The Silent Compass by Serene Martin

The Silent Compass

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In her second collection of poetry, Martin (The Butterfly That Returned, 2015) focuses her inspirational verse on the power of the human spirit.

These poems extol the value of emotion and instinct over thought and social conditioning, encouraging readers to “take heart and keep walking / Because the magic is always working.” Although moments of darkness and despair appear from time to time, the collection is largely upbeat, often zooming in on opportunities for joy and peace that readers might find in their daily lives. These themes are consistent throughout the book, but Martin varies her style from poem to poem. Some are closer to prose poetry, others read like short meditations or mantras, and still others conform to straightforward rhyme schemes. Despite its conciseness—it’s just under 50 pages long—the book offers an array of perspectives on Martin’s central concerns. These will be familiar to many readers as exhortations to move away from mainstream consumer culture and toward self-actualization, the well-worn territory of countless self-help and inspirational volumes. Readers new to those genres may find Martin’s poems genuinely inspiring. However, a more seasoned audience may find their content a bit stale. The rhyming couplets can be stilted, with such awkwardly metered lines as, “Listen to the knowing that came deeply etched in our very birth / That which all power holders often regard with mirth.” In these sections, the author’s stylistic choices sap the strength of her ideas. In others, however, Martin’s messages come through with force and clarity: “Life is wonderful when we aspire to have infinite patience to discover our / passions.” For readers looking to discover such passions, this earnest collection may become a valuable part of their ongoing spiritual growth.  

A sincere, sometimes-uplifting compilation, although it relies too much on clichés of inspirational writing.

Pub Date: Oct. 29th, 2015
Page count: 50pp
Publisher: Amazon Digital Services
Program: Kirkus Indie
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