Soul Might Make It Right by Wendy Ann Warren

Soul Might Make It Right

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KIRKUS REVIEW

This unpretentious collection of poetry is well-intentioned but fails to rise above its amateurish form and dubious worldview.

In her verse, Warren takes on big themes (e.g., failing marriage and religion) and more mundane topics (a driver making an illegal turn). She writes almost exclusively in rhyming quatrains; the first and second lines of each stanza rhyme, as do the third and fourth. For the first few pages, this scheme gives the poetry a sense of youthful breeziness; the poet revisits her childhood, when she sang about angels and birds and the drip of a faucet. But after 200 pages, the repetitive sing-song begins to grate, and the reader yearns for just a few lines of free verse. The rigid adherence to this rudimentary form forces her to come up with hundreds of rhymes, which proves here to be impossible. Forced into poetic corners, Warren fights her way out with invented words (chafely, wang, physiche foo, conditionair) and tortured inversions (“God surely would never kill you in the end / For even His ear does your sweet song bend”). This last line also communicates the volume’s underlying theology: God is watching out for all of us, and faith in Him will see us through; or, simply: “soul might make it right.” But while Warren is enthusiastic about the healing potential of her religious beliefs, she can be startlingly parochial when addressing other traditions. In Taliban in USA,” she says of Muslim “men of prayer” with “dark skin”: “Open minds are not found in this group / To say the least it’s always negative poop.” Leaving aside such ridiculously juvenile scatology, Warren’s limited generalizations about Islamic practice are at the very least disappointing. Another poem that takes on religious imagery–“Marriage Concentration”–is downright repugnant, beginning: “I know how you felt, you Jew / Inside a concentration camp or two / For I am with similar jail walls / A marriage, a dictator; I hope soon falls.” To compare a broken marriage to a Buchenwald or an Auschwitz is simply reprehensible.

Simplistic, insensitive doggerel.

 

 

Pub Date: Dec. 26th, 2007
ISBN: 978-1-4257-6150-9
Page count: 198pp
Program: Kirkus Indie
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