A seemingly endless book of nearly identical poems on romantic idealism.


From Bane, a debut collection of emotional love poems.

Over the course of more than 200 pages of poems, arranged alphabetically, the narrator professes enamored feelings for a beloved, expresses gratitude for the love they share, and details the ache of absence. These devotional love poems are written in first-person rhyming quatrains with a hypnotic, rhythmic quality. In an idyllic, magical landscape bordered by waves and home to rainbows and moonbeams, the beloved is compared to many forms: a star, an angel, a missing puzzle piece, a rose: “In the distance is the sunset, / Colored in pastels of red and blue. / This mystery on the horizon / Made me think of loving you.” This bubble of romantic enchantment is a world where dancing is encouraged, memories are always good, and a pot of gold is discovered in every kiss. The love felt by the narrator and the beloved is a fated and forever love. “Fate brought us together / When we never expected to be. / A kiss so tender on a blissful night— / The beginning of you and me,” begins the poem “Forever Us.” In this space, love conquers all and is the key to unlocking new blessings daily. Spirituality also plays a role, and God makes frequent appearances: “The treasure in every day / Is to cherish all that’s real: / The touch of God within us / And His blessings that we feel.” As familiar as this lovey-dovey language will be to anyone who has fallen hard for a seemingly perfect partner, the repetitive nature of the rhyming scheme and the constant recurrence of the same symbols (heaven’s door, rainbows, sunshine, dreams) grow tiresome. These are trite poems with little of the grit and sacrifice and scars inherent in love lived in reality. Excellent physical descriptions—“Your coat is woven with golden threads / From strands of angel’s hair,”—are the highlights of the collection.

A seemingly endless book of nearly identical poems on romantic idealism.

Pub Date: Jan. 3, 2018

ISBN: 978-1-5320-3646-0

Page Count: 248

Publisher: iUniverse

Review Posted Online: March 21, 2018

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Nicks is better when working rather than playing.

Tales From The Otherground


Get past Nicks’ self-conscious cleverness and you’ll find a poet of great depth and feeling.

The great British critic Christopher Ricks is famously unimpressed with William Butler Yeats. He suspects that Yeats’ verse is more “sonorous” than substantial—that his cleverness as a wordsmith hides the fact that his poetry is much less weighty than we might assume. The phrase in the subtitle of Nicks’ new volume—“the Wordrows of Elsewhen”—leads one to suspect that there is a similarly empty cleverness in this poet’s work, too. Yes, “Elsewhen” is a savvy-ish play on “elsewhere,” but one fears such play will get us nowhere fast. Some of Nicks’ verse suffers from the same flaw. The early piece “At My Age (under the yoke of over)” begins, “once upon a time and twice upon a place; / three times I’ve started over.” “[T]wice upon a place” is like “Elsewhen”: we get the joke, but we may not be laughing. Fortunately, Nicks often abandons these tricks for simple, moving evocations of real life. As one example, take “Things I’ve Learned Out Here”: “water is free / and drinking a lot of it / can help you feel less hungry // bread doesn’t really go bad; / it just gets a little stale and, at worst, a little moldy / and can be had for incredibly modest sums / just because it’s not fresh from the oven.” This isn’t poetry about play; it’s about work. Or more precisely, it’s poetry about need—a need one suspects the author himself has experienced. This need punches through the words and springs off the page, hitting the reader square. Another admirable, unpretentious piece, “Animals And Words,” opens, “i looked up, / the sun looked down; / a good day for a ride / but the traffic wasn’t mine / so i went back to work.”

Nicks is better when working rather than playing. 

Pub Date: Oct. 27, 2014

ISBN: 978-0-9831191-9-7

Page Count: 150

Publisher: Blue Jay Ink

Review Posted Online: Oct. 5, 2015

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A sweet, philosophical collection of poems about love in all its forms.


A wide-ranging collection of poems about love, extending from the personal to the spiritual and from the romantic to the platonic.

Benczik’s debut collection takes a broad look at love, beginning with wooing and flirtation and moving to romance, heartbreak, friendship, love for oneself and experiences with the divine. The characters in the romantic love poems are often left unnamed, creating the feeling of a universal experience to which readers can easily relate. Although Benczik writes about heartbreak and rejection, love in her poems is almost always a source of healing; the collection tells of new loves that “kissed the tears away” and the speaker’s quest for love in the wake of Hurricane Sandy and the 9/11 attacks. The longer narrative poems are tempered by shorter pieces that evoke a Dorothy Parker–esque sense of humor. In “Valentine’s Day,” she says simply, “A celebrated date / to osculate / your mate.” Her tongue-in-cheek wisecracks are evident throughout but so are a sense of genuine hopefulness and a desire to uplift and enlighten the reader. The poems frequently break into the second person with words of wisdom and comfort. “I want to give you this gift in case you were missing it like I was,” the narrator says after describing a long struggle to gain attention from others. “So now, let’s tell everybody the secret / You have God’s Full Attention, too.” Religion is a recurring theme, but as with the rest of the collection, the poems attempt to represent a broad range of experiences; Buddha appears in addition to Catholic saints, and an unspecified God makes multiple appearances. The poems often venture into rhyme but never adhere to a fixed form for long. Readers are left with the lingering sensation that this talented new author is not only exploring love, but her own poetic voice and range.

A sweet, philosophical collection of poems about love in all its forms.

Pub Date: Aug. 12, 2013

ISBN: 978-1-4525-7522-3

Page Count: 164

Publisher: BalboaPress

Review Posted Online: Feb. 12, 2014

Kirkus Reviews Issue: April 1, 2014

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