on January 25, 2015
As always, do not let my star count override your judgement of content. More on the stars, counting, and my rating challenges later. Let me describe this book for you. It is not simple.
This is a subtle work of some fifty-two poems, and is not intended for other than mature audiences. The poems are strong and the situations intimate, but never graphic.
Pond writes in one-page free verse poems of varying lengths and includes the occasional rhyme. It is a gentle, seductive style which sets the reader up for powerful experiences. In the second poem, To The Abortion, the ambush is at the end: "Strange, for a clinic to advertise /as an amusement park. /It was as though we were driving /to South of the Border."
As always, google anything you don't recognize. Being Canadian, I could only have guessed what `South of the Border' was, so I looked it up to confirm.
There is tragedy, as in Doping: "Stunned, I hung the black phone /and stared at the white wall /realizing she'd never left Harlem." This gives you a hint of Pond's subtlety with images.
There is personal exposure in poems like Dr. Moribundi's Office, and Art Therapy. Using technology to avoid reality is captured in Rather than Face to Face.
Personal regret comes through in As Grains of Sand, where we find this: "I shouldn't have taken him for granted /but savoured each moment, /holding them as grains of sand /and not letting them slip to shore. /OUR moments, /would never be repeated; /only recalled when rings of water /infinitely expand /on the surface of the lake."
If you're scrolling for the tiny carps, give up. I didn't even find a typo. Back to the good stuff.
I could go on with more quotes, as I have several favourites in this collection. Chocolate Bunnies is a brilliant metaphor for the loss of caring. Again in At Least One of Us, this: "I've lost the will to make things work /and I don't want to lie in bed, post facto, /hearing you say, mind if I smoke? /Oh, well ... /at least one of us was content." And the poem goes on from there.
Back to the star count. My personal guidelines, when doing an `official' KBR review, are as follows: five stars means, roughly equal to best in genre. Rarely given. Four stars means, extremely good. Three stars means, definitely recommendable. I am a tough reviewer. This is a book of poems that are easy to read, easy to internalize, yet difficult to forget. You will come back to many of them, as I already have. Five stars seems to be right on: roughly equal to best in genre. Highly recommended.
Kindle Book Review Team member.
(Note: this reviewer received a free copy of this book for an independent review. He is not associated with the author or Amazon.)