POEMS FROM THE SHOEBOX by Nell Funderburk Wiser


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Simple reflections on life’s varied moments.

In her note to the reader, Wiser states that she has always felt the need to write the “occasional poem,” a fitting description for these gentle musings on pet deaths, the change of seasons, a trip to the doctor, grandchildren, etc. She also notes that these poems were not initially intended for publication and were only recently extracted from the shoebox that had been their home–many will be glad they made it to the printed page. While Wiser’s verse is far from provocative, or particularly artful, these lines are refreshingly devoid of artifice or pretension. Composed across decades of the poet’s life, the poems are grouped here under the headings “Musings,” “Youth,” “Family and Friends,” “Despair,” “Change,” “Love” and “Later Years”–a structure that underscores a recurrent theme explicitly spelled out in “A Dried Arrangement”: “Each stage of life is different. / With beauty all its own[.]” If there’s a consistent longing expressed in these short iambic lines, it’s for life’s ever-elusive balance between order and randomness, most compellingly explored in “Sisyphus on a Wire,” where the speaker hopes for a future punctuated with “sweet uncertainty.” Also particularly powerful is “Cave Fish,” a brief but evocative challenge to the reader to appreciate the five senses and the instinctual feeling of life, presented through the lens of a blind fish, who also has “[a] genetic kind of longing / For sparkling sunlight splashing[.]”

A pleasant collection.

Pub Date: Nov. 18th, 2005
ISBN: 0-595-37176-0
Program: Kirkus Indie
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