. “No Promises Made” alone includes such tired phrases as: “smooth sailing,” “a matter of ups and downs,” ”turmoil and strife,” and “storms of life.”
Gettry’s speaker seems courageous, loving, and giving —a stalwart friend, devoted worshipper and tender partner. The poems here, however, require revision with an eye to fresh insights and imagery and proper grammar to appeal to contemporary poetry readers.
Also available as an ebook.