3 out of 4 stars
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Sincerely Speaking Spiritually by Joseph S. Spence Sr. is an inspirational collection of poetic prayers. As the author and co-author of a combined total of nine poetry collections, Spence describes the spiritual aspects of poetic prayer: "Prayer and poetry alter the consciousness and give a deeper perception of life in reaching out to others." His collection features a variety of poetry forms, including spiritual narratives, freeform, invented styles, and epulaeryu. The book also includes a definitive glossary of the various poetry styles and forms.
Spence begins the professionally edited collections with a detailed introduction to the different poetry styles featured in each of the five sections and concludes with an in-depth glossary of spiritual poetic forms. His comprehensive approach will appeal to poetry novices, as well as more experienced connoisseurs. However, I find Spence's tendency to share additional notes following individual poems distracting; when I read poetry, I enjoy contemplating it and interpreting it myself. In some instances, the notes are longer than the poems and providing them in a separate appendix is a preferable alternative. I would compare it to the difference between leisurely perusing beautiful art in a gallery to viewing the same exhibits during a guided tour. I prefer the former but acknowledge others may appreciate the latter.
"Your Omnipresent Love" is an inspirational decree based on Ephesians 6:11 and Psalms 18:34 and 39. Readers will appreciate Spence's inclusion of poetic prayers for specific people and issues, such as prayers for soldiers, fathers, children, suicidal thoughts, and gun violence. On a lighter note, "Thank You, Lord, for This Great Treat" is a joyous celebration of Thanksgiving dinner, which is sure to evoke smiles, warm memories, and perhaps sudden cravings for turkey, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie.
A few other poems I particularly like are: "Forgiveness Tears" and "Walk Beside Me, Lord." I also enjoyed the fourth section: "Epulaeryu Poems," a style created by Spence in 2006. He describes the theme as "...succulent dishes and drinks" and provides scripture references for the inspiration for each poem. For example, "The Best Taste" is about Jesus's first miracle in Cana when he turns water into wine.
Overall, I rate Sincerely Speaking Spiritually 3 out of 4 stars. Although the superfluous notes slightly detract from work as a whole, the collection offers uplifting, inspirational, and encouraging words. I recommend the book to fans of spiritual poetry and poetic prayer. On the other hand, it will likely not appeal to readers who do not believe in God.
Sincerely Speaking Spiritually
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