Rum & Remembrance by Andira Dodge- A Poetry Collection Review

Pretty Poetry

Literary snobbery is just hooey- Andira Dodge

That particular sentence from this talented poet says quite a bit in a mere five words.

But that just seems to be a poetic talent. I, your humble reviewer, can do some competent writing, too. I will soon complete this review and I've written several before it. I've written several novels, too. To be honest, I have written a lot of things. But I just can't seem to write poetry.

I have tried. I have sat down in front of poetry I found admirable and tried to copy the pitch, the timbre, the rhythm, the flavor of it. The results were almost funny but mostly ridiculous. Thus, I have tremendous respect for those with the knack.

Tell me anything you want

I will listen to stories, stats, swearing

Anything but stillness

Tell me truths or lies or wishes

I just want to hear your voice

I liken it to being able to sing. Just about anyone could learn to play a musical instrument, but fewer can truly sing. Some people can do both and we call them amazing. We also call them filthy rich.

I have not heard Andira Dodge sing, but she indicates she does so, so I must say that makes her amazing. I have not heard her singing but I have read her poetry, and I know that it is amazing. This is why I was so glad to get a copy of her first release, Rum & Remembrance.

Laced with experience,

armed with knowledge

The pen does its job, washing away the bitter

The words taste like rum.

For those of you out there with a love for poetry, you simply owe it to yourself to read this collection.

I have found I like the way our poet 'justifies' the poems, meaning some are justified right, some left and some center, offering the eye an overall appeal and scene regular prose won't allow. Poetry opens the doors to so much creativity while leaving the rule book behind; what a wondrous way to begin any day.

gossamer threads cascading through the twilight forest canopy

a hush permeates the mist

soft footfalls on the mossy bank

leading to the swiftly moving stream

While I have made it clear your reviewer has not the talent for poetry, please allow for my peppering of this review with snippets from Rum & Remembrance. In italics, I have placed some examples I've found intriguing. I found this such a good idea, as this collection runs the gamut along the emotional spectrum, with lines telling of passion, compassion, sadness, life, impatience, love, curiosity, and some lovely, subtle complicated feelings, too. After all, this is poetic.

so we plodded along with our messy frolic

both happy to be stupid and risky and sated and rich

like betting board-game money except this was real

and we had dared and won

Reading lines like these touch the soul without seeming to intend to go down that way, or do they? Another glorious aspect of good poetry is that it seems so effortless, like the grace of a figure skater. Good, effective poetry reaches to the reader with a quintessential apogee of quality language rarely found in prose. In fact, if poetic prose runs unchecked, the reader finds eighteen pages describing the furniture in the room. Thus, poetry brings us volumes of emotional content in a tiny yet ornate package. The better poets shine; Andira Dodge truly glimmers.

To offer yet more support for good poetry, one has to recognize how utterly free in expression it can be. Not to seem lurid, but it has been compared to pornography, at least in terms of definition. Some have said that, while pornography is difficult to define, you know it when you see it. The same goes for quality poetry. Sitting down to write a logical definition of poetry would be daunting, but recognizing it requires no effort. Further, reading good poetry allays the urge to force. Therefore, the charm.

Overall, I cannot recommend this collection of poetry enough. Those who know of Andira and her gracious poetry waited anxiously for this collection to arise. To those who did so, your wait is over and your patience has been so well rewarded. While above I have offered subtle samples of a few poems, here, allow me to offer one short poem as a hint of the power of language. The name of the poem is, soothe me.

smooth my rough edges

when the day has gone to hell

give me some sweet words

if you could just soothe me

my rough edges need tending

just some soft words

my frayed ends need mending

If this truly lovely poem does not prompt your firm decision to seek this collection, what would is the most mysterious thing of all.

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