The First Spark

Alexandra J. Lloyd

Publisher: Xlibris Pages: 66 Price: (paperback) $16.63 ISBN: 9781514498613 Reviewed: September, 2016 Author Website: Visit »

The 55 poems in The First Spark seek to document important moments in the young author’s emotional life over 12 years of her adolescence and early adulthood.

They often reveal the speaker’s despair at life, as in “Come to an end,” which begins: “Some mornings, do you not wish,/ You had not woken at all?/ That it is hard to breathe,/ And harder still to smile…”

Love is also a common theme. Many of the poems are addressed to a beloved “you.” For example, Lloyd writes, “I love you today,/ And I will love you tomorrow”; and “I love you more than I can ever share,/ And I’ll spend every moment with you I can spare.” Sometimes, that love turns sour, and the speaker focuses on the anguish of lost love, as with: “Please don’t do this,/ I’m scared to lose him,/ I’m losing my mind, Falling apart…”

While clearly heartfelt, the work in this collection is hampered by several flaws. First, the writing could benefit from showing rather than telling. A couplet such as “I’m falling apart at the seams,/ I kind of want to scream” offers no insight into the particularities of this speaker’s experience or the source of her frustration. Providing more narrative details and context for the speaker’s relationship to this person would allow the work to resonate more deeply.

The poems also rely on sing-song-like rhymes and familiar similes, rather than innovative diction and original imagery. Employing more unique, poetic imagery, instead of well-worn descriptions such as “like a shooting star in the night” or “like sunshine on cloudy days” would enhance the work.

At 22 years of age, the author’s dedication to poetry is promising. With closer study of the work of other contemporary, confessional poets, she could move to the next level, improving her image and language, and as a consequence, the literary merits of her poems.

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