About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Kick Back and Relax with Poetry

Just For You
Evelyn Chenkin
Gefen Publishing House (2010)
Hardcover, 96 pages
Rated 4 stars of 5 possible.

Just For You
is a small collection of expressive poems by an author who is largely the unknown poet. I had never heard of her until I saw this little book being offered for review. The book is divided into three segments, where each poem within that segment reflects a single theme.

The first segment is comprised of 27 poems of love. While love is an ancient poetry topic, over the many decades I have loved poetry, few poems I have read cause me to think as deeply and fewer still, tug as strongly at my heart strings as these.

The second segment, titled Reflections and Reveries contains 31 poems that express a range of emotions and reflect on the poets long life. Many of the poems in this section are very overtly autobiographical.  Mrs. Chenkin shares a lot of herself in them. Some readers will be able to see themselves here too, with little to no imagination necessary.

The third and shortest segment, aptly titled Portraits, contains 21 poems originally written for the poet's family and perhaps others with whom she had direct contact. Each poem describes a "portrait" of the person for whom it was written.  These are deeply personal verses, and I am, in some ways, surprised that they were published in a publicly available collection as opposed to being privately published in a very limited edition. The poet shares not only herself, but also her family with us in this little book.

At least one other reviewer has been disparaging toward this collection saying that, because the style of most of the poems does not vary, that the poetry is not good. I, however hold a different opinion. Good poetry is emotional; which describes this collection accurately.  Great poetry is both emotional and memorable.  These poems might not be memorable, but they are good.  And if the style is the same for nearly all of them, that's quite okay.

In the studied opinion of this reviewer, poetry is not meant to be gobbled in 100 page segments - unless you're reading epic poems such as Evangeline by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807 - 1882). Shorter poems such as the ones contained in this book should be savored in small segments of one or two poems at a sitting, and then the reader should reflect on the poems for at least a day or perhaps longer, while letting the collective meaning of the poems sink into his/her soul. 

I regret that I had no time to allow reading of the entire book in the manner I would have preferred, so rushed through in a matter of four separate readings on four non-consecutive days.  I do not regret reading this poetry collection.

Gefen Publishing House supplied a free copy of the finished hardcover edition on which this review is based. I have, as always, tried to be fair and unbiased in my review... but it should be known that I only promised to write a review, while making no promises as to what the review might contain.  Opinions stated herein are my own; I was not financially compensated for this or any of the other reviews I have written. 

This review was written for the LibraryThing Early Reviewer's group, but has also been published on Dragon Views, Amazon.com and other sites as applicable to the content of the book.

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