A former pastor in the Holston Conference of the United Methodist Church for 40 years, Larry Caylor presents general observations on his life and career through this collection of poetry, musings, and children’s stories. Specifically, he reflects on secular and religious holidays, people he’s met or observed, processes of nature, various forms of love, and his late wife, Carole.
He writes in the preface: “I do not consider myself a poet even though I write poetry…The purpose of poetry is to communicate, not to confuse or impress.” This notion of clear-cut communication reveals itself throughout the entire book with utilitarian titles such as “The Farmer,” “My Love,” and “A Friend” announcing straight-to-the-point stories and simple rhyming poems that forego traditional literary devices. In keeping with the decision to make communication easy, each poem is introduced by a related “musing” that discusses its origin.
The preface also mentions Caylor’s fondness for storytelling that originated as a child listening to his grandmother’s tales. Although only a small portion of the collection contains children’s stories, a childlike quality manifests itself in all the included pieces. The author’s chosen subjects and style indicate a one-dimensional approach to storytelling where the conclusion leaves little room for outside interpretation.
Written in the first person with a folksy kind of charm, this collection suffers somewhat from lack of organization. The table of contents include names and pages for “Poetry,” “Musings,” and “Children’s Stories,” yet no chapters or subheadings divide the work in the body of the book into any discernable order. The “Children’s Stories” usually come in the form of poems, rather than short stories, which adds to the confusion. Without a logical structure for the presentation of ideas, these collected works feel like random snapshots of a life and career, rather than one cohesive, satisfying picture.
Also available in hardcover and e-book.