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The White Colossus

The White Colossus by Enne Baker is an alluring and visionary collection of poems that touch upon subjects like life, death, cosmic energy and nature, and much more. The author provides twenty poems in this collection where he talks about both the beauty of life and peace within death. This fascinating book will take you on a thought-provoking journey, starting with Baker’s thoughts towards death, his belief in love and God, and his acceptance of life.

Author Enne Baker is a powerful writer, and his poems exude emotion. While I was reading the poems, I felt uncomfortable, intrigued, and left in my thoughts. Baker expresses his thoughts and feelings so well that each poem resonated with me, and I wanted to read more. I enjoyed the diversity of the poems because I didn’t know what to expect, which was a nice treat.

Baker’s comparisons of life to objects are made so seamlessly that when you stop to think about what you’ve just read, you realize that the author just compared the mending of a body to that of a car being built. Some poems I found were hard to understand and required me to really think about what the author was saying in the piece. However, these poems did not stop me from continuing to read the collection but rather slow down and ponder my own feelings and thoughts.

Enne Baker’s words paint a vivid picture in the reader’s mind and captivate your thoughts and emotions, making this one book that you will read more than once. The White Colossus is a brilliant collection of poetry that will leave readers better than when they picked up the book.

Pages: 63 | ASIN : B09JBZKWYS

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The Humbling and Other Poems

The Humbling and Other Poems by Robert J. Tiess is expansive, intricate, and a well-developed poetry collection. While this collection has been arranged in seven parts, its poems can be read in any order and cover many things in life’s journey. There is a kindness and gentleness to Tiess’ work that resonates on a human level, and in turn, gives itself beautifully to the reader. The “Addenda” towards the end of the collection is its own little marvel, and truthfully, if there’s anything I could do differently regarding my initial reading of this collection, it’s that I would read the closing section first.

One poem I especially enjoyed was “Amid the Jersey Turnpike Whales.” As someone who has driven on that cursed road myself, I still remember my first time on the turnpike and Tiess’ poeticizing of it to an ocean is, for me, enormously memorable. Visceral, the scene depicted quickly burrows itself inside your skin. You can taste the exhaust, the gravel, even the cold itself. And then, there’s the rain—Tiess’s chosen equalizer in dreaming the turnpike to an ocean. All of this, contrasted with the peace, warmth, and light of returning home to dryness and comfort, makes this poem a summoning of rest specific to home. And that’s the thing about this collection—while you might not be able to connect with every single poem in it, there’s still something in this book for everyone.

Further, I enjoyed seeing Tiess branching out in his use of form and space (ex: “Deepmost”). I reveled in the opportunity to see him break free from form and let live. Nevertheless, there are times when this sudden liberation causes the opposite to occur. In “Elsewhere in the Coffee House…,” it feels as if Tiess is almost trying to overcompensate for the poem’s unwinding nature by tensing and coiling it back into itself. Tiess is bold with his poems and his language hits a delightful, vital literary octave that only a true poet can touch in their writing.

The Humbling and Other Poems is a well-constructed, and thoughtful creation which not only brings people joy, but also serves to make the world a better place simply by existing.

Pages: 233 | ASIN: B09YMPN6VW

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Shadows of the Trees

Shadows of the Trees is a collection of thought-provoking poetry and prose. The poems are chronologically presented based on the time of composition, which makes me feel like the poet wants us to follow his journey by following these pieces. 

If you start from the initial poems, there’s a free flow of raw emotions. The heavy influence of American Romanticism is evident throughout, but the poet also manages to express his own passions and insights through his writings. As we progress towards the later chapters, the melodies in the poems start to develop. Poetry enthusiasts can easily recognize this shift, both in terms of rhythmic quality as well as a gradual change in the poet’s perspectives. 

The poems are of varied moods – some are dark, while others carry a beautiful introspective quality. The poet not only looks inward, but also at his surroundings, and takes inspiration from life. The last chapters ‘1996’ and ‘1997’ have a somber feel, but it’s also where the melodies find maturity. Even though the poems sing of anguish and broken hearts, there is a hint of faith and hope pervading throughout them. Once you read the compositions, you would truly agree with what the poet said in the introduction – poems are “lyrics to melodies of the mind”. 

Shadows of the Trees can be an excellent gift for someone who enjoys reading poetry, or aspiring young adults who love to compose. These candid poems are short but potent, so they can be read in one go, but it’s better to read them leisurely, and let the feelings sink in as you ponder. 

Pages: 115 | ASIN: B09QFDYYNS

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Battle Cry 

Battle Cry by author Jennifer Sara Widelitz is a peculiar and emotionally riveting short book of modern poetry. This thought-provoking book is divided into five parts: Before, Crash, Interlude: Nature’s Elixir, Relapse, and Resilience. The author’s writing is thoughtfully illustrated by herself, with fine-line artwork. The pieces revolve around several stages of life and aspects of human nature such as childhood, family, trauma, illness, and healing.

The author’s ability to engage the reader and invoke her own inspirations for the poems is a definite highlight of this piece of literature. Widelitz’s opening poem is certainly remarkable due to its capacity to transmit a feeling of belonging that is likely to captivate the reader in the very first verses. The following pieces, short poems which likewise capture the essence of their subjects, are specifically dedicated to some of the author’s family members and add to the collection’s authenticity.

The poem “RORSCHACH TEST: INKBLOT # 3, BEFORE AND AFTER” is worthy of an honorable mention. Named after the well-known psychological inkblot test in which the subject is asked by the examiner to describe what they visualize in the paper. This piece, which is accompanied by a gloomy illustration that can represent different objects when rotated, conjures verses that can be read from top to bottom and vice-versa. Imaginative and creative, Jennifer Sara Widelitz separates herself from the large majority of poetry anthologies with her ingenuity. Her artwork is simple but powerful as not each poem has art to go with it. However, when there is an image, even in black and white, it is striking and conjures up emotions, making the artwork as important as the words in the poem.

Battle Cry is an emotionally charged collection of poetry and drawings. However, the author displays a sensitive and empathetic side to dealing with chronic illness and the battles that those that endure must face. For those that love poetry or those that need inspiration, this collection is a must.

Pages: 156 | ASIN : B09Z7CSJ72

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Euphoric Wonderland

Music is an incredible force, with the power to unite people of all backgrounds over universal themes and make every kind of situation seem valid and surmountable. It also can inspire, as it does here for Ryan Becker in his poetry collection Euphoric Wonderland. Sprinkled with great references to many bands and a plethora of iconic songs, Becker creates a roadmap through his imagination, using the music he loves as the most important landmarks.  

The book’s prologue is an open letter to the music and the artists that sparked the journey for Becker, giving a brief idea of what clicked for him as he listened. It focuses heavily on The Beatles, who have been well-known inspirations to countless writers, artists, and other musicians since their time. These open letters, which contain their own distinct rhythm and read as times like confessions, continue to pop up periodically throughout the book, simultaneously praising and paying homage to the music Becker has discovered. 

The poetry itself is expressive and captivating. I feel that the rhyming pattern was distracting, and I would’ve liked the poems to be more free-flowing. One of the appeals for writers and readers alike is the freedom to construct a thought outside the traditional writing restrictions, especially when it comes to poetry. Becker does a fantastic job conveying emotions in his poems, making them a powerful read. One key thing the author does well is references the music that has presumably inspired his writing. There is a great deal of music history hidden here, called out either in names, song titles, and personal stories of the artists. He is masterful in discreetly incorporating things that may not be obvious in his writing. This is a nice treat because there is something new to find in Becker’s poetry, especially when read more than once.

I immensely enjoyed finding all the musical references throughout though I am sure I may have missed some. Poetry is hugely subjective and personal when it comes to the level of enjoyment, for any music lover these entertaining poems will inspire you.  

Euphoric Wonderland is a humorous and engaging collection of poetry. The musical reference will bring on feelings of nostalgia for older generations, and serve as a rich and diverse introduction to younger generations that may not be as familiar with the music that inspired the works here.

Pages: 96 | ASIN : B09WHG11FP

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Healing Yesterday’s Tears

Author Kyli Santiago’s life is one from which we can all learn. Fortunately, she has shared much of her experience with readers in the form of poetry. Santiago’s poems cover every topic, from depression to single motherhood. Within Santiago’s work, there is a prominent theme of overcoming adversity and bouncing back time and time again from situations that would break the strongest among us.

Healing Yesterday’s Tears, by Kyli Santiago, is eye-opening on many levels. First, I appreciated the real and raw emotions conveyed through her verse. Reading Santiago’s poetry is like looking through the window to her soul. Second, I found her words to be powerful and moving. The poems addressing depression explore truly dark and hurtful places, but Santiago always manages to show readers her own path toward hope. Many readers who are seeking words of encouragement will find her work difficult to read but inspiring all the same.

There is no better place to find a shining example of self-discovery than Santiago’s work. She leaves nothing to the imagination and provides highly relatable situations, including deception in relationships and sexually violent experiences. Her work gives hope to readers and shows them that the most adverse conditions can be overcome.

Santiago always leaves readers feeling strengthened and emboldened to meet obstacles head-on. I highly recommend Santiago’s work to anyone looking for the inspiration to love themselves again. Readers will appreciate the openness displayed in Santiago’s work. Learning through adversity is one of the most challenging processes, but Santiago has mastered it–we are fortunate she has been led to share her experiences with the world.

Healing Yesterday’s Tears: An Inspiring Poetry Book about Overcoming Emotion and Discovering Love of Self is a beautifully written book of poetry that contains some triggering situations related to suicide and intimate relationships, but each poem paves a path filled with strength and hope for readers.

Pages: 77 | ASIN : B09GNTJGKX

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Awaken! 

Awaken! A Collection of Poems is a chapbook written by Sylvia Sánchez Garza. This emotionally-charged collection is filled with poems covering topics like nature, the pandemic, immigration, social injustice, love and family, and deeply personal feelings that readers from all over will be able to relate to. This short collection has twenty-five poems and a glossary for those who do not understand the Spanish words included in the poetry. Each poem will leave the reader with something to think about.

Nature is one of the main themes in this collection, and many of the author’s poems use nature to express her thoughts on the world and what is happening. Two poems that I felt connected humans and nature well are Dance and Delusional Dream. Dance is a profound poem, taking a look at life from a flying bug. While the exact insect is not named, the perspective is eye-opening. Humans forget when they view these dancing bugs as an annoyance to their outdoor experience, these bugs have a short life span, and the outdoors is their only home. Fly swatters, and bug zappers take these creatures’ joy and short life away. With such a short time to live, they should dance and love just as we like to. Moving right from the fragile life of bugs, readers are given a poem on the fragility of human life. This heartbreaking poem talks about the pandemic and how much was lost during this time, human lives, dreams, experiences, and just living their lives.

Some of the other thought-provoking topics that Garza explores include immigration, migrant workers, fear, and the politics surrounding these issues. The poem Soar With The Angles made me cry. The words are chosen so artfully that each strike at different emotions. This poem says what so many have felt, and their voices went unheard when the events surrounding George Floyd occurred.

Not all the poems are dark or sad. Mr. Sunshine turns a gray morning rain into a thing of beauty and something to be welcomed and appreciated for its gift. It reminds readers that we must experience rain at times to grow and experience the beauty that the world has to offer us.

Awaken! A Collection of Poems is a beautifully written chapbook that is filled with introspective and passionate works that readers will not forget. Those who enjoy reading current and relevant poetry on contemporary society will find this expressive collection moving and filled with passion.

Pages: 44 | ASIN : B09N6QLQBG

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Peace in the Midst of the Storm

Author Kaleb Thompson’s Peace in the Midst of the Storm is a poetry collection that aims to inspire others, offering sanctuary to readers going through life’s crises. This collection is based on religious beliefs and seeks to glorify God and exalt the human spirit. The writer captures the universal experiences of despair, stress, and not knowing where to turn while offering religious-based solutions to navigating these dark times in life.

These poems contain powerful and evocative images; the opening poem describes a peaceful place “my life will soon leap into.” I feel, at times, these poems would benefit from being simplified. Some lines are so long that the rhyme scheme is partially lost or muddled. Nonetheless, there is a promise of healing within these poems through moments of original phrasing and Thompson’s positive, supportive messaging. One message that stood out to me is that we are not who we were in the past, our future can be different, and we have the power to change our lives.

The poem “Blame” really struck me. The lines “A mature young man in the midst of grown adults who don’t know how / and when to grow up is not only surprising, it’s disturbing.” I see this attitude almost every day, at work, in stores, and even at children’s sports games. How can children learn to live in a Godly way when the example set before them is the exact behavior they are told to correct?

This collection is for those passionate about their religious beliefs and who have a strong faith background. The poetry is religious; there are explicit calls to prayer, alongside a sense of owing life’s successes to God. Through God, readers will find a path to overcoming anxiety, fear, a broken and troubled spirit, and an uplifting message of hope. The uplifting energy of this collection and Thompson’s attempt to reach out to the downtrodden are admirable.

Peace in the Midst of the Storm is a collection of poetry that will help guide readers into the light from the darkness that has built up inside them. This inspirational anthology will give readers hope and encouragement to find the best inside of themselves with the help of God.

Pages: 88 | ASIN : B09PSTJPH8

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