Life Through My Glasses
by Herbert Siegel
Trafford Publishing

"Each age had its wise men
who had something to say
and bide their time to pen the words
that still come to life."

The playwright Tennessee Williams would sometimes start one of his works by writing a poem. He would then develop his verse into a short story and then finally transform it into a play. His reason for this procedure may have been that he understood that the truths he was trying to convey to his eventual audience could be encapsulated best for his own eyes through poetry. Like Williams' initial verse, Siegel's latest collection seeks, in his own words, to capture the truth that "lives eternally inside a poem."

Spanning over 60 years of output from 1950 to 2011, Siegel's book contains poetry written in various formats. He experiments with the Japanese haiku, senryu, and tanka and masterfully constructs a triptych with the title piece in the collection. The bulk of his work, though, is in the style of rhymed verse popularized by poets such as Edgar Guest. This approachable form enables Siegel to communicate his thoughts effectively without confusing the reader with an overly complicated structure.

Siegel's poems range from quirky humor to rants against society. True to the definition of a poet laureate, he is also unafraid to comment on current events and political figures in his verse. Yet like most accomplished poets he is a keen observer of the natural world and prone to introspection and philosophy. It is evident that some of the pieces in this collection were written merely to amuse the author and his readers, but a few such as "Pay Me No Mind" border on the sublime.

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