An Occasional Damage of Roses
by Jim Victor Anderson

"The one who dwells in the Self is real, and the one who dwells in the paradigm of the world is false."

A beautifully well-written series of poems, the author’s collection is full of comforting words and artful imagery. Anderson writes with a purity of heart and describes the journey of being human with great sympathy in each one of his poems. His poems are given meaningful and creative titles, such as “Passing through November” or “Old Man Lost Young.” Anderson states in his prologue that his poems strive to “discern between those perceptions the world has taught us and the emergence of a spiritual consciousness that knows its difference.” Indeed, his words act as a mirror to his readers, eliciting all kinds of emotions and remembrances that will be different for everyone. His poems, like all poems, are meant to be read slowly and privately, and he certainly succeeds in lending his reader an empathetic voice to find comfort in, even on the darkest of days.

Anderson shows a deep mastery of the English language, and his word choices are as eloquent as his syntax. Much of his poems are written without adhering to the norms of traditional grammar, and much like e.e. cummings, the author uses lowercase lettering and middle alignments. Deeply graceful, the poems are simple to read, yet they will be long-lasting in the mind of the reader. Anderson’s words are carefully and expertly chosen, much like a painter chooses his or her paint colors. Children and childhood are often the subjects of his poetry, eliciting in his reader the memories of innocence and play. Indeed, Anderson seems to be imploring us to live simply as we once did when we were young. Aging and dying are also prevalent subjects in his works, and within these poems, the reader will find a sense of melancholy and nostalgia.

Structure, form, syntax, and figurative language are all carefully employed throughout this book of poetry. One particularly stand-out poem is “Can’t Find,” This is a concrete poem about Christmas, carefully written in the shape of a Christmas tree. Here, the reader can witness the arrangement of linguistic elements, which brilliantly convey the meaning of the poem. Anderson takes everyday ordinary events like eating lunch and gives the actions sumptuous imagery. “Lunch with Joe” does just this as he writes, “At lunch today we mostly talked about our fathers, mom was tossed in too amongst the salad….” “Eulogy” is another example of the author’s ability to create vibrant imagery with only a few simple words. “He looks just ducky lying in his 1940’s double-breasted suit and wingtip shoes….” The rest of the poem is equally darkly comedic. In fact, all of Anderson’s poems give his reader a tiny peek into the author himself.

In his book, Anderson uses vivid language that provokes deep thought and human connection. The author is masterful at expressing emotion through his words, and readers will see a small part of themselves in each one of his poems. As the acclaimed poet Carl Sandburg wrote, “Poetry is an echo asking a shadow dancer to be a partner.” Anderson’s eloquent book of poems seems to do just that. Fans of poetry are sure to read this book over and over again.

RECOMMENDED by the US Review

Return to USR Home