2 out of 4 stars
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No Country for Christ by Winter Flowers-Olowofela is a book of poetry that contains fifteen poems in total, so this is a short book. The first few poems have a theme of the uncertainty of self. In those poems, the author addresses her feelings of wanting to escape and barely understanding what is going on both around her and in her. By Memory Lane, the author takes on a more resolute tone of self-discovery and finding love in Christ. Life, being the most vibrant poem, shows the extent to which Christ has changed the author’s life through love.
The author’s use of some Spanish words enhanced some poems and improved their overall flavor. I liked the longer poems, especially the ones that were over fifty lines, for conveying complete meaning and the deep feelings of the author. Most of the poems were free verse, but while reading them out loud, they sounded lyrical. The author also included Bible verses at the end of some poems. Adding the Bible verses was a nice touch because it gave the poems more depth.
However, I found many poems to be incomplete and missing cohesiveness. Many lines had just one word, and it was difficult to draw meaning from them. In the last few lines of Thoughts Driving Me, the author seemed to have sacrificed the thought of the first half of the poem for a rhyme scheme in the latter part, making it feel disjointed. Winter was especially flustering, for it was not a poem; the author simply wrote out words that begin with each letter in the word “winter.” The last three poems were tercets. This was an issue because the poems were not profound as they were. Black was the most inadequate poem of the lot, as it ended on an inconclusive note.
The author also put a “concepts” column at the end of the few poems with Bible verses; the column explained the general message of the Bible verses. The idea of putting the “concepts” column is limiting to me. When interpreting poetry, readers are supposed to dig deep into the words without any interference from the writer. And oftentimes, the concept the author explained did not correspond with the meaning I gleaned from a poem or its corresponding verse, and it served to confuse me.
Because most of the poems left much to be desired and seemed incomplete, 2 out of 4 stars is my rating. I did not rate the book lower because some poems had a good flow and conveyed meaning. Since the rules of poetry are different from other types of literature, I did not count any errors. It is not easy to recommend this book in its current state to a suitable audience because it needs a lot of work to reach its full potential. I would recommend a well-rounded version of this book to readers who love poetry that talk about self-discovery and the love of Christ.
No Country for Christ Vol 1 Ambedo
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