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Monday, April 2, 2012

Inexpensive Love Gift For Moms in Your Life?


Cherished PulseSubtitle: Unconventional Love Poetry
Authors: Carolyn Howard-Johnson and Magdalena Ball
Genre: Poetry/Love
Author's Web site:
Available on Amazon as paperback or for Kindle

Reviewed by Mark Logie (London), originally for Amazon
Magdalena Ball's poems in this collection display a considerable interest in, and enthusiasm for, nature, both on this planet and in space. This is appropriate for "unconventional love poetry" as love for someone else often makes them seem to be everything (ie, the universe); it is also not what we expect since, on the face of it, love has no connection with outer space or the natural world on earth. This particularly appeals to me.

The awe in which we hold the cosmos together with its beauty and loneliness also make it ideal for poems about love. For instance, "Galactic Collision", one of my favourites, is about the virtually catastrophic fusing of two people in love with each other. The comparison of a human heart to a black hole is amazing, bold and apt: after all, a black hole is so powerful that nothing -- not even light -- can escape it. And true, deep love, draws us in and won't let go. She then goes on to underline this by going to the other end of the scale: light ("black hole/ expanded into a cartwheel blaze"). Love it.

Carolyn Howard-Johnson, on the other hand, explores the inner recesses of the human world: the heart, the mind and the home, neatly complementing and counterpointing Ball's macroscopic world-view (or should that be "universe-view"?). As they say, "Home is where the heart is".

Howard-Johnson's skill is in choosing original settings for poems that address different sentiments from the expected. It is also evident in her relaxed style, which cuts to the emotional crux of her works in a simple yet elegant way and embraces the real issues rather than the simplistic pseudo-sentiments of most commercial greetings cards. For example, the bittersweet "Dreaming Lilacs", primes the reader to expect a poem about intoxicating, fulfilled love through its vivid evocation of place and utilisation of all the reader's senses ("It's you who had me dreaming lilacs,/ breathing April's sweetest tears, tasting sugared lemon rinds,"), then reveals that it is really about expired or unrequited love ("... As if you/ were with me,/ as if you loved me."). Brilliant.

All in all, a superb collection: different yet not totally unfamiliar.

Roll on the next collection!

~Mark Logie is an award-winning poet & short-story writer;. He is the author
of "On the Road to Infinity" & "You Have No Power Over Me"

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