This debut collection of poems expresses “how faith creates the hope of eventually finding love.”
In a meandering prologue, Sandin recounts embarking on a demanding journey of self-awareness. It began with faith, which taught him truths about himself; continued with hope, which affirmed those verities; and ended with love, which he discovered is only known when shared. It is here that he also clarifies the somewhat perplexing title of the book with the expanded phrase “Faith Hopes (in a God Who is) Love.” The author’s poems in Section 1 evoke his personal odyssey—focusing on faith, hope, and love—while Section 2 supplies other general musings. These one-page verses are rooted in topics that are universally stirring and well-known, applying to a wide audience. Christian undertones are felt throughout the volume, with plenty of direct references to God as well. And to help readers get into the mind of the author, Sandin has included a helpful appendix providing short explanations of what inspired each poem. Many poems are refreshingly optimistic, like “In Want of Nothing”: “A stormy night cannot thwart peacefulness from prevailing…. / A laughter long silenced cannot restrain joy from returning.” Others deftly celebrate the affections of parents, teachers, and partners, as when he writes that a mother’s love is “More beautiful than a rose in full bloom. / More valuable than all the world’s wealth.” Unfortunately, the author’s heavy use of alliteration and rhyme often obscures the meaning of his poetry. This is most noticeable in “Poets’ Knowits” (“To craft the draft is to engraft the aft…. / To pen the Zen is to stupend the yen”). Another overused element is repetition. For example, the author’s first four poems feature one or two lines repeated multiple times with only slight word changes: “Brokenness, that I may know strength, / Failure, that I may know success, / Grief, that I may know recovery, / Injury, that I may know healing.” Varying the format of the poems would make them less rigid.
Uplifting verse that reflects a somewhat limited poetic toolbox.