In Poetic Stories from the Yin and Yang of Life, Angellia Moore doesn’t shy away from including cues from her training as a sixth-grade teacher as she explores her creative side. Individually, the poems explore themes of perception, doubt, confidence, freedom and, as her title indicates, basic issues of balance. Collectively, they share a tone that seeks to inspire, enrich and educate.
Indeed, like any good grade school teacher, Moore includes an introductory explanation for each poem and follow-up questions at the end, such as: “What is the yin or yang in the character’s life?” and “How is this situation affecting the character?” While such an approach has the potential to irritate, Moore’s dedication to teaching has an honest and simple charm and works well, given the simplistic, straightforward nature of the verses.
The teaching quality of the book comes in the content of the poems, as well. Moore tackles her own self-image issues in “Criticism…I am not Perfect,” declaring, “Imperfection / It is simply perfect for me.” She writes about visiting the doctor, turns personal anecdotes into longer “poetic stories” and even writes about the death of Michael Jackson and the election of President Barack Obama. A section titled “Poetic Stories for Kidz” includes an ode to a lazy dog and a warning against lying to your mother.
The tone is consistently light and the language approachable. The verses breathe with a simple beat and easy cadence, making for plenty of dynamic and powerful moments, and Moore has a skill for giving everyday issues and seemingly menial questions a poetic quality. At its best, the collection offers simple, meaningful guidance. At its worst, it can read like a Hallmark card. (“Pressures from this world/ Fill you with stress and strife./ Ease up people/ So, you can enjoy life.”)
Overall, though, Moore’s effort succeeds. She explores her themes and subjects in a fashion appropriate and enriching for readers of all ages and backgrounds.
Also available in hardcover and ebook.