4 out of 4 stars
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Ball of String is an eclectic collection of poems and photographs by Glenn K. Currie. Beginning with the title poem and through a range of topics, such as individuality, love, acceptance, homelessness, music, the Vietnam War, divorce, death, sorrow, trust, family, and friendship, it explores the recurring theme of how we are simultaneously connected and pulled apart in the "current social culture." Currie notes that this sixth published poetry volume will likely be his last.
The book is 113 pages and can easily be read in one sitting. However, it shouldn't be rushed, as it is one to reread and contemplate. The words that come to mind to describe Currie's collection are eclectic, eloquent, and evocative; I will also add exceptionally edited to my unintentional alliteration. What sets this volume apart from other poetry books is Currie's writing style and consistent use of punctuation. His consistency is refreshing and in no way hinders his creative voice. Instead, his manner of musing is approachable and invites the reader to ponder his reflections, such as the following stanza from "Charleston Tears":
"Words are spoken slowly,
Rolling off the tongue
Like sweet cocktails,
Buried in ice and umbrellas."
"How Old Men Grow Wise" is a humorous reflection on aging. In "Best Friends Forever," Currie shares his thoughts on the popular acronym, social media "friendships," and true friends. "Accommodations" is a reflection on a bird nesting in Currie's garage. It may be my favorite; I have had annual nesting tenants near my backdoor for the last several years.
The accompanying photographs further enhance Currie's poetry, and I particularly like the contemplative captions. They provide thought-provoking introductions to the poems and are poetic on their own. For instance, the caption for the image of a tunnel-like covered bridge featuring the proverbial burst of light at the end reads, "Winter comes to all of us. Sometimes it rides in on a white horse accompanied by an Artic wind. Sometimes it builds black ice beneath us and takes us before we realize we are gone." I also appreciate Currie's use of figurative language; snow initially "seduces you" but becomes the guest who "stays too long."
There isn't anything I dislike about the book, but I have one suggestion for improvement; I would like to see the inclusion of more information related to Currie's photography. On the copyright page, he mentions that all of the photographs are taken by him except for his image on the author page. He includes his website, and although it is visually appealing, informative, and easy to navigate, the photography isn't mentioned. Perhaps Currie considers it more of a hobby, but as much as I appreciate his poems, my curiosity is also piqued by the photographs. Likely, other readers may also appreciate a few more details about the locations, events, and subjects of his photography.
It is my pleasure to rate Ball of Strings 4 out of 4 stars. I recommend this outstanding collection to fans of poetry, and its eclectic nature will appeal to both seasoned readers and those recently introduced to the genre. It contains no profanity.
Ball of String
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