17 Sep 2015



BACK COVER BLURB: What would life be like if you knew you were an immortal spiritual being?

'It is my viewpoint that each man has his own unique magnificence regardless of race, religion, nation, tribe, station in life, customs and beliefs ....,' so writes poet, Louis Alan Swartz.

Constructed of Magic and Other Poems on the Immortality of the Human Spirit is a refreshing collection of poems that explore the beauty of who we are as spiritual beings. Our ability to love, dream create futures, even die with dignity are all part of who we are and why we are here. These poems don't pretend to give final answers to any of the big questions about life, but they do help us to look and come to our own understanding.

We invite you to discover the magic in these poems that are infused with a terrific appreciation of humankind. As Swartz concludes in his introduction 'If by reading them, one individual is able to get an inkling of the actual length and breadth of his ability to do good, my purpose in writing them will be achieved.'

FIRST VERSE, FIRST POEM {Death: Some Things I Want to Show You}: 
A lovely man died yesterday.
He was at his piano
Working in his usual way.

MEMORABLE MOMENT {'Children', page 75: 'Sprite': Verse 3}: 
Mysterious child,
Gracious and light,
I watch you alight
With a fairy's grace
You step from the night

SOURCE: Received from Lisa at Hugo House Publishers. A copy of the book can be obtained here.

MY THOUGHTS: Whilst not a big reader of poetry given the right poem(s) I can (and do) find myself left feeling reflective in a way that no other genre leaves me.

Divided into several different 'subject matters' - 'Death, 'Grandmothers', 'Spirits', 'Love and Marriage', 'Children', 'America', 'Sanctity', 'Angels and Monsters', 'Aesthetics', 'Immortality' and 'Hope' - there was plenty of scope for reflection but did this collection of poems hit the mark?

Yes and no.

I struggled a bit with the style but then that probably says more about me than the author. After all the style that suits one reader isn't necessarily going to suit the next.

I did find several of the poems reflective. Particularly enjoying those devoted to 'Grandmothers' and especially that entitled 'By the River with Grandma at Dusk' the first verse of which tells of a group of children sitting with their Grandma who was telling them of stories about the 'creature world, saints, old stories of when gods walked the earth among us' as dusk approached.

Not so keen on the selection entitled 'America' but, finding them largely patriotic, that once again says as much about me as a Brit as it does about the author.

What I didn't like about the book were the use of footnotes. Having what the author meant by his use of terms such as 'spirit', 'immortality' etc was fine as it was done in a chapter headed 'definitions' at the beginning of the book but I really struggled with the occasional use of footnotes at the end of some of the poems finding them somehow intrusive.

All in all, a collection of poems about subjects obviously close to the authors heart which shines through in his every word.


Gina R said...

Glad to hear it read well for you but alas, not my cup of tea. Thanks for the share!

Brandi Kosiner said...

The reflective poetry sounds great

Brian Joseph said...

This sounds interesting.

With that, the use of footnotes and definitions in a poetry collection seem like it might actually defeat some of the purpose of poetry. I believe that some things should be ambiguous.

Kelly said...

This is one I probably won't seek out, but honestly wouldn't know if I wanted it unless I picked it up and browsed through it. Poetry (IMO) is a very personal thing and I sometimes struggle with it. That said, there are certain poets I enjoy and have some favorites.

Mary (Bookfan) said...

I confess I haven't read much poetry since college. It's such a personal thing that sometimes I'm left wondering if I got the author's point - leaving me feeling ambivalent.

Literary Feline said...

I always feel a bit intimidated by poetry, afraid I will miss something. I try to challenge myself now and then though by reading a collection. I agree with you in your comment about the right poems leaving you with a feeling of reflection. I find that too. This sounds like an interesting mix.

Sherry Ellis said...

It sounds like a collection of poetry to make you ponder deep things.

Anonymous said...

I don't think I have read any poetry since school .....

Suko said...

I like the idea that these poems are infused with an appreciation of humankind.Thank you for your honest review, Tracy. (Footnotes can be annoying at times--they seem like a burden.)

Yvonne@fiction-books said...

Hi Tracy,

Poetry is not something I could simply sit down and read, although I do enjoy browsing poetry books from time to time and perhaps reading just one or two random poems.

Does that mean that I don't reflect deeply enough on the true meaning behind the words ... possibly, but that's the only way I can handle it :)


Anonymous said...

Hello Tracy,
Perhaps I would appreciate this collection.
But I think that the footnotes would put me off too.
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Stephanie@Fairday's Blog said...

I haven't read a collection of poetry in a long time. Like you, it does make me very reflective. Sounds like there are a variety of themes to make me stop and think. Great review!

Alexia561 said...

Not a big fan of poetry, but do like some every now and again. I think the footnotes would put me off too, as the poems should stand on their own. Thanks for another honest review!