A heartfelt debut collection of poetry and photography.
In an author’s note, Herold writes that after she heard the music of contemporary Christian songwriter David M. Bailey in church, she “found solace in reading his lyrics” and found herself “thinking in rhyme.” The result is this slim volume of 21 poems with accompanying photographs. The verses reflect the author’s responses to family life, loss, and the natural world and her place in it. They sometimes contain awkward word choices (“down my sodden face endless tears did roll”), but Herold’s sincerity still comes through, as when she explains in an author’s note, “My journey to understand and know God, and to know why I believe what I believe, began with my parents deaths.” She presents poems in varying styles, often free-form with copious ellipses; “One Will Stay, One Will Go,” however, ends with a grammatically casual touch that strains for rhyme and belies the serious subject: “my mom . . . she go, / her last breath, we did not know.” (Apparently inspired by e.e. cummings, Herold often eschews capital letters for her initial lines.) The collection shows flashes of humor and keen observation, as in “I Mowed The Lawn,” in which the narrator sees doves and a bunny, steps in poop and runs out of gas. A few poems addressed to birds particularly stand out: “Don’t Move,” is directed to a bluebird whose photo the narrator wants to take; “Stay Awhile” addresses a hawk (“tell me ’bout the skies”), and in “Free,” the narrator apparently tells a bird about a memory, “something i use to be. / free.” The collection’s vibrant photographs, rich with color, seem more sophisticated than the poems, which might have been enriched by musical accompaniment.
A readable but occasionally awkward set of starter poems.