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Having Decided to Stay: Collected Poems
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2012
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
on October 23, 2012
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
on January 10, 2013
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
on October 23, 2012
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
on November 26, 2012
...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
on November 18, 2012
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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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on November 28, 2012
The writer's ability to catch, perceive, and express meaning is a treasure for the reader to enjoy and think upon. "David" was my favorite and it stirred me to look beyond the daily trials and to be awakened to a Love that is working in my life to make me into a heart after His own. Stirring and well done.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on October 23, 2012
I now know why Ms. Johnson has received so many awards for her poetry! Although I am not a real fan of poetry, this little book of poems has given me a new interest...I look forward to the next edition.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on August 18, 2012
I really enjoyed the worlds you created with this book. Your poems are very well written and I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who loves to read good poetry
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on December 19, 2012
This is a gem of a collection. The poems are deep and cause me to read and reread them. Thank you!
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