Author: Cedric L. Jones
Genre: Books > Literature & Fiction > African American > Poetry
Release Date: May 29, 2014
Length: 138 Pages
Rating: ★ ★ (2.0 out of 5 stars)
About the Book (Summary)
A mixture of styles that include everything from traditional poetic forms to the influence of the Harlem Renaissance jazz poets, WE WHISPER, AND OTHER POEMS explores the maturation of an individual and a nation through the experiences and observations of a gay, Black man in America (Amazon Description, 2014).
Once again, I had the privilege of reviewing a book of poetry. And, much like the last book The Brevity of Twit, I won’t take my usual approach to this review. I admit to knowing very little about poetry, but what I do know is that “poetry is putting the best words in the best order,” (Maddox, 2014). And ultimately, what makes a poem good or bad lies within the reader. Now, with that being said, I also confess to not being that prosaic. My assumption was the author intended the reader to extrapolate meaning from universal truths about the human condition. Despite my shortcomings, I am familiar with selecting the best words to paint a portrait for the reader, a picture that draws emotion. There were poems in the text I liked, but there were others that didn’t resonate a strong message for me. Unfortunately, most of the author’s poems fit snugly into the latter.
What Worked and What Didn’t Work
In the category of what worked, poems, e.g., CJ was here, The Change We Want to See and How Dare You? tapped into shared human experiences. The exactness of emotion in these poems is precise and didn’t subscribe to a particular pattern. Even though neither of these poems aroused emotion in me, I did understand it meaning with no analysis required. Conversely, the poems that didn’t work for me had the opposite effect. They fell flat. For example, in the poem Savior, the author wrote:
“We stand naked in a brand new Eden feeling stupid for all the things we’ve done. The savior doesn’t save. He leaves us to reflect.”
By definition, Eden is a paradise, a place of pristine and abundant beauty. It is the beginning of all things where Adam and Eve inhabited. Of course, we all know the inciting event that changed Adam and Eve’s consciousness of nakedness and shame. Savior, by definition, is to save from hurt or harm. I’m saying all this to make a point. I got tripped up in the word choices, which is vital in poetry. Why wouldn’t a savior, save and who would require saving from Eden. In many instances, the sequence of words seemed to be a failed attempt to be profound, which ultimately compromised the poems meaning.
For that reason, I give a marginal recommendation of 2 out of 5 stars. Now, with all this being said, poetry is very subjective, and one person's pain is another’s pleasure. Buy the book. Read it for yourself and decide.
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