4 out of 4 stars
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Awaken! by Sylvia Sánchez Garza is a chapbook consisting of 26 poems. "Awaken," the poem from which the title of this book is derived; "La Flor," "La Luna," "Mr. Sunshine" and "Clouds," which are among those about nature; and "Soar with the Angels" are some examples of the poems included in this poetry collection.
I love the themes that the poems in this book navigate through. The themes range from the beauty of nature (like "Mr. Sunshine" and "Clouds"), the hardships of life (particularly in the poem titled "Labores"), the recent covid-19 pandemic (in "The Delusional Dream"), a tribute to George Floyd, and the beauty of inanimate objects like the piñata and the lifeless stone.
Out of all the poems, I found the poem titled "September" to be the most emotional poem in this book. The persona in this poem is recollecting memories about his or her late mother and wonders why she had to leave. In the poem, the persona remembers her saying that everyone has their day, and they'll one day have to depart from this earth, but little did the persona know that she was speaking about her own day. The persona also laments and asks questions like "why did it have to be just her?" I felt the persona's anguish and pain as I read the poem and realized that life is but a foam in the ocean that lasts for a very short time.
I also loved the nature-inspired poems like "Mr. Sunshine," "Clouds," "La Luna," and "La Flora" among others. Particularly, "Clouds" speaks about the transitions and transformations clouds go through. The persona describes them at one time as "white sheep gliding across the blue sky." In "Mr. Sunshine," the persona pleads with the sun to take a nap for a while. The time appears to be just before a drizzle in the early morning, and the sun is urged by the persona to hold on a little longer—since there would still be time later in the day to show its might. The persona is hopeful to see the rainbow should the sun listen to him/her.
Structurally, most of the poems in this book are free verses. They have an unpredictable rhyme scheme. Most lines and stanzas don't follow the rules or patterns in traditional poems. However, this is not to say that there is no rhyme. There are some rhyming lines, consonance, assonance, and alliteration within the poems, but I think they're more coincidental than a precedented composition. All the above reasons have allowed the poet to freely communicate his message and emotions. And speaking of emotions, the poems have a pack of them. The rich imagery used also helps in visualizing the poems better.
Since these are poems, some of the few errors I noticed could pass as using the poetic license for stylistic reasons. However, there was one obvious error, and it was seemingly a matter of a copy-paste gone wrong. A considerable part of one poem was entirely copy-pasted to another incomplete poem. There is one poem I didn't understand, too. These are the only negative aspects of the book, but because of the overall quality of the book and the dexterity in which most poems were written, I'll give this book a 4 out of 4. Furthermore, there is nothing else I disliked. The book seems professionally edited to me.
I dedicate this book to all lovers of poetry who love image-rich and emotion-packed poems.
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