Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Book Review of T. Byron Kelly's "Poems"

T. Byron Kelly, Poems (Createspace, 2018) 119 pages, poetry, $9.00 USD. On Amazon.

To be honest, there's only so much religious poetry I can take, regardless of which faith. So if that's not your thing, Kelly isn't for you. Another annoying factor is that each poem is dated and often has multiple dates to point to revisions. While that is a valuable tool for a poet's personal manuscripts, it interrupts the flow when transferred to the published book.

But he can turn beautiful, evocative phrases. Kelly's poetry reads like impressionist paintings. For example:

I began by noticing your blue wish day and each black
or white faced cloud seemingly spoke with that other radiant
loving of the air. Transgressing doubt, a music that fills 
my evenings with gentle prayer, this consecration of your endless
gift, orange and gold leaves are lifted and the daydream
continues. How could I forget or be frightened where this
chance began our quiet walk together (though at first I
wanted to run). Dry grass insists it's Winter and the strangely
blithe gestures of women walking alone or perhaps lost
in their rush hour car seats. The completed reaches eternally 
toward the turning soul, where weakness had born belief of nothing,
an insanity of otherness, crashing against our desire for forever.

Where the poems avoid the trap of overt religiosity and devotion, there they are closest to the song of spiritual. There they invite you to dive in and give yourself over to this other-world of Kelly's imagination. There they are true poetry.

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