Another book club selection, and one that - honestly - I had put off until I read the non-fiction book first. In the past, books of poetry have many times become slogs for me. However, on starting this short collection of only eighty-five pages with forty-three short works, I came to like it very much and have read several poems several times. It's a keeper for sure. Collins writes in a very personal style, as if he's thinking aloud while with a friend (you and I, the readers) during the every-day moments, with dreams, tasks, observations, meandering thoughts, that come to mind to us all.
As one who certainly is not a student of poetry, this work gained on me as I "got into" his style. Collins writes in prose, not rhyme, and his prose is honest and spare, yet brilliant. I tried to mark favorites with small tabs of paper as placeholders as I want along, but after quite a few, I realized that this little book was a treasure trove of wonderful little "plain-Jane" poems. I loved it.
The title poem, which is next to last, or penultimate to use a fancy word, is terrific and ends this way, if I may copy a bit:
Poetry fills me with joy
and I rise like a feather in the wind.
Poetry fills me with sorrow
and I sink like a chain flung from a bridge.
But mostly poetry fills me
with the urge to write poetry,
to sit in the dark and wait for a little flame
to appear at the tip of my pencil.
What more can I say! This is the most honest recommendation I can add to this wonderful break from the usual in our modern lives.
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Enjoy life; it's the only one we will get.
J.K. (Jim) George
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