Poetry heals the wounds inflicted by reason.
In November, I am continuing to participate in the Two Pages-a-Day writing challenge. And I must have been abducted by aliens who replaced my brain with rocks, because I’m also doing NaNoWriMo for the first time. Someone get this girl a drink!!
ever judge a book by its cover or its opening paragraph.
That goes double for a poetry collection.
Reviewing fiction is sadly easy these days: if the author uses their, they’re, and there correctly, they deserve a Pulitzer.
Poetry is an entirely different animal.
The Soul of the Poet
All writers bleed through their pens, but poets have an elusive magic running in their veins. Words that seem stern and unshakeable become soft and yielding when placed in the arms of a poem.
What is stilted and indecipherable to one reader, is stark and emotional to another. Its very subjectivity is what makes poetry so accessible and interesting. The meaning changes like light through the trees.
Iit also makes it damn difficult to review.
Adventure, Love, and Airplanes
When I first picked up my ARC of Adventure, Love, and Airplanes by R. A. Friedl, I read the first poem and put it aside for a week. I thought, Oh my God; another collection of pious blah blah blah in verse form. I’m so not the person to read this right now. Why didn’t I review this during a non-drama, non-PMS week!?
But an honest review was requested, so an honest review I would to give, come hell or empty high-ball glass.
So I picked it up again. That first poem still made my not-so-inner cynic roll her eyes, but I kept reading.
And was immediately body-slammed by some impressive word play.
I think Mr. Friedl hid this little gem on purpose. It attacks like a vampire ~ silent and sudden. The repetition of the line
I’m tired of His bullshitAnd I’m tired of His games
put me in mind of a villanelle. It provided a steady rhythm throughout the poem, which is about a man trying to find his way, waiting for Heavenly guidance that never comes. God’s silence angers him, and he rages at Him
I’m gonna raise my nothing voiceAgainst the empty, nothing void.
Call me a passive-aggressive snit, but I love this poem because it would shock and offend my mother and a couple of church lady-types I know. In their narrow world, you live, work, and accept without question, everything that comes.
Maybe that actually works for some people, although I think it’s more a defensive mechanism than piety. But it certainly does not work for me. Nor does it for Friedl, it seems.
This anger, this frustration ~ it’s real, raw. And God is big enough to take it. I read this and picture God as Morpheus.
Bring it on, mortal!!
Image Credit: Google Images
My only critique is that some lines work too hard to rhyme. The raw emotion in this poem lends itself to free verse. Lines like
I’m told to silence and to sitHis designs, they are so infinite
broke up the pounding rhythm Friedl had set in the first stanza. Other than that, I wanted to say Oohrah! when I finished this poem. It is hands down my favorite.
Paying off a Student Loan
I have one word to describe this poem: brilliant. Don’t read the explanation, just read the title and then the poem.
The word painting is vivid.
Which brings me to my second critique: I’m not fond of the journal-like entries before each poem. Personally, I like to read a poem without the hindrance of the poet’s thoughts and explanations. I’m still interested in what emotions the poet is trying to convey, but let me experience that first sip of inky wine on my own. Then share your thoughts at the end if you like.
This one was perfect. Favorite lines
Through thicken thornsThinking throughThoughts ill-born
Greater kicker at the end that reminds us that not all stereotypes are real. I laughed out loud because I've experienced this.
I love visiting ancient cemeteries. The craftsmanship and love (or at least social obligation) that went into carving the headstones is fascinating to me. Friedl looks at all the lives long gone and muses
As we lay to restIn casket chestsA wealth of lessons learned.
The best thing about reading and reviewing Friedl’s poetry? No misspellings and no incorrectly used words. My inner snarky editor thanks you, Robert.
And I look forward to reading more of your poetic journey in the future.
Oremus pro invicem,
I received an ARC so I could write this review. Adventure, Love, and Airplanes is available for .99 at Amazon. I was not paid for this review.