2 out of 4 stars
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Masterpiece in Your Heart by S. Sulianah is a collection of twenty-six poems about love and, to a lesser extent, friendship. The poems were written over a period of four years, from 2013 to 2017. There is an emphasis on the author’s feelings about past loves rather than capturing scenic imagery or thoughts about various topics.
It is difficult to critique poetry about the subject of love. Even the slightest criticism can be viewed as stomping on someone’s very personal feelings. Also, free verse is hard to analyze as there are no set rules about syllables or structure. That being said, I believe this style of poetry should have some sort of smooth flow just like any other writing. Unfortunately, there is an awkward flow in many of the pieces in this collection. The stanzas and descriptions go off on tangents and sometimes don’t even feel like they are part of the same poem. It’s as if random adjectives and thoughts are thrown together on paper, yet the phrases are not coordinated in a cohesive way that makes sense to the reader. At times it felt like I was reading a draft that had potential once the author would revise and polish it.
There are a few poems that I found memorable. “Growing Like a Seed” has clear imagery with powerful phrasing – “the clattering of the bits and pieces, the clicks of movements.” “A Decade of You” is a standout as the author reminisces about a past love more than a decade later – “seems there are still layers of you in me, though I had tried to peel off every minute of them.”
The format of the book is somewhat disjointed. The titles of the poems are not always displayed in a consistent way. Some titles are included at the top of the poem and others are on the previous or next page. The inconsistent format gave the collection a haphazard feel and I had to go back at times to figure out which title went with which poem. In the case of titles shown on the page after the poem, it was initially unclear if the poem was the second page of the previous poem.
Full-page photos are scattered throughout the book, such as the Eiffel Tower, London Bridge, a person pulling a sled through the snow, skyscrapers, etc. The pictures appear to have no connection to the text and seem like filler or have meaning that is obvious only to the author.
I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. Although the collection is heartfelt, I found it difficult to connect with many of the poems in any meaningful way. Some of the pieces contain individual phrases that are thought-provoking, but the overall meaning is often obscure. I would recommend this book to readers who enjoy free verse poetry and can sift through the vague observations to find the occasional gem.
Masterpiece in Your Heart
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