The first thing you notice about Poems from the Heart by Collins Graham is that every poem except for one is in all capital letters–which is off-putting because it seems as if they’re shouting at you. This is unfortunate, because if his poems are any indication, Graham is an earnest man with a humble heart. Graham’s pieces indeed express big emotions, but the capitalization is an unnecessary and amateurish technique.
The inspirational quote at the beginning of the collection is “DO THE BEST YOU CAN AND LEAVE THE OUTCOME TO GOD!” and that is a good summary of his message throughout the book. Graham’s poems are full of good, old-fashioned testifying to the power of the Christian God, as in the poem “Testimony,” in which a young man, “LET OLD SATAN TAKE OVER HIS LIFE AND THREW / HIM BACK NAKED IN THE RAIN.”
In addition to spiritual praise and admonition, life’s earthly struggles are shared. In the poem “Family,” Graham writes: “DON’T REMEMBER ANY GOOD TIMES WITH MY DAD. // HE NEVER SHOWED ANY AFFEC110N. [sic] / I REMEMBER THAT HE DEALT WITH BEING A DRINKER.” In the poem “Role Models,” he asks, “BUT HOW MANY MALES MUST STAND ON THE CORNERS / BEGGING, OR SLINGING DRUGS IN THE STREET?,” revealing his social concerns.
Graham’s poems are not lyrically accomplished and often read more like prose merely centered on the page, but his message may appeal to those who share his faith, which imbues nearly every line.
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