In this slim volume, author Claretha Brisbane offers a collection of poetry, challenges, and prayers to all who will listen, especially those in her local Christian congregation. A mix of poetry and prose encourages the reader to thank God and avoid fools. While books containing such reflections are often organized by chronology or theme, this text presents more random thoughts without any obvious pattern, although the author’s faith remains predominant.
Brisbane exhorts fellow life-travelers to seek God and rely on Him for grace, mercy, and leadership. She says “Love is A Moving Concept; [sic] like a train” and reminds us that God is the engineer of the train. The Holy Spirit as the caboose completes a picture that connects earthly experience with spiritual analogy.
While the author’s thoughts are sincere, the work is marred by incorrect grammar and punctuation. Excessive use of capital letters, mixed tenses, traded homonyms, and forced rhyme obscures the reflections, with one entry appearing to be a personal thank-you note written to the author’s congregation for a specific event.
“The Double 3 Rs,” a clever take on expanding the three R’s of reading, ‘riting, and ‘rithmetic, broadens the original to include reasoning, relaxing, and retirement. Unfortunately, the erratic spelling and unclear focus blur the attempted humor. One reference in another poem — “Grab your life by the balls, bounce it around, move it from place to place” — jars the tone of the book, and a comment about re-electing Barack Obama likewise dilutes the author’s poetic message of faith.
Speak Out Loud will most engage those who know the author personally, rather than a wider audience. But she encourages all: “Let us continue to Walk in the light.”
Also available as an ebook.