Animated Stills: Poetic Pareidolia
by Thomas G. Reischel

"When lively lily brightly shines
Giving a mellow yellow tone,
Amongst its leaves it deftly climbs."

This new collection by Reischel combines his love for photography matched with his love for poetry and the poetic form. Each of the seventy-five selections features an original photograph, primarily taken in nature, paired with a poem inspired by the picture. In addition, each selection comes with a detailed author’s note and explanation of the written style. The book is divided into thirteen distinct chapters, each with a unique theme and well-selected poems that fit that theme. Typical of the author, the work includes a thorough introduction and a detailed glossary of the poetic formats. The formats vary greatly, and the diverse chapter topics allow almost any reader to find something of interest.

This is Reischel’s most innovative and inspired collection to date. The creativity of the photographs and their corresponding poems is compelling; readers will delight to see what the poet has done with the photograph. In many cases, the result is nothing less than inspired. A few of the standouts include “Best Foot,” “Old Man Winter,” “The Foxes and the Bishop,” and “Lively Lily.” In contrast, there are a few pieces, including “Wicked Willow” and “Natural Gender,” which, rather than feeling risqué, come off as rather juvenile. When presenting a poem such as “God’s Eye,” a villanelle, readers would benefit from the inclusion of an example of the form by an agreed-upon expert to illustrate the heights the form can achieve. However, the diversity and creativity of the poet are on full display in this work. The poet’s ability, photographic competence, and love of the varied forms come through fully and are aptly displayed for the reader.

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