Passion, Desire  & Contemplation  by James T. DeShay

Passion, Desire & Contemplation

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DeShay (Thoughts, Love & Reflection, 2012) returns with another volume of love poetry.

As implied by the title, these are poems of yearning and anticipation, written from the male perspective and concerned with the overpowering effects of love and desire. Poem after poem attempts to express the infatuation and commitment a man feels toward the woman he loves, to match words to actions and actions to emotions. A representative poem begins: “There are times when my imagination consumes / my thoughts and takes me to a very pleasant place; / then there’s where your image transports me with / just a single glance.” The verses also show the other half of the coin as well: DeShay explores at length the complex interactions between men and women, face to face and within society, including ruminations on such unexpected topics as incarceration and voting. Scattered throughout the collection are stock photographs of couples posed romantically along with a few of less optimistic subjects (a pair of hands clutching prison bars, for example). The author also includes, at the bottom of every poem, a speech bubble to invite readers to send their reactions to his work to an email address he provides. The poems are free verse in complete sentences, giving them the appealing quality of dense, miniature essays. Unfortunately, the author generally keeps his language abstract and inexact, rarely allowing readers to hold onto a specific image or physical detail. The resulting verses feel stilted and at odds with the deep emotions they try to express: “You are the focus of my love and my existence / of my direction. I no longer wish to walk alone / but with you by my side. The journey will now / be filled with the purest form of love.” When poems reiterate such familiar ideas outside of a more intimate, immediate context, readers may feel a bit bored. DeShay succeeds in establishing a thoughtful, reflective voice, but it may often fail to hold readers’ interest.

A collection of love poems that never catches fire.

Pub Date: May 19th, 2015
Page count: 160pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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