Denise Alicea has created a book that embodies the poetry-lover. Angels Always Near is a brief set of a little over 30 poems, many of which read as short stories in verse instead of exploration of abstract personal emotions or discussion of ideas. It is aimed for young adults and the theme is angels, applied interchangeably throughout the poems to literal supernatural beings and to human souls. Sometimes the line between the two is vague, creating a cloudy, dream-like feel to the poems. Although most of the pieces tie into the angels/soul theme, a few relate to friendship, sadness, and memories. A slight Celtic tone threads into the collection, lending a musical, almost eerie ambiance to several of the poems, including “Tatiana,” but the majority feel paranormal and more modern.
Denise Alicea has a gentle, unassuming style of writing and I found Angels Always Near a likable set of poems. The overall mood was wistful, tending towards somber. The poems are definitely teen in their high-flown idealism, and deal tenderly with situations (whether shown as abstract emotions or as a short story narrative) of love, longing, idealism, loneliness, and respect for the earth around us. Notable poems include: The Angel That Flew Away With Our Hearts; Gaia; Watching You; Knowledge; Scars; and Soul Friend. There’s the occasional exquisite phrase or imagery (as in Gaia, “The glow of the earth so bright, a beautiful glow of blue, glimmering over the life-bearing world,”) and an underlying genuineness that makes this a book to consider if there’s a little bit of a dreamer in you.
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.