BY INSPIRATION by Vanelder Robinson  Nichols


"Poetry Et Cetera"
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Nichols’ debut collection of poetry, prose, and artwork takes scenic back roads as it celebrates God and family.

The author’s compilation is a tribute to her family in the American South; it begins by comparing her life to a journey: “Departure began at birth on March 15, 1948 on Jack Craig’s Place in a little shack, surrounded by a cotton field, located across the pass at the end of a little dusty road.” Divided into nine sections, with themes such as “Seasons and Change” and “Love Notes,” Nichols’ expressive poetry—some free verse and some rhyming—is deeply respectful of family. For example, the narrator in “Nubian Knots” shows her love for her African ancestors in her hairstyle: “I wear the Nubian Knots as an / Expression of my kindred spirit / To the Mother Land / Sojourned via my heritage.” The poet’s simple, heartfelt verse highlights strong characters; for example, in “Mama,” a midwife helps a loving mother endure childbirth. However, Jesus plays the most prominent role in these poems. “There Is Power in the Blood” effectively echoes the words and rhythm of an old gospel song: “With His blood, He washed away every sin.” Later, readers are invited to accept Christ as their savior in “A Chance of a Life Time,” which concludes with Bible verses and enthusiastic, sermonlike prose. Much of Nichols’ writing style is informal and familiar—“This Day I’ll Marry My Best Friend” could be a wedding toast—and it will resonate with readers from close-knit families. The book also includes nearly 100 color reproductions of the author’s eye-catching art. The memorable images tell many stories on their own, displaying a wide range of styles—from the energetic lines of ink and watercolor on paper in “Everybody Jammin” to the bold colors of acrylic on canvas in “Feminine Side” to the ethereal oil paint of “Trees II.” The acrylic painting “Not By Bread Alone” portrays the heavy emotions accompanying a diagnosis of breast cancer with deep orange hues.

A vibrant, sentimental journey for fans of Christian verse.

Pub Date: Nov. 3rd, 2017
ISBN: 978-1-973602-36-1
Page count: 126pp
Publisher: Westbow Press
Program: Kirkus Indie
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2018


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