Tag Archives: Poetry

Book Review: “Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology” by Larissa Hinton

Everblossom is a journey through poems and short stories that may seem ordinary on the surface but dig a little deeper and the world not only shifts. It changes.  From the author who brought you Iwishacana/Acanawishi, she now brings you a dash of everything from dark fantasy to the paranormal to even romance. So prepare yourself to delve into the three stages of the flower from bud to blossom then back to seed, you’ll go through them all with a whole new perspective on what it all truly means (from Goodreads) 

A mix of poetry and prose; blended together perfectly, with a smooth flow from beginning to end, back to the beginning, and through the book again.   

“Everblossom: A Short Story and Poetry Anthology” by Larissa Hinton has become one of my favourite books of poetry.  Even some of the prose has poetic elements.  I had received the eBook from Larissa, in exchange for an impartial review.  But just a few poems and stories into the book, I knew I needed to hold this book in my hand!  So, I ordered the paperback version, and finished the book that way. 

In the introduction, Hinton speaks of the order of the book, compared to the non-linear scope of her writings.  Beginning with ‘Seed’ – some of Hinton’s earliest work; moving into ‘Bud’, then ‘Blossom’, the reader can visualize some of the flow of Hinton’s writing.  The Goodreads synopsis, which I show above, says that the book highlights three stages of the flower from bud to blossom then back to seed.  That held true for me.  When I reached the final poem, the writing that ended the book, I instantly flipped back to the ‘Seed’ beginning poem; I had the desire to see again how it all began.  After my second read through, I took extra time reading pieces that touched some unknown place in my heart, and have gone back to individual pieces since that time. 

The book contains some of Hinton’s favourite pieces, and some writing that was among her most challenging work.  The flow of the book was not strictly an upward incline; the reader will find some of the author’s earlier writings more appealing than those in the ‘Blossom’ section.  I believe this is highly influenced by personal preference, rather than author driven.  The skill of the author in the use of words is evident. 

Larissa Hinton

One of the poems that caught my attention is titled: “Sprout”; and is the first poem in the ‘budding’ section of the book.  The last three lines read:  ‘from bud to blossom – this is the beginning – of the end’.  I first read these lines in dismay, a feeling of sadness coming over me, the feeling that death is everywhere.  Later reading sparked feelings of youth, that feeling we all experience as we spread our wings, and begin to live fully as an adult, having moved from the child stage – the seedling stage. 

The mix of poetry and prose gives this book the feeling of a story, with a beginning and an end.  There were times that I forgot I was reading individual writings, and saw the sequence as planned – planned from the start.  The sequence for the book was clearly planned, but the writing of individual pieces did not have the same sequence.  I saw this as a strength of the book itself. 

As an anthology of poetry and prose, I do recommend the reading of Larissa Hinton’s “Everblossom”.  With its variety of writing styles, as well as Larissa’s ability to cross genres seamlessly, it will be a welcome addition to any bookshelf.  Enjoy!

photo by Heather Fraser

“The Joy of the Written Word”: 

Larissa Hinton’s book, ‘Everblossom’, is a reminder to me of why I write this blog.  One of the reasons is that I might share with my readers, the joyful feeling I receive from many forms of the written word.  Be it poetry or prose, structured or free, new world thinking or biblical, the joy of the written word reaches a part of my inner being.  And I attempt to share that joy within this blog.

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Choose Joy! 

Patricia

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Book Review: “A Cat’s Life: Dulcy’s Story” as given to Dee Ready

On a late winter’s day in 1972, a kitten soon to be named Dulcy found a woman worthy to be her human. For the next 17 years, Dulcy and her human learned to communicate on a level deeper than language and to comfort one another with affectionate routines that softened the shocks of an inconstant world. (from Goodreads) 

Let me begin at the end…  As I start to write this book review, the only thought in my mind is: how many of my “cat-human” friends can I give this book to?  Seriously.  I’m creating the list right now in my mind! 

When Dulcy’s human, Dee Ready, gifted me with this treasure of a book, in exchange for my honest review, I was not quite sure how readable it would be.  I mean, would Dee have received Dulcy’s words, as Dulcy would desire?   If not, Dulcy’s story could go quite awry, which I know Dulcy would not have appreciated.  But, fortunately for Dulcy, and for all of us, Dee received the words in the manner they were intended – lovingly; and Dee gave them back to us as they were intended – lovingly.  Of course this really was a given, as after all, Dulcy’s human is an “unwhiskered cat”. 

Dulcy’s story is a story of love, a love that springs to life when a cat and a human choose each other, guided by a power greater than both.  This is the main theme of this uniquely memorable book. 

Rather than simply being a linear telling of a chronological story, “A Cat’s Life:  Dulcy’s Story”, connects the reader beyond Dulcy’s life, to the life of her human, the person we know to be Dee Ready.  This attests to Dee Ready’s skill of storytelling, a gift that enables her to relate Dulcy’s story, without one mention of herself by name, without any explanation as to why she and Dulcy moved or travelled as they did.  No explanation was required by Dulcy, who simply trusted her human to lovingly preside over all her needs.   

As a reader, I became naturally curious about Dee’s life.  I found myself wanting to know why Dee and Dulcy travelled to, and lived in, different homes over the course of their years together.  But, I also recognized that this story was not about Dee’s life journey, it was about Dee and Dulcy’s shared life journey.  Maybe, Dee Ready will write another story, one that focuses on herself, her family, her career path, her unique life journey.  All things I found myself wondering about as I followed Dulcy’s story. 

I believe Dulcy and Dee have captured honest feelings, about how special the bonds between cat and human can be.  In the sharing of their story, the true wonder of this special bond can be captured by those who have experienced similar relationships, and also by those who have not.   

I highly recommend this book, to all who have been chosen by a cat, to be their human.  I also recommend it to anyone, who would like to read about the pure essence of a shared love. 

Need I even ask my question: “Where is the Joy in this Written Word”?  Joy leaps out of the pages of this very precious and unique tale, of a love that lasts forever. 

Choose Joy! 

Patricia

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Book Review: “Say Not What If” by Andrew Friedman

“Say Not What If” is about a man on death row, and has as its theme the concept that time is our most valuable commodity. As someone once said, “waste anything but time, because we really are promised no tomorrows.” This theme is explored through the life of a man who sacrifices his marriage and everything else for his career. He realizes much too late the terrible consequences of this decision, and then desperately tries to regain those lost years by making a much worse choice. The resolution of this latter choice involves an additional examination of the concepts of accountability and responsibility, redemption, and the morality of the death penalty. (from Goodreads)

 

This exceptional book is a short story, (approximately 10,000 words), written as a rhyming poem, which really makes it a long, (51 page), poem!  However you choose to describe it, however you choose to summarize it, this literary work is something incredibly special.

I was not sure how I would feel about a long prose-poem, and I was a little intimidated by it. However, it did not take long for me to know how I felt about the book itself.  I was hooked by the second page.

Most of us can probably relate to a story of a man spending too much time away from his family, and not enough time appreciating the time he has on this earth.  Why is it that we can all find ourselves in this situation, even when the world around us is filled with examples of how “not-to”?  I am reminded of two famous sayings: “Learn by example” and “Learn by our own mistakes”.  Which one is correct?  Or are they both correct?

The main character in this short story is depicted, in the beginning, as one who has a passion for his job, or if not a passion, then dedication and loyalty.  When everyone else leaves for the day, he and his boss remain.  And it is clear that he believes this is the way to get through life, the way that will lead to a wonderful time of retirement. 

Reading the opening stanza, it seems as though this man’s life theory is: to live for the day.  “Say Not What If”, embrace life and all it offers.  We learn, almost immediately, that this philosophy of life was only arrived at after some big moments of regret.  The bulk of the story finds the main character struggling with his life choices.

While it might be tempting to read this book in one short period of time, I would caution against this.  I took multiple sittings, as the subject matter was heavy, even though the style of writing was light.  And as the book progressed I was pleased with the slower pace of my reading.

As I read his story, I could not help but feel pain for the main character.  But also pain for those of us living part, or all of our lives, saying “what if”.  For a short book, this story addresses major life issues, ones which the reader will find speak to the core of our beings.  The author has the skill to reach directly into our hearts, souls, and minds – in a very short amount of time.

I highly recommend this book, and hope that we as readers, will learn life lessons that will stay with us for the rest of our journey.

 

I would like to thank Andrew Friedman, for providing a complimentary copy of his book, for my review.

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 Well, that did not last long!!  Did anyone happen to notice what I forgot in this post?!

“Where is the Joy?”!!!!!

My very next post, after deciding I would ask that question at the end of any post, I forgot!  Maybe no one else remembered either!!

So, where is the Joy in this post, in this book?  I thought that might be a challenging question, given the subject matter of the book “Say Not What If”, (maybe that’s why I ‘forgot’!??).

However, the answer came quite easily.  I found Joy in the rhyming pattern of the stanzas, in the flow of the words, and from there the images of what was being depicted. 

That was the Joy.

Patricia

Choose Joy!

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Scripture Reflection Mark 5: 25-26

When I read and reviewed Cynthia Patterson’s book, “It Had to Happen”, (see my post of July 16, 2011), I was taken aback by which scripture passage Cynthia had chosen – Mark 5:25-26. Almost exactly ten years ago that passage was given to me for meditation – for me to put myself in the role of the hemorrhaging woman longing to be cured by Jesus. It was suggested to me that instead of hemorrhaging, I could substitute a real health issue that I was dealing with – whatever that might be.

The date was July 15, 2001.

I returned to my room, sat on the windowsill, and placed myself in the crowd scene with Jesus. And as I did that I began to long for a cure, and I knew that all I had to do was touch the hem of His garment. If I could only reach Him, I need to get closer, if I can but touch a small edge of His garment, my pain will dissolve:

Jesus is Waiting for Me

I call out for help
He’s moving too fast
He’s too far ahead
I cannot keep up.

I’m unable to run
I can’t move any faster
Don’t leave ‘til I get there
Hey, Jesus! Wait up!

He stops and He turns
He seems to be thinking
He seems to look back

Is He looking for me?
Is He waiting for me??

I fall and I stumble
While tears fill my eyes
I cannot quite get there
He seems to hear my cry
Hey, Jesus! Wait up!

I fall and I hurt
Where does this pain come from?
I blink through my tears
And now see His face
He turns and He smiles

He’s smiling at me!
Jesus is waiting for me!!

Patricia
Choose Joy!

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