A Poetic Spanking: Three Books in One
by Anthony Toomer
Archway Publishing

"When Jesus graced these grounds
He had plenty of things to do.
He had to save me,
And he had to save you."

Readers find verses of praise, exultation, advice, politics, race, and romance in this poetic triptych. Toomer's three-book compilation opens with Say His Name, a personal, spiritual journey that states that "the gate to destruction / Is wide and vast." Readers also learn how "A thank you is given for each day of peace and no sorrow" and how that simple act can make all the difference. Centering the work is the second book, Loving You. It reminds one that "Life without love / Is a woeful experience" and how "True love will have you singing too." The emotional Can You Feel Me Now? closes the trilogy. Here, readers enter a divisive America, where "Even God has tears in his eyes." As violence and racism unfold, readers learn that "For as long as God / Continues to be left out / No healing shall come about." Nonetheless, the book's epilogue offers hope for a better tomorrow.

This collection's magic lies in its ability to capture current events and personal narratives in verse. By the book's end, the spirituality of the first installment and the physicality of the second fuse to form the third, where spirit, mind, and body meet. Poems like "Wait on the Lord" read like a conversation with an old friend. Other poems like "Our Crystal Ball" celebrate the beauty of a long romance, where the couple can only await the bliss that the future holds and remind readers of the importance of finding that special person. This compilation is great for poetry readers of all ages, especially those who love rhyme.

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