4 out of 4 stars
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"Poetry is the window to the soul." I have heard this quoted before, and it came to my mind as I was reading Marginal Man by Byron G. Nelson. Poetry is the prime manner in which we can get a glimpse into how one views life and their personal experiences.
The book is a compilation of poems depicting Nelson's thoughts and experiences. At the beginning of the book, there is a foreword from a family member, telling about how, through poetry, Nelson always could express different aspects of life, even as a young person. The remainder of the book gives us many of these poems which cover a range of topics and feelings.
While not every poem will speak to everyone who is reading, I could sense the intensity and depth of his feelings throughout the poetry. Some poems were only a few lines, but they still expressed a clear feeling and viewpoint.
Nelson's poetry covered subjects such as nature, the world, love, people he has encountered in life, God, childhood, and so many other experiences that could evoke poetic thoughts. Just like the title of the book, one of the poems was called "Marginal Man." It depicted him as someone who, many times, is caught between two worlds or mindsets.
It was easy to tell Nelson's different feelings and moods he was going through when writing certain poems. The moods could be happy and comfortable as expressed in his poems with titles such as "Love Remembered" and "Morning Birds." At other times, poems such as "Frowning and Drowning" and "Ignorance" bring forth thoughts and feelings of anger and distress towards certain situations and people.
I noticed that the way certain poems were placed in the book were of importance. This was particularly at the beginning and ending of the book. These poems had feelings of opening and closing. Placement can be important, and it seemed to be done correctly in this book.
Overall, I am going to rate this book of poetry 4 out of 4 stars. I didn't see anything that should take away from this score. It was very clear that Nelson is a true poet and has very unique ways of expressing his feelings. Not everyone will identify with every poem, but that's the beauty of poetry. Many times, a poem may only reflect the current thoughts of the person writing it. These poems will definitely provoke deep thoughts on life, though. I strongly recommend this collection for anyone who is a lover of poetry.
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