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Editorial Reviews

Review

"This collection is a feast, and it goes to show that although God said 'not many wise are called,' a few do get through."
- Andrée Seu Peterson, Senior Writer, WORLD Magazine

"Bryana Johnson's first collection of poetry establishes her as a Christian poet who communicates the gutsy, bleeding beat of life and death...restoring our confidence that there are poets who labor over the word, and who have something to say that the world needs to hear."
- Nathan Harms, Director, Utmost Christian Writers Foundation

"These poems are works of elegance...In a voice both compassionate and compelling, Bryana presents her readers with works that examine what it means to be human and how our very faults and foibles can, in the end, become instruments of grace." 
- Wendy Galgan, editor of Assisi

"...a promising debut and already a considerable achievement. Bryana's "trembly-fingered" poems bound and careen with both honesty and joy. They are equally in love with great books and the wild world..."
- John Savoie, Ph.D. Yale, Professor, Southern Illinois University

About the Author

Bryana Johnson is an award-winning poet and writer with more passions than she can pursue. Her work has appeared in a number of literary publications, including, The Boston Literary Magazine, Adroit Journal, Assisi, Time of Singing, and The Mayo Review. She is the recipient of several prizes in international poetry contests.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 70 pages
  • Publisher: Ethandune Publishing (August 5, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0615680690
  • ISBN-13: 978-0615680699
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.2 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,115,978 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bryana writes because all of the bushes are afire after all. Because somehow we must figure out a way to live barefoot, awestruck, transfixed, before the light of Christ that plays in ten thousand places.

Bryana's many passions include literature, acrylic paints, acoustic guitar, educational theory, watercolor journaling, political science, thunderstorms, history, calligraphy, the wonder of green things, and children. She lives the wide life on a farm among animals and blackberry plants and in pastures and creekbeds and trees writes about the mystery and the triumph of the narrow way.

Her poems have won several prizes in contests sponsored by the HSLDA and contests sponsored by The Utmost Christian Writers Foundation. They have appeared in a number of literary journals, including:

The Boston Literary Magazine, Time of Singing, Assisi: A Journal of Arts and Letters, The Montucky Review, Adroit Journal, The Mayo Review, Quantum Poetry Magazine, and Emerge Literary Journal

Customer Reviews

4.9 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
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See all 12 customer reviews
It's a pleasure to read and reread.
Elissa Flanigan
I highly recommend this collection of poems and look forward to future works from this author.
mrlranchgirl
Insightful and provoking work which stirs the soul and challenges the mind.
lpfol

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By lpfol on October 27, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Insightful and provoking work which stirs the soul and challenges the mind. This is a collection to savor as the mind reflects on the profound imagery each poem evokes.

As I try to write the words that best describes my emotions after reading this collection, the returning thought is that they cause me to yearn for things unseen.

Each poem is a glimpse into the heart and soul of the author, which is a very beautiful and passionate thing to behold.

I will continue to revisit these poems and look forward to another collection.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mrlranchgirl on October 23, 2012
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I love good poetry however, I often struggle with the content and the underlying meaning of various works. Ms. Johnson's poems are heartfelt, poignant, refreshingly clear and insightful. I intend to include "Having Decided to Stay" as a regular read, both personally and with my family. I highly recommend this collection of poems and look forward to future works from this author.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Colin Cutler on January 10, 2013
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I ordered Bryana Johnson's Having Decided to Stay with a Christmas gift-card and found myself immersed in the poems of a writer whose "ink [did] happy dances,/ to careen across the pages staggering/ like a drunken fellow, giddy/ on moonshine or sunset." Her "Resurrection" was particularly striking, keeping a strict tension with its contingent and concrete phrases: "If the kettle got to boiling and/Popped the trembling lid" before adding its resolution. She is also full of paradox, with her debt to G.K Chesterton, as when she speaks of a dying man "waking up, eyelids slipping right wide open."

She says that her work "is an exploration in verse of G.K. Chesterton's assertion that "gratitude is happiness doubled by wonder."" Her poems stretch across human experience, whether her own or other authors. Some address authors such as Dickens, Chesterton, Remarque, and the Prophets, and others are written from her experiences with death, familial suffering, natural joy, and commercial flight, and still others from her imaginations of old life or of an encounter with God in a back-alley.

Her poems are not formal, but they are not mere free-verse, either. She rhymes and sometimes slips into rhythm and rhyme without being so conscious of it that the work is merely metrical: the sounds are used to good effect, like a machine-gun that is not exactly precise but is devastatingly accurate, not merely spray-and-pray. Finally, her poems exult in the life that we have been given while flinching neither from the death that gives them poignancy nor from the Life that gives them meaning.

Order Having Decided to Stay, and keep an eye out for Miss Johnson's works in future. It will be time and money well-spent.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By DShack on October 23, 2012
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If Hope unseen is your aim, then this fashioner of words -Bryana Joy Johnson- has in pristine form given of her own wealth and you will be richer for it. She surprises with her insight into the human heart and challenges the reader to higher living. This collection is a favorite traveling companion of mine.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on November 26, 2012
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...This collection of poems is one of the very few you should read if you don't like poetry. The poems are stories - vivid, lovely even when dealing with dark subjects, having the ring of true conviction. I am ashamed to be using words so unskillfully to review the book when the author is such a master of them. Try reading a few. I don't think you will want to stop (though you should probably pause, to get the full effect of each poem). She will make you want to look up all her allusions, even the ones you know. Looking back at it, this review seems too gushing, but I am one of those who usually avoid poetry, and I loved it.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Kristi on November 18, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I just got this little book of poems and was so wrapped up in it that I forgot to make dinner!
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