Poetry Anthologies

5-Stars. Between Dusk and Darkness by A. Carder

Poetry Anthology
May 6, 2012
Pure Artistry

Between Dusk and DarknessOne of my greatest recent reading pleasures has been the writing of A. Carder, initially through her blog, ‘Becoming Herself’. It is wonderful to have so many of her quietly unique, intelligent and sensitive pieces in one collection-thoughts that curl in on themselves so you have to lean closer to hear their secrets and resistance to telling too much. ‘Between Dusk and Darkness’ offers page after page of interior moments past and present, slowly and softly recounting very personal experiences about love and loss and the certainty and ambivalence in-between. The writing here is exact and elusive, rich in `everyday’ detail, intriguing images and delicate wordplay, its progression often unexpected, profound and always very moving. It touches and tastes, inhales and exhales, constructs and crumbles, remembers and imagines, holding on and letting go with poignant lyricism that sings to what the heart does, the spirit reflects on, and the intellect struggles with. For me there isn’t any need to define these pieces as prose or poetry, they have stillness at their source and follow a current as they need to, into a river or a stream or cascading over a waterfall. This lovely collection is as much about discovery as loss, for the author and the reader, and I fervently recommend it as a meditative ‘Passaggio’-actually the title of one of the pieces, a musical term that describes the shift of the voice from one range to another thus signifying movement from one place to another-for losing oneself in pure artistry and finding a hope for love and life within.

5-Stars. Veritas by Ina Schroders-Zeeders

Poetry Anthology
May 21, 2012
Entertaining and Enlightening

VeritasIna’s poetry offers a generous share in her life on an island, not in isolation but sublime and sensible awareness of the world around her. It’s like being invited to tea with her observations and explorations, enjoyments and frustrations, pathos and humor, a little fantasy here and there, and sensuality that is both honest and enigmatic. She’s a storyteller, traveler, tease, naturalist, and romantic, prolific but also precise in this collection about the everyday and unusual, love, the sea, and death, the poems as varied in form and subject as they are consistently entertaining and enlightening. Her writing feels spontaneous but also very conscious of what it is about and wants to express, a clarity all the more remarkable as English is not her native tongue. Perhaps that is why there is a freshness to it. Some of her most powerful and lyrical images reflect her past and present connection to the sea, as if she is most comfortable revealing herself through its moods and creatures, work and play-enticed by its waves and journeys and horizons but also simple strolls along its shores.

Ina offers poetry as an ally, not something to suffer through but a friend to rely on, like the `Lighthouse’ that…

`…shines its light in endless beams
to safety from the tempest sea
and when a storm
torments the shore or a mist comes up
it is your guide
for needed shelter.’

‘Veritas’, though specific to Ina’s exterior and interior perceptions and experiences, has much to say and sing to the hearts and minds, tears and smiles of others. I thoroughly recommend it, for reading through once and twice and more, and certainly for keeping nearby for opening to any page any time.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

5-Stars. New Day, New Dreams by Lauren Scott

Poetry Anthology
November 27, 2013

Highly recommended to touch your heart, move your spirit, and make you cry and smile

New Day, New DreamsLauren Scott is a talented poet who explores her observations, thoughts, emotions, sensuality and spirituality in a variety of forms and through beautiful word play, deep feeling, wit and even playfulness. She offers poetry from her moments and memories; its subjects range from her love for her parents, sisters, husband, children and beloved dog, to reflections on rainy days and Mondays, sunrises, aging, walking through nature and along beaches, and even coffee–and that doesn’t begin to cover it all! This is a collection of verse that is grateful, optimistic, romantic, nostalgic, inspirational, motivational and amusing, by a poet who writes from the heart and a sense of what is truly important in life. I have followed Lauren’s blog for some time now and this special book just confirms my suspicions: she is always writing poems and although ‘Inspiration has its own timing/and it’s not always perfectly aligning’, she rarely lets her muse slip away unexploited.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

5-Stars. Silence Happens by Martin Shone

Poetry Anthology
December 4, 2013
A Beautiful Book of Quiet Poetry

Silence HappensThe “little thoughts of life, nature, peace, freedom and love” in this collection are like whispers in the ear, not from any human source but from the sensory and spiritual rhythms of nature and the Universe. The title is perfect, for this is as close as words can be to silence, happening as they will, without any intellectualizing or reaching for meaning. This is a miniature book of Zen that anyone can practice just by reading it through or opening it randomly to be calmed, connected to the intuition, and reminded that beauty, peace and love are always available. It offers a place in which to be safe and encouraged. The reflections in this book are hypnotic—even as one reads, like closing the eyes and breathing in their promptings to observe, experience, imagine and believe.

Martin Shone is a poet who knows that …
“Poetry doesn’t have to be words
Poetry can be your dreams
your memories
your future
Poetry lives within your soul
Poetry is you”
Silence Happens is a lovely book to give yourself, or anyone else, and treasure for its spontaneity, simplicity, sublimity and, not least, the quietness of its poetry.

5-Stars. Amor by Ina Scroders-Zeeders

Poetry Anthology
January 25, 2014
Leaves the Reader Breathless and Breathing

Amor‘Amor’, a wandering progression of instinctively crafted poetry by Ina Schroders-Zeeders, is an intensely personal yet unselfconscious and certainly unashamed story of the author’s experience in love, creating a collection that is entertaining, imaginative, thought-provoking and full of visual and sensual detail. Exploring the questions of love and not really looking for answers, it hardly matters whether the 227 poems are about many different loves or kinds of love or many aspects of a few. Either way they seduce the reader into their immediacy and honesty with an almost hypnotic effect, blending one into another: words, sentences, paragraphs and chapters of waiting and hoping, looking and finding, coming and going, regret and remembrance.

As anyone who has followed Ina’s poetry through her blog knows, she is a prolific and eclectic writer. Her stories and reflections pour out of her ceaselessly, without any sense of urgency or pretension, as if she breathes them onto the page. I feel Ina would be a storyteller even if she wasn’t a writer – like the bards of old, she has a most natural need to `speak’ about her environment, encounters, travels, observations, emotions and memories just for the sake of sharing and encouraging others to do the same. Yet, it is obvious she is a seasoned poet: deliberate and skilled in her use of form and formlessness, knowing what works and doesn’t but never afraid to veer off the beaten path and try something new. As in life, so in art. She doesn’t let either pass by without making the most of what they have to offer for her own satisfaction and, happily, for that of her readers, too.

As in Ina’s first poetry book, ‘Veritas’, the poetry in ‘Amor’ is all the more remarkable because English is not her native language. And, once again, her kinship with the sea is evident. Even when it is not specifically mentioned, its movement, vastness and unpredictability are present in mood and outlook; these poems lapping at the shore, backwards and forwards, clinging and letting go, with low tides and high tides, winds blowing and everything stilled, the horizon seen but never completely defined.

This is a beautiful book, in its content and production. It tells a story that is circular rather than linear – well, many circles interconnecting like a chain-link, representing the cycles of beginnings and endings within the cycle of loving and living – that leaves the reader breathless yet still breathing and so wanting more.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions


5-Stars. Beyond the Threshold by Francina Hartstra

Poetry Anthology
July 13, 2014
A Journey away from a most beloved place.

Beyond the ThresholdThere is sublime silence in the poetry of Francina Hartstra. At the same time, there is much to hear in her concise clear flow of words, which reflect her fondness for Japanese and Chinese poetry with its subtle rhythms, delicate expression and appreciation for what is left ‘unsaid’. As in one of her Haiku’s, her poetry is like the snail’s shell left behind, almost magical evidence that she was there and moved on. Beyond the Threshold is a journey away from a most beloved place, guided by the moon and stars, moved by time and timelessness, nostalgic and yet not encumbered by looking back—secrets shared without revealing them in whispered memories of very personal joys and tears. This poetry is very Zen, offering wisdom that knows enough to question all it answers. There is a tenderness in it and, yet, intensity, too; like a stream moving gently but vigorously on towards a river that will not be its final destination.

I have embarked on Francina’s quietly engaging travels again and again, and whole-heartedly recommend others do the same. This is a lovely poetry anthology that should be widely experienced and treasured.
Available in print edition

5-Stars. Finding a Balance by Lauren Scott

Poetry Anthology
March 23, 2015
A Perfect Balance of Moments, Memories, Uncertainty and Hope

Finding a BalanceLauren Scott writes with a generous heart, sensuous spirit, probing sensitivity, natural stride, and spiritual stillness. Her second poetry anthology, Finding a Balance, is as inspired, sincere and enriching as her first, New Day, New Dreams. It offers another beautiful compilation of her personal reflections on life’s joys and challenges and love’s many facets, but this collection admits vulnerability, as if it has emerged from a deeper and sadder perspective. Not surprising when a personal difficulty has tested Lauren’s persuasive optimism, pragmatism (“I’m not one to dwell/on the impossible”), and unapologetic faith; her moments and memories introspective and questioning; her moving forward more keenly aware of alternate routes.

Yet, her journey remains hopeful. (“I believe highlights of/optimism would be an/appealing change/Then I’ll start to pave/a new path and/be on my way.”) There are smiles in these pages. Blessings are never discounted in the face of adversity. There is the comfort of loving and being loved to overcome disappointment and fear of loss. The strength of Lauren’s poetry is in its necessity in her life, its romantic expression, its healing composure, and its enthusiasm for the magic and meter of words and the perfect balance between what they disclose and leave unrevealed.

“… what lies beneath/could tangle one’s feet/but sometimes choice/isn’t an option/and your toes get sucked in/before realization pays you a visit/and you struggle beyond words/to keep your head above water/trying to protect what’s in your heart/what truly matters.”
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions


5-Stars. Roads 1 by Ina Schroders-Zeeders

Poetry Anthology
June 30, 2015

Prolific and Personal Poetic Revelations

Roads_Flat-for-eBooks-395x615Ina Schroders-Zeeders’ poetry style is prolific and personal. Her third book in English, Roads 1, is about her encounters along—to quote the blurb on the back of the book—the “slippery, steep, narrow, and dark” way of love, predominantly influenced by its beginnings and endings. There’s an ease, often audaciousness, with which she reveals the heights and depths that relationships have taken her to. This volume is bountiful, offering just over three hundred poems—often more than one on a page, which distracted me from lingering on them individually and visually as I like to, a least through my first reading.

Ina is always as intimately aware of her surroundings as she is of any lover, personifying the claustrophobia of a room and the limitlessness of the sea, a table, curtains, whatever is part of ‘the story’ of the moment. There is a simple intricacy to her poetic voice, remarkably in a language that is not native to her. The last poem in this volume entitled “Pilgrimage” is an apt finish to a journey of meandering, almost crashing, getting lost and continuing on—a sense that in her life and her poetry, Ina has much more to explore yet.
Available in Paperback and Kindle Editions

5-Stars. Being Human by Martin Shone

Poetry Anthology
July 3, 2015

Beautiful Reflections Like Acorns

Being HumanBeing Human is Martin Shone’s second volume of Little Thoughts of Life, Nature, Peace, Freedom & Love, and is as unassuming and reassuring as the first. Each reflection feels breathed upon the page and caresses the spirit as silently as “the song of the butterfly until you listen”. Like Silence Happens, Being Human uses brevity, the clarity rather than complication of words, and is not for analyzing or considered comprehension, but, instead, exhales “the beauty of life” and creates “poetry through smiling” for the reader to inhale and rise above life’s frustrations and challenges. Perfect for keeping by the bed, to open randomly last thing at night or first thing in the morning. “Books are companions, teachers, magicians, bankers of the treasures of the mind. Books are humanity in print.” (quote from 20th century American historian and author, Barbara Tuchman) There is no doubt that Martin offers such a sublime companion to stay in touch with, open up to, and join in its connectedness to the natural world, and rhythms of believing. The beautiful cover image of an acorn, which Martin photographed himself, is a perfect representation of Being Human as a whole and, especially, its ‘last’ words: “As it all happens, so it all begins.”
Available in Paperback



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  1. Pingback: New and Recent Reviews for Others | bardessdmdenton - prose, poetry and painting

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