Birds Who Eat French Fries by Michael Maul @mmaul414 @kenyon_isabelle @fly_press #poetry #teasertuesday #nextread #blogtour #review #bookreview

Birds Who Eat French Fries
By Michael Maul
Rated 4 stars ****

birds poem author picThe title captured my attention at first, when I was approached by Isabelle Kenyon with a request to review this book of poetry. It sounded quirky and different, since I’ve seen newspaper articles about seagulls pinching food up here in Scotland and in England, and one even doing its “shopping” and taking a whole bag of crisps from a shop. I am pleased to be closing the blog tour for Birds Who Eat French Fries by Michael Maul, who is multi-award winning. The picture is one provided, of after an event.

It is with thanks to Isabelle Kenyon at Fly Press for approaching me to review for the blog tour for the book Birds Who Eat French Fries. It is also thanks to the poet Michael Maul for sending me a copy of the book.

Birds poem Blog Tour



It’s important to read 5 pages in, the short poem (or part of) Keep on the Sunny Side of Life. It’s significant! The 2 parts within the poetry book are split so you can see the harder side and that there is a sunnier side of life. It’s a lovely way to do it. The poetry is incredibly accessible. Poetry is becoming more and more easier to read and to understand as the years go by. It’s modern and relatable and in language and tone everyone can understand. People who say they aren’t even into any poetry at all, would be able to give Birds Who Eat French Fries a try.

The first poem is Birds Who Eat French Fries. I quite like that is first, instead of waiting and waiting to find the poem that actually relates to the title. It works for this book. It’s observant and has a bit of wit about it, although I hope the images within the writing makes people see the gulls a bit differently.

Who would have thought someone could write a poem or anything about dust! Michael Maul has and made it sound somehow light and turns it from the real to almost whimsical at the end.

Husband’s Lost in Florida… Men!!! sums it up pretty well. It’ a poem that both men and women would relate to. Somehow woman more than men. This is a woman who people will be able to sympathise with. Some men may too.

Apparently eggs are the way to live to a hundred and two in Egg Water. It’s got celebration and poignancy.

Bereavement and keeping and cherishing memories are themes in some of the poetry, American Doll and Saying Goodbye to a Spirit of a Friend, tackles the subject well. Saying Goodbye to a Spirit of a Friend may show readers that there is always space for memories. It’s a very sweet poem.

Pate is a wonderful poem that leads onto part 2 about the sunnier side of life. Imagine music playing from your Alexa eating breakfast, seeing some fun remnants from the night before and thinking how beautiful life can be. That’s this poem. It is so short, yet full of enough gratitude that would make you smile.

I love Over My Head. It makes me smile a lot, laugh a little too, at the way Michael Maul has captured a moment in nature with an eagle getting ready to feed her young.

On My Brother’s Blindness is one of those poems that will perhaps make people who can see, grateful that they can. It is also a poem of some hope as well.

For Those Who Wish Mermaids Weren’t Extinct, puts an interesting slant on the existence of mermaids and captures them in a different light.

Whole Pie, is amusing in its own way and a poem that can be delighted in having the option of an entire pie and imagine the narrator of it looking at a menu wide-eyed with untold excitement.

Reinventing Myself is a fun and hopeful poem.

The book consists of 51 pages, most of which is short poetry that is split into 2 parts and there are good pages about the author and about his other books too. I had hoped for a bit more lightness in the sunnier part of the book, than what there actually is within the poems, but apart from that, they are good to read. They have a very modern slant, rhyme well. The metre is very good and again, they are accessible.

Birds poems cover

Review of Ghosts in the Reflection and Letters to Erin by James F. Miller II #GhostsInTheReflection #LetterstoErin @kenyon_isabelle @jim_twenty @fly_press #flyonthewallpoetrytours #blogtour #poetryblogtour #poetry

Review of Ghosts in the Reflection
Letters to Erin
By James F, Miller II
Rated: ****

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.

Ghosts in the reflection poster Jim Miller Blog Tour



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.


Ghosts in the Reflection Front Cover


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.