3 out of 4 stars
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Steward of the Harvest is a collection of artwork and poems which are infused with many elements of Christianity. It was penned and illustrated by Stephen Vattimo. The book contains over fifty poems which portray some of the more interesting concepts of the Christian religion, such as Satan’s trickery. Descriptions and short narrations are also provided for each of the author’s artwork. These provide important insights into the author’s life.
I chose to read this book because I was intrigued by the unique combination of religious art and poems. As an artist myself, I enjoyed looking at the paintings and drawings. My favorite piece was the acrylic painting entitled, ‘The Creation Cries Out’. It depicted a coral reef scene with several varieties of fish. At first glance, it does not seem to be a religious work of art, except for the subtle crosses in the background, but on reading Vattimo’s description, I realized that each species of fish represented a Biblical notion. This was quite fascinating. For example, the lionfish in the center of the painting was a reference to Jesus because he was referred to as The Lion of Judea in the Bible.
The best poems always evoke emotions. Vattimo’s poems certainly made me feel differently after I read them. One poem which gave me shivers of fear was called ‘Don’t Gamble with the Devil’. It was directed to the reader of the poem, and it told the story of a card game with the Devil. While the cards seemed to be rigged in the reader’s favor, the Devil won at the end, and his snide remark was, “You thought you were going to beat the devil at his own game? You poor fool, you were only being deceived. Now, pay me what you owe me. Give me your soul”. On the contrary, there was another poem which spoke about salvation and this made me feel hopeful and protected. It spoke about drowning in a stormy sea, but being saved by a golden raft in the shape of a cross.
Another important thing to note was that Vattimo included aspects of his life in his poetry, descriptions, and artwork. As a regular participant in Pennsylvania’s Historical Society Great Pumpkin Carve event, a few of the illustrations in the book were actually his very own pumpkin-carving designs. Furthermore, in one of his paintings, he drew a morning glory plant choking a grapevine. He later stated that during one of his missionary stints, he learned that this plant was actually a dangerous weed for crops, despite the popularity of its beautiful flowers. This was the reason he used it to represent deceitfulness and riches which choke the word of God. Vattimo also spent a portion of his life serving the military and he included one poem which was intended for soldiers. I really appreciated that his life was reflected in his poems and artwork. This helped me to connect with the person behind the writing and illustrations.
While Steward of the Harvest was an interesting book, it contained an abundance of errors. Words like ‘refrained’ was spelled ‘reframed’, and ‘debt’ was spelled ‘dept’. Furthermore, commas were missing in some sentences. In addition to typos, I spotted a few proper nouns which should have begun with a capital letter. There was also a consistent mix-up between ‘who’s’ and ‘whose’ throughout the book. Therefore, I’m rating it 3 out of 4 stars. I would recommend that this book undergoes professional editing. With regards to the target audience for this book, I think that anyone who likes religious poems and art will enjoy this book.
Steward of the Harvest
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