Book of True Life Poems
by Dave Courtney-Shore
Authors Press

"And whilst I am a Survivor
They are Warriors"

This poetry collection ebbs and flows between life's cycles and experience's lessons. Readers travel through four sections: "The Journey of Life," "Life's Pitfalls," "Disasters," and "Life's Hopes." In each section, readers encounter familiar and unfamiliar paths that lead through childhood's fun times, adolescence's struggles, and adult life's labyrinth of complexities. While the poems primarily focus on life's ups and downs, poems discussing other issues challenging the world, such as inequality and climate change, receive a bit of the versified spotlight.

The book's first section opens with "Birth—A New Beginning." This poem celebrates the "overwhelming, miraculous, stupendous" moment when a child enters the world. In the same section, readers encounter "Children of Destiny." This poem celebrates the often unseen and overlooked strength and resilience children possess that, if adults allowed them to, hold the power to transform and inspire older generations. In the spirit of Thomas Hood's "I Remember, I Remember," these poems cast a bright light that provides an exciting opening for readers. The collection's second section takes a more ominous turn. Pieces like "When Dark Descends" address the overwhelming weight that hopelessness places upon the bearer. Similarly, the poem "Dealing with A Problem" poses solutions for handling conflict and adversity and offers hopeful solutions for seemingly impossible circumstances.

The third section guides readers through a multitude of ecological disasters. What makes this section a powerful one is its potential duality. Some readers may interpret the poems literally and as poetic commentary about climate change and the consequences of humanity's neglect and abuse of the natural world. Other readers, however, may approach this section more metaphorically, seeing the poems' natural imagery as symbolic and representative of the storms and disruptions permeating life. For example, readers can interpret "An Earthquake" as simply a portrayal of an earthquake or as a symbol of a destructive, life-changing event: "The rumble grows louder and becomes a grumble." Furthermore, the turbulent imagery in "Monsoon" echoes life's unpredictability: "Like the rising moon / They form and grow in force." Thus, poems based on personal experience such as "A Tsunami" reinforce that duality.

Despite the brunt force of "Disasters," which at times may leave readers wondering if humanity's mishaps can ever be corrected, readers eventually find themselves on the rhyming shores of "Life's Hopes." This final section houses poems like "Fulfilling Destiny," which reinforces the concept of personal pursuit and the contentment that comes with fulfilling one's purpose: "I will walk from the past / and do that which I should have done." Other poems like "Let's Travel the World," which boldly states "Before it dies before our eyes," encourage readers to seize their moments while addressing climate change's ever-looming threat.

A careful balancing act of life's positives and negatives, this collection bears the contemporary meditative and reflective spirit of Saundra T. Russell's Apocalyptic 2020. The collection's relevancy makes it a powerful read, especially for newcomers to the poetry genre. Other readers will appreciate its focus on personhood. Those seeking an inspirational poetry collection for everyday reading will find that in this book's colorful pages.

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