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Wow! That's quite a list of unique and interesting topics, some of which I'd never dream I myself could write a poem about. At first glance, some might think some of these subjects are a bit heavy and the poems will probably just seem preachy or forced. I have to admit that 99 Poems of the Spirit is not such a collection. As I'll discuss in this review, King's use of images and words may shock you, but it is apparent that the themes and subjects are all things he, as a man and a poet, are well versed in.
Just the word "inspiration" tends to become a bit flat when using it to describe writing because we each find our own types of inspiration in different works. Some work may inspire you religiously. Some may inspire you to lose weight or take up a new hobby. It's obvious to see that at the root of "inspiration" is the word "spirit;" both words originated from sp'r're which means to breathe. And in reading King's poetry, you'll discover that with each poem he set out to awaken (or inspire) your inner spirit. Here's one example from a poem called "Incarnation's Game:"
Life to life our faces change.
Likewise do our names,
gender, form and personality-
Craving spawns attachment.
Attachment pulls us back
We could not be a prisoner
without a sense of lack.
And another from a few verses of "From the Flame:"
Consumed is man with caste and clan;
false status rests in name and fame;
thus, ignorant is he of The Plan -
all men spring from the same Flame.
How then can there be class distinction
when all are born and will remain
ever reflecting identic Life,
Children of the Changeless Name?
I also appreciate King's poetry because there aren't a lot of words on the page. The ability for a poet to say so much using so little is true talent. King obviously possesses a vast knowledge of words because I discovered a lot of new word use and word play in his book that I have not seen much of since reviewing poetry for LLBR. His simple rhyme schemes of ABAB and ABCB also make the poems flow off of the tongue easier if you take the time to read a few of them out loud as they should be. There's just a touch of rhyme in the right places to help the poem flow and to keep it interesting, but not too much to make the poems sound too sing-song.
If you are searching for some good food for the soul, I highly recommend King's 99 Poems of the Spirit. The collection is very different and refreshing, and not repetitive. There truly is something here to inspire everyone, like Poem 99, one of my favorites, entitled "Yours is not the Earth." I'll close with a verse from it because its an excellent note to end on for this review and the poetry collection:
Yours is not the earth.
It is the universe
and everything beyond.
It is the sky which lies beyond
the realms of distance run;
it is the light which emanates
from a live, yet unknown sun;
it is the sea which rolls and roars
in another universe and time;
it is the undiscovered passages
beyond the corridors of Mind.