Speak of Love

Lattice Boykin Mckoy

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 117 Price: (paperback) $19.99 ISBN: 9781436365260 Reviewed: November, 2015 Author Website: Visit »

Lattice Boykin Mckoy dedicates this poetry collection to her husband, as well as those who have positively impacted her life. Its offerings, as the title suggests, examine situations of love, everything from romantic passion to the love of land and God.

Mckoy delivers some stirring moments, such as the mysteriously titled “Aquadesy”, which paints a vivid picture of how AIDS can ravage a body: “I see you in all my mirrors/ Where chiselled bones becomes small walking canes/ And in this bloody imagery, I see all my errors…” Her poems often have a lyrical feel that can be hypnotic. In “Traveling over the Susquehanna, for instance, the speaker sets a steady rhythm by starting each of five stanzas with the titular phrase as she describes a journey with “My baby and me.”

To the author’s credit, the theme of love is carefully adhered to throughout the collection, and readers will find the poems warm and uplifting overall, even though some speak of regret and missed opportunities. One wishes, though, for more startlingly fresh imagery. Often, the speaker employs overly familiar ideas (“Love is like a tree,/ It has its roots”; “You made the stars to shine”), and many poems contain abstract ideas that are more prose than poetry (“The thrill of love/ Is like a recurring dream/ Punctuating the tiniest act of life…”).

Finally, there are many rhyming poems included. Although there’s no inherent problem with this approach, occasionally the rhyme scheme forces the poet into awkward grammatical constructions (“As the crowd upon her did descend….”). And often, these rhyming pieces display uneven, jarring rhythms (“So vinegary/ I go, unlike before/ Soured by this bitter experience/ Blue I love you all the more/ Of time’s endurance”).

Despite all, the work reveals a genuine, likable speaker. Those who aren’t put off by sentimental thought will find some comfort in these pages. After all, as the writer notes: “If you have ever been in love/ You have been to heaven.”

Also available as an ebook.

Author's Current Residence
Rose Hill, North Carolina
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