My Unsung Soul: Six Collections of Poetry and Prose

Derrick Derron Holloway

Publisher: iUniverse Pages: 287 Price: (paperback) $20.99 ISBN: 9781532026287 Reviewed: February, 2018 Author Website: Visit »

In Derrick Derron Holloway’s collection of poetry and prose, he draws inspiration from treasured childhood memories, moments of loss and love, as well as the author’s journey from, in his eyes, sin to salvation.

Organized into six sections by theme, the author jumps from fantastical dreamscapes of ethereal, magical love to the reality of heartbreak and loneliness and the redemptive power of God, presenting readers with a wide swath of experiences.

Holloway hits his stride when writing about his childhood in the inner city, offering a purposeful voice and vernacular. He paints a picture of urban nostalgia that’s bright, beautiful and authentic: “Dashing onto front porches/ citronella torches and candles in cans/ Fish Fry Fridays and fruit stands…”

The pieces in the final section read like Sunday sermons, and would interest readers open to a more modern take on scripture.

It’s in the flowery, dreamlike passages where he seems to falter. Seemingly trying to evoke great poems of the past, these stories are peppered with odd contractions (D’ever, Ne’re) and misspellings (“way” vs. “weigh”), leaving readers struggling to decipher, rather than relish, the meaning.

Holloway’s prose passages continue his exploration of specific themes and range in tone from stream-of-consciousness journaling to venting about certain issues and people (e.g. his estranged daughter). These entries, while seemingly cathartic for the author, add little to already well-addressed subjects.

There are intriguing moments throughout, particularly when Holloway evokes an urban sensibility. Unfortunately, these are largely overshadowed by the author’s tendency to tell rather than show (“I understand that you were hurt in the past”; “I’m so sick of the hypocrisy”) and to rely on clichéd phrases (“lazy summer days,” “My fettered soul”; “my aching heart”). There are also grammatical issues, such as misused apostrophes and misspelled words.

Holloway is a natural storyteller who leaves readers feeling a little more human from seeing the world through his eyes. His collection, however, would be enhanced with attention to the abovementioned issues.

Also available as an ebook.

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