3 out of 4 stars
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Cycle of Being is a drama and poetry book written by Jahleen Wright. Wright was raised in Jamaica and refers to herself as an “Island Girl” who writes poetry as her primary outlet. Her collection of poems is organized into five chapters and 86 pages. Each chapter is categorized by the theme most prominent among the poems.
At first, I found the poems interesting because none of them were organized in chronological order. This element added an interesting view of the author’s past as a child, adolescent, and adult. Between the first two chapters, the themes of perseverance, nostalgia, and self-improvement are most prevalent in optimistic tones throughout some of the poems. The darker poems exemplify a constant the need for hope in the author’s life.
I liked the variety of rhetorical devices Wright employed throughout her poems. The first two chapters conveyed a tone of hope through well-executed rhyme and imagery. In the third chapter, Passion, the sexual imagery and rhetorical questions regarding the of making love and the sin of lust demonstrated how her thoughts on sex may change.
In chapter four, Wright held drew me in. This chapter's poems concerned rejection and lacking trust in a relationship. She started the chapter with my favorite poem of the collection, “365 Days of Trust”. It focused on the subject of broken promises very well. Wright seemed the most emotionally vulnerable in this chapter. She maintained the rhyme and meter that supported a hopeful tone in the first two chapters, but used it to shift the tone to convey her feelings of rejection.
I identified the most with the poems in the final chapter, Introspection. They were deeply meditative and had good pacing. When I read them aloud, the short rhymes and stanzas seemed to communicate confidence in each word. Longer rhymes and stanzas, which contained rich imagery and metaphors, unpacked the doubts and wisdom from Wright’s experiences.
There were only a couple of things that I didn’t like in the collection. Since I’m not religious, the emphasis on submission to a deity’s divine plan was dull to me, but I’m sure Wright’s Christian readers would appreciate it. I recommend this book for women, Christian or otherwise, who are at least eighteen years old. There were also poems that lacked a comma for a necessary pause that would have improved the meter.
I give this book a rating of 3 out of 4. I give it this rating because I feel that the poems were written carefully in order to convey the uncertainties and realities of life’s most memorable moments. From my perspective, Wright is a gifted poet. She managed to evoke hope and deep introspection. This collection was a good break from current events, but it didn’t pull me too far away from them to feel despondent once I finished reading it.
Cycle of Being
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