Review 5 star
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Seasons of the Soul is a collection of philosophical poetry by Nidhi Kaur. It has many eloquent, often short poems that show a relationship between a woman seeking love and a beloved she longs for and can also be used to describe a deeper search for peace and meaning in the stages of life. The book summarizes four “seasons” or life stages in the love journey and these four seasons are examined through intricate sets of poems that are paired with pictures, predominantly of leaves and flowers, to create a strong sensory experience. The seasons—Season of Longing; Season of Remembrance; Season of Love; and Season of Enlightenment—take the narrator and reader through a life journey of finding love.
The poetical quality of Seasons of the Soul is delicate and gentle. The broader spiritual growth that can be applied to this cascading waterfall of poems gives them a lot of depth and Nidhi Kaur’s writing merits close attention for the quiet elegance that is structured into each set of poems and images. While many poetry books use images effectively, few do so with as much skill as this one because the pictures act as little verses of their own, accompanied by individual longer poems or by tiny, brief verbal fragments strung along together to create a sophisticated experience. The comparison of the growth of love to the life cycle of a flower as it sprouts, bud, and blooms is carried through the whole book with strength and energy, and there are touches of beautiful lyricism, as in the lovely verse “I have translated all of your silence into poetry.” Seasons of the Soul is a good expression of the inner spirit of a life that is continually growing.
Review 4 star
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The Ache of Healing! 105 Sonnets of Love and Contemplations is a poetry book by Christine Maalouf Abi Najm that deals with sometimes painful human situations in an empathetic way. Every poem uses the sonnet format and the book’s four sections discuss romantic love (Roses and prickles), personality types (Spirits and souls), locations (Places), and feelings about God and life’s purpose (Contemplations.) Roses and prickles is the longest section with over 40 sonnets and it shows a kaleidoscope of emotions about love, including anxiety and jealousy. Places is the shortest, sketching in verbal watercolors of hometown, immigration, and war. The other two sections provide thoughts about the meaning of living a life that’s often very flawed and pensive reflections on types of people.
An interesting book, The Ache of Healing! 105 Sonnets of Love and Contemplations shows a good ability to apply the sonnet form to describe ordinary people experiencing real life. I found each one of Christine Maalouf Abi Naim’s poems told distinct stories in small nutshells that capture emotional moments in time. Each one added more to the book until it was a flowing river of people, places, and memories with the substance of a novel and the terseness of music. One detail that adds tremendously to the poetry as well is the personalized, often symbolic black-and-white picture that accompanies each sonnet and emphasizes its meaning. Through poems like “Tipsy!” “A cheater,” “His hair became white!” and “At a crossroad!” the author asserts her faith in God while remaining authentic to our troubled world and describing that world in a way that brings it close to home.
Review 4 star
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Reverberations II is a book of haiku poetry by author Charles E. Rawlings, M.D. J.D. It consists of over fifty poems each paired with a photograph with the intention that they balance each other and be two halves of a whole. The theme of the book is individual response to the poems in order to alter the vibrational patterns around the reader and improve their life journey. Mr. Rawlings explains that all our actions, including our thoughts, are part of quantum mechanics and are made of vibrating waves that can be changed or elevated by any activity, such as perceptions of things like these poems and accompanying images.
Reverberations II is a poetic experience I found to be very creative as I went about creating links between the haikus and their accompanying images. The idea was to expand my mind when I deciphered the connection between the images and the verses as they come together to locate a hidden idea, which is a very interesting and challenging way to read. In the verse Harmony (Of Contrasts) the focus of this book was described especially well: “Lines, Curves; Black, White; Spring, Winter, Merging Energy.” Color stood out to me as a feature as most of the pictures were of the natural world and buildings shown in stark sharp colors—lavender, teal, black and white, silver, pale yellow. Charles E. Rawlings captured for me just how interactive a book of poetry can really be. I was able to create my own story, in part, in my responses, while still keeping close to the framework of his original intent.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.