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Whispers, Tears, Prayers and Hope Paperback – November 11, 2008
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This is a book that should not be read in one sitting; each poem should be thoughtfully perused at leisure...in order to garner the most benefit. With that in mind I'm taking my time reading this little treasure. While many of Roberts' poems are dark and deep, others are light and loving, but all are hope-filled like this poet's soul.
So far I've read the lighter ones, postponing the deep thinking until after the Holiday Season. My favorite so far is "Wings of an Angel," a poem depicting the deep, abiding love of a man for his wife, but even this one appears to have a hidden, dark meaning. It definitely leaves one with "food for thought."
Roberts covers many areas of life in his poetry, from drugs, war, rape, and abortion to love of family and home. While some of the poems are hard-edged, Roberts always wields a gentle, hope-filled pen, espousing his helpful intent, offering hope. Other poems are poignant and prayerful. All are honest! Even when it's obvious his heart is bleeding, this poet retains hope and faith, encouraging readers to do the same.
At the back of Whispers, Tears, Prayers and Hope, Roberts includes some testimonials he received from people whose lives were changed through reading his words. There is no higher recommendation than that.
As one friend said, "Ed ignores the rules of classic poetry, delving into political and social themes...letting the message become the art." I agree with that assessment. These poems are definitely evocative.
I hear that this book has been recommended for a Pulitzer Prize. I'm not equipped to judge in that league, but I certainly wish Roberts the best of luck.
END-NOTE: The cover states this as a collection of poetry and song lyrics, but the formatting didn't distinguish between the two. I'm curious about that oversight.
Reviewed by: Betty Dravis, December 2008
Knowing that this is one book the 'usual negative commenter team' will viciously attack should not prevent even the more sophisticated reader from exploring the pages of this book: a hefty dose of Ed Roberts' musings might resolve some of those angry people's drive to destroy other people's opportunity to make their own decisions. No, this is not 'great poetry' of polished form, cadence, or style. Those attributes, much as we love to encounter them in the form of works by TS Eliot, Auden et al, are not the goal of Ed Roberts. The pages of this book are filled with well structured condensed messages about struggling with alcohol, drugs, war, hate, family fragility, abuse, death, and questions about spirituality, tough choices such as right to live, the seemingly impossible attempts to aid hunger at home and abroad, and the saving of the planet, as well a some of the loveliest thoughts of beauty and passion and love available to the reader today.
So this collection of simple, straightforward, embracing thoughts serves as the kind of support we all need at one time or another. To put these poems in too critical a light would be a disservice. As in the author's words - 'Today the world stands in need of so many things/ My simple prayer/ Is that you might find at least a little of what you seek/ Here among the pages of my life'. WHISPERS, TEARS, PRAYERS and HOPE is a gift, a timely one, and it deserves to be read by everyone who has a human spirit. Grady Harp, December 08