Review of Ghosts in the Reflection
Letters to Erin
By James F, Miller II
This is with thanks to Ms Isabelle Kenyon for getting in touch with me via my blog to invite me to join this blog tour. It gives me great pleasure to present this poetry book that has contemporary themes reflecting on today’s society and then going onto a second part about relationships and love.
In our current political and social climate, much-loved poet Jim Miller and his
frank observations of a downtrodden society, seem both relevant and important
for conversations regarding social reform. In this collection, it is the bonds of
love, even through troubled waters, which are offered as solutions to a society
currently shying away from a duty of care for one another.
“May the lord have mercy upon each of our misled souls.”- the words of poet Jim Miller,
presenting the heart of his new collection. Divided into three sections, Miller is
unafraid to delve into our current political and social climate in all its flaws,
passionate love in all its ups and downs and presents an ode to hope for our
future children, that they will learn from our mistakes.
Firstly, it is absolutely worth reading the author’s letter at the start of this eerily, atmospheric covered book. It gives some vital information which eases the understanding of how the book is presented. Its content is also interesting. Read the dedication before-hand. It is a bit different in that it is dedicated to its readers, but in an empathetic manner. There are then a couple of poems attached to this and then the book really gets going with as series of poems under the main heading of Ghosts in the Reflection and then moving on to Letters to Erin and concluding with A Lesser Man.
Ghosts in the Reflection are poems that show the decline in morals and society. They are moving and emotional and sometimes anger is also shown. They are raw and yet there’s something beautiful about the way they are written. They are powerful and bring strong images throughout them. The poems capture a time, a story observed very well. This poetry isn’t dull or boring, this is contemporary and has a great rhythm. It is relevant for readers today. Poetry, I am well aware, can be so easily dismissed. This isn’t a book to be dismissed so easily. This poetry is accessible. There’s nothing complicated about it and it is easy to follow. The poetry may be relatable to some readers, some may feel empathy or sympathy towards certain poems as the voices appear to be believable. The world has been well-observed by Jim Miller and through these poems are his findings of the state of the world we live in today.
The poem called The Screams Unheard is sensational in its use of words and imagery and emotion that builds and builds. It is of sadness and a woman who is now broken. The anger that turns into rage is immense, even with the everyday things such as brushing her hair, yet she is unheard.
The title of Recreating that Belly Flop from Grace the Other Day While Showing off Poolside made me smile, almost laugh even, a bit of levity. The poem itself is a sad one about love or rather a so-called love. It is unflinchingly written. Every word has a purpose. It has a bit of a twist at the end. It is cleverly written.
There are poems like those mentioned above that are a few pages long, but then there are some that are short and barely a page in length, but still have gravitas and are just as well and poignantly written, such as Sunshine, Daydream. It is beautiful and bright and full of love before twisting in the second stanza.
Daily Observations from a Sidewalk Cafe is indeed so well observed about the different behaviours of society. It highlights the kindness of people, but also what goes unnoticed, unappreciated and how wrapped up people can be to even praise someone, no matter how much hard work and effort a person shows or how much love exudes from a person. It’s thought-provoking about the attitudes that are within society today.
Dancing Blind Marionettes takes a more political turn about elections and the results of them and the impact in the end.
The political poems take readers on an insightful journey into the observations made on US politics.
Letters to Erin is about the highs and lows of relationships. There’s a poem called – Only the Chaos You Call Love and it is beautiful with love being found, but also the awkwardness of that first encounter.
One is so short and so poignant about that one person who may just get away.
As much as there is beauty in these poems about the love and romance that may be encountered in life, there are also some heartbreaking moments too. The tone however differs from that of the first-half of the book. A little less brutal and yet still not without heartwrenching moments within some of the poems and some of them are full of pain.
The concluding part – The Lesser Man contains a poem, a bit about the author and an author’s note, all making interesting reading before closing the book.
All in all, the poems are well-constructed and read well. The book is well-constructed too in terms of the flow from one poem to the next. This is a book that can be read either all at once or dipped in and out of with consumate ease. It’s an interesting perspective from the poet on how he views the world and what he has observed to create these well-written and thought-provoking poems.
There is a contemporary feel to the poems, so whether poetry is your thing or not, they are worth a look. They aren’t so difficult to follow. The themes are universal and each poem tells a relatable story in some way or another. There is also a whole mixture of lengths of poetry, but none feel too long or too short for what is being written.
*It is with thanks to Ms Isabelle Kenyon for providing me with a paperback copy of the book and for getting in contact to ask if I would like to be part of this blog tour, which I gratefully accepted.