1 out of 4 stars
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And the Little Hills Rejoice by Barry Bennett Blander, is a book of poetry that supposedly depicts different stories from the Bible and a few from the author’s own experiences in life. The book goes from poems about the death of Christ, to poetry that is filled with references to Greek mythology, to poetry that is about a friends struggles with life.
The author uses many different rhythms and meters with his poetry. His poetry does rhyme, which makes it easier to read at times. The order and structure of the poetry is perfect, but the content and the words are repetitive, and at times contradictory. The description on the back of the book dedicates all of the poetry to the “glory of God” however, a few of the poems spoke of self-harm or alluded to Greek mythology. Seeing as it was dedicated to being about God and the Christian walk, I found the poetry that flowed with mythology rather contradictory.
As a lover of poetry and also a Christian, I wanted to like and enjoy this poetry. But the repetitiveness of the poetry destroyed that hope. There are different poems that have almost the exact same story, similar lines, and even the same rhymes. One such thing occurs in the very first poem, Calvary. The poem begins with “Nailed to splintered wood of the sacred cross Your fathomless eyes wept a sea of blood.” A few pages later the poem Crown of Thorn starts with a similar line “On the splintered wood of the cross You wept a sea of blood.” Those same two poems also have other instances of the same line or rhyme at other places. They are nearly the same poem with a few words omitted and added. Repetition in poetry is common, but two different poems should not be close enough to be almost the same.
Most of the poems were disappointingly shallow thoughts disguised as deep words, but there were a few that made me stop and read them all over again. Poetry is meant to make one feel something. It isn’t always understandable but it is meant to inspire, enthrall, and excite. Edgar Allen Poe once said “To elevate the soul, poetry is needed.” The poetry in And the Little Hills Rejoice very rarely ‘elevated the soul” in any way at all.
I gave this book a rating of 1 out of 4 stars because out of the entire book of poetry, there were very few poems that could be described as real. Emily Dickinson, one of the most well-known American poets, said “If I feel physically as if the top of my head were taken off, I know that is poetry.” Rather than feeling elated and intrigued by Barry’s poetry, I felt annoyed. Many of the poems made me think of a copycat, as if they weren’t the author’s own words, but rather an attempt at sounding more like a poet, such as Poe or Dickinson. Poetry is made to be felt, and this book made me feel nothing.
And The Little Hills Rejoice
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