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BOOK REVIEW: A Special Power – My Poetic Observance of Life by Ron Black

| 28 November 2015 | Reply

BOOK REVIEW: A Special Power – My Poetic Observance of Life by Ron Black

Outskirts Press
October 2014
Paperback, USD $8.95
Reviewed by Steph O’Connell



A poem can be a particularly hard thing to review. Do you rate it on the style used, on the thoughts expressed, or on how it makes you feel?
And how, exactly, does one even begin to review a collection of thirty-eight poems?
Perhaps the most fair way is to rate each poem individually in order to gain better perspective.

The poems in this book deal with birth, life, and death. With friendships, adventures, and dreams. At times rather serious, and at others almost too silly, this is a difficult collection to rate. Adding to this difficulty is the fact that a lot of these poems are directed at specific people in the author’s life, which can make it hard for a stranger to really relate or to understand all the nuances of the author’s relationship with the subject.

A common issue found throughout this book is that the rhyming, sometimes natural and well flowing:

The challenge is to ask myself, “Have I grown up alright?”
Am I someone that others like – intriguing and polite?
And do I measure up okay? Would you like to be my friend?
For after all we strive to gain acceptance in the end.

Drifts into the “so forced it’s laughable” zone, just a little too often, and completely kills the mood of the more serious poems:

We do belong together, like a hot dog fills its bun,
Like a bird needs every feather, and a flower loves the sun.

Two thirds or more of these poems are told with overly-forced rhyming, and suddenly, towards the end, the author throws in a few curve balls, following the ideas he is trying to express rather than making them fit into neat, rhyming lines.

A few of the poems ended too suddenly, without any kind of conclusion for the reader to see, others carried on too long, past the point of a tidy ending. There were issues with grammar, and occasional tense and point of view changes without reason, and there were really strangely ambiguous lines:

When you echoed you love me too, I came into my own.
Didn’t think you’d say yes to my proposal on the throne.

Which, once again, may have made more sense to the subject of the poem, but leaves the casual reader wondering if he proposed to her on the toilet, or if he had no better way to force the rhyme.

The best poems in this collection, according to this reader, were the ones where the author let his imagination run free, rather than writing to a specific subject, and unfortunately these were few and far between. I’d be interested to see what the author could do with short stories, or longer works of fiction.

Overall this was a mostly entertaining, quick read with some nice messages throughout, though it would mean more to those who know the author personally, and would have been a better read without all the forced rhyming.

Category: Book Reviews, Other Reviews

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