Official Review: The Word of Mankado by Roger Ranchino

Use this section to discuss drama books and poetry books. Drama includes plays but not novels. This includes work by Shakespeare, Marlowe, Miller etc. Poetry anthologies can also go here.
Forum rules
Authors and publishers are not able to post replies in the review topics.
Post Reply
User avatar
Brendan Donaghy
Posts: 610
Joined: 18 Jan 2019, 13:14
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 125
Currently Reading: Small Great Things
Bookshelf Size: 31
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-brendan-donaghy.html
Latest Review: The Creative Advantages of Schizophrenia by Paul Kiritsis

Official Review: The Word of Mankado by Roger Ranchino

Post by Brendan Donaghy » 11 Oct 2019, 03:42

[Following is an official OnlineBookClub.org review of "The Word of Mankado" by Roger Ranchino.]
Book Cover
2 out of 4 stars
Share This Review


The Word of Mankado is the first published collection of poems by Roger W. Ranchino. The title of the book is a bit of a puzzle. A google search throws up a place called Mankato in Minnesota, close to where the author was born, but that is the only reference. The book has no introductory notes or foreword, so the author does not explain the meaning, nor is Mankado mentioned again in the text.

The book runs to seventy-nine pages and contains fifty poems. The back cover describes this collection as ‘a journey of self-reflection and truth.’ As if to emphasize that fact, the first poem in the collection is entitled ‘Me.’ It is almost as if the author is setting out his writing agenda or manifesto. The first stanza is as follows:

I feel the need to write
My memory on the line
I’m more than just a picture
I’m thoughts of summertime

It is an appropriate manner in which to start this collection because that is the way the book continues, both thematically and technically. Thematically, this poem is typical, in that the majority of the poems feature the poet analyzing his own feelings, his own situation, or both. Topics covered include the passage of time, parenthood, children, death, and illness. The result, unfortunately, is that this could not be described as an uplifting collection. The ‘I’ in these poems – and one must be wary about always reading poems as autobiographical - seems to be an individual weary of life, someone who believes his happiest days are behind him. In the poem ‘Special’ he writes:

My appearance holds the years
Have a wife and some kids
It’s sad to think the best times
May be something I already did

In this same poem, he tells the reader that he is 45 years old. That sounds too young to me to be getting so maudlin, but perhaps the writer was having a bad day. There are one or two poems written in a lighter vein. The poems ‘Miss Mastercharge’, ‘Honeymoon Horror’, and ‘Mowing’ are three of the poems in which the writer attempts to insert some humor into the collection. Humor is an individual thing, obviously, and not everyone will find these poems funny, but at least they are an attempt to lighten the mood a little.

Technically, every stanza of every poem in the collection is written in the same 4-line format with the same ABCB rhyme scheme. Sometimes the rhymes are full matches, at other times they are half-rhymes. The rhythm and meter of the lines seem to be randomly assigned. In truth, there is more craftsmanship and design to be found in the lines inside a greeting card.

The cover tells us that the book ‘reaches for the thoughts, laughter, and tears inside all of us.’ In my view, it doesn’t reach far enough. I am giving this book two out of four stars. It is not a book I enjoyed, but it is error-free and has an interesting cover. It has no sexual or religious content to offend anyone. The themes of the book are such that it is probably more suitable for young adults and upwards. People who like their poetry plain and unpretentious may find this collection of interest.

******
The Word of Mankado
View: on Bookshelves

User avatar
Rachel Lea
Posts: 504
Joined: 25 Feb 2019, 19:29
Favorite Book: Adrift
Currently Reading: The Date Farm
Bookshelf Size: 97
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-rachel-lea.html
Latest Review: The Crystilleries of Echoland by Dew Pellucid

Post by Rachel Lea » 12 Oct 2019, 09:19

Poetry doesn't normally catch my interest unless there is something particularly well-phrased or insightful about it. I will probably pass on this book. Thank you for your honest comments!
"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies... The man who never reads lives only one." -- George R.R. Martin :techie-studyingbrown:

User avatar
Brendan Donaghy
Posts: 610
Joined: 18 Jan 2019, 13:14
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 125
Currently Reading: Small Great Things
Bookshelf Size: 31
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-brendan-donaghy.html
Latest Review: The Creative Advantages of Schizophrenia by Paul Kiritsis

Post by Brendan Donaghy » 12 Oct 2019, 10:43

Rachel Lea wrote:
12 Oct 2019, 09:19
Poetry doesn't normally catch my interest unless there is something particularly well-phrased or insightful about it. I will probably pass on this book. Thank you for your honest comments!
You're very welcome, thanks for commenting!

User avatar
kandscreeley
Special Discussion Leader
Posts: 9108
Joined: 31 Dec 2016, 20:31
2019 Reading Goal: 95
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 72
Currently Reading: Sunshine at the Academy
Bookshelf Size: 303
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kandscreeley.html
Latest Review: Weenie Kleegan by Hamlin Tallent

Post by kandscreeley » 12 Oct 2019, 19:19

I really like to understand the title at some point. It's too bad this doesn't. I don't enjoy poetry in any case. It sounds like this needs some work. Thanks.
Good books, like good friends, are few and chosen; the more select, the more enjoyable.
-Louisa May Alcott

User avatar
Brendan Donaghy
Posts: 610
Joined: 18 Jan 2019, 13:14
2019 Reading Goal: 20
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 125
Currently Reading: Small Great Things
Bookshelf Size: 31
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-brendan-donaghy.html
Latest Review: The Creative Advantages of Schizophrenia by Paul Kiritsis

Post by Brendan Donaghy » 13 Oct 2019, 11:34

kandscreeley wrote:
12 Oct 2019, 19:19
I really like to understand the title at some point. It's too bad this doesn't. I don't enjoy poetry in any case. It sounds like this needs some work. Thanks.
Yeah, I always like to understand the title too. I feel it gives me a few pointers as to what the author is thinking about. Thanks for commenting!

User avatar
acopj
Posts: 8
Joined: 14 Oct 2019, 04:27
Bookshelf Size: 0

Post by acopj » 15 Oct 2019, 07:12

You got me by 'need to write..my memory on the line.' It said everything I had to know about the book.

kdstrack
Posts: 3735
Joined: 10 May 2017, 19:49
2019 Reading Goal: 100
2019 Reading Goal Completion: 96
2018 Reading Goal: 100
2018 Reading Goal Completion: 106
Currently Reading: Skills of the Warramunga
Bookshelf Size: 279
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-kdstrack.html
Latest Review: Jim in Enemy Territory by Le Lan Anh

Post by kdstrack » Yesterday, 21:30

The title is intriguing! I appreciate the research you did on the name. I don't read much poetry, but I did enjoy the stanzas that you included in your review. Thanks for the recommendation.

User avatar
esp1975
Posts: 1660
Joined: 21 May 2019, 17:00
Favorite Book: Among Others
Currently Reading:
Bookshelf Size: 75
Reviewer Page: onlinebookclub.org/reviews/by-esp1975.html
Latest Review: A Dragon’s Flame by Mercedese Jeffries

Post by esp1975 » Today, 10:51

I actually have a friend from Mankado, MN, and now I want to go ask her if she knows about the book/author.

Sadly, I think the poetry would bother me, as I tend to care more about rhythm and measure than I do about rhyme schemes. And sticking to such a strict rhyme scheme through the entire book seems like someone who doesn't understand poetry and thinks it all has to rhyme.

Post Reply

Return to “Drama and Poetry Books”