Genuflecting Through the Night
As I read the work by Renee Smith, I felt a kinship with
her. She is a fellow poet trying to share her work with the world. I do not want to degrade fellow authors trying to make
it in a difficult and competitive field. I wish, however, Renee had taken more time with her work and developed it further.
Within her poetic work, I do see glimpses of potential.
One of my favorite poems in the book is Avian. It is reminiscent of Edgar Allen Poe’s Raven and Steven Wallace's avian
poetry. Instead of “Nevermore” we find the repetition of the line, “Peace My Friend.” The reader will
also find a menagerie of birds from the small robin that stood up to the blackbird and a nightingale who rescues herself.
You can learn more about Wallace Stevens and Edgar Allen
Poe by visiting The Academy of American Poets at www.poets.org. On the website, you will find an autobiographies of the poets and
a link to one of my favorite poems by Wallace, “Thirteen
Ways of Looking at a Blackbird” at: http://www.poets.org/viewmedia.php/prmMID/15746 .
As I stated many poems seem to have little gems you can
latch on to, but Ms. Smith filled her poetry with tired clichés that obscure the imagery. A paring down and yellow highlighter
could have helped these poems breathe new vision. I do not know if Ms. Smith submitted any of these poems
for peer review to a critique group, but doing so would have helped her tighten the poems.
I do not want to discourage a fellow writer. I want to encourage
her to continue in her quest of poetry. With this desire in mind, I point to these resources for all poets to follow in their
quest to hone their poetic skills. The best resource is free and you can find it on the Internet: The Academy American Poets,
http://www.poets.org. This website includes biographies and poems by the greats including
John Keats, Walt Whitman, and Langston Hughes. The site also includes an in-depth FAQ on writing and publishing. Additionally,
the site has an extensive bibliography of other online resources for poets.
Smith needs to refine her craft, but
writers need to support writers. I recommend this book to beginning poets and experienced poets a like. I also welcome anyone’s
comments about this review. If you are a poet, never stop with the first draft. Look for ways to improve your vision and imagery.
In conclusion, I give this poetry book an average rating.