This collection consists of nearly 200 poems representing 46 years of the author’s life. Told through straightforward rhymed and unrhymed free verse, subjects include family, nature, dreams, love, Christianity, and death.
The poems are written almost exclusively in capital letters. Poem titles, like the book title and cover design, are direct and unadorned. Often these poems provide pithy reflections. “SIN” gets right to the point: “LIKE THE POPE / WHEN YOU ARE TOO OLD / TO SIN / MIGHT AS WELL / BE / AGAINST IT.” Likewise, “SUMMER BREEZE” compares two separate ideas: “SUMMER BREEZE / GENTLY TEASING / THE LEAVES / ON A TREE / WITH THE RHYTHM / AND AFFECTION / OF A MAN / FOR HIS WOMAN.”
Poems about the author’s son are among the most inspired. From ‘MY SON”: “MY 25 POUNDS OF ENERGY / THE NEXT GENERATION / A FUTURE LEADER… / A STEPPING STONE / FOR FATHER TIME / FOR THE MOMENT / MY ARCH ENEMY / BATTLING FOR POSSESSION / OF MY PENCIL.”
Unfortunately, the book contains frequent repetition of subjects and images (e.g., life is a joke or an empty beer can; dead, decaying bodies in the ground; man as a tree). Readers may wonder why these images are repeated so often, and why similarly themed poems aren’t grouped together in sections.
Considering the repetition, organizational problems, errors in spelling (e.g., “LOOK NOT / PASS [sic] YOURSELF WHEN TRYING / TO PLACE THE BLAME” and “THE PEACOCK PLUM [sic] / WILL BE PUT TO SHAME / WHEN I DRESS”) and capitalization, which becomes tiring to read, the collection falls below publishing industry standards in terms of style.
In “THOUGHTS,” the author predicts “THE LITERARY WORLD WILL / ACKNOWLEDGE MY WORDS AS JUNK.” In reality, many of the poems here reflect an impressive depth of thought and economy of expression. Readers willing to forage through this large literary landscape will find some beautiful flowers among the overgrowth.
Also available as an ebook.