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A Little Bit of Everything by Helen Minazza
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A Little Bit of Everything

by Helen Minazza

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Recently added byfromamileaway, RowenaHoseason

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This entertaining collection of 50 accessible and involving poems is extremely well-named. Written during a 20 year timespan, the poems reflect the changing life experiences and world view of the author. Some are serious; some are short, others are neither. There truly is a little bit of everything in here.

Perhaps my favourite ones are the more whimsical flights of fantasy like ‘The Heavens’, ‘Unicorn’, or the more ominously chilling ‘Pale in the Dark’. But just as these capture fleeting sensations of the fabulous, so the author is equally adept at depicting moments of quite contentment during the daily grind, of dragging something significant from the humdrum blur of every day existence.

None of these verses is astonishingly long, nor so challenging that you’ll lose the sense of the narrative or meaning. Some are just plain fun, like ‘Bubble’: the notion of serenely watching the madness of the world pass by, insulated in a protected environment. Others are witty and droll, like ‘B4 11’ which challenges our unthinking acceptance of commonplace sayings. And the final line of ‘Dilapidated Daffodil’ just made me laugh out loud.

There’s much in here about motherhood and romantic love, while suggestions of melancholy are rather more muted but just as poignant. You’ll also find the occasional political statement – as in ‘Listen’ – but these are gently delivered, more a suggestion if you have ears to hear than a rant which rubs a certain viewpoint in your face.

If there’s a flaw to the writing then it’s the author’s fondness for using a couple of devices rather too often – particularly repetition of a single line. This is powerful the first couple of times you encounter it but that impact fades with use. ‘Leaving Home’ was maybe a little clumsy in its delivery, too: ambitious in its aim to distil the essence of the holocaust into a child’s distress but not entirely successful.

The majority of the poems hit their targets squarely, however: like ‘The Back Seat of Life’ which pretty much sums up the trepidation everyone must experience at some point, in seizing the future in their own hands.

The author adds notes here and there to advise the reader to ‘hear’ certain verses in a Scottish or West Country accent, which is fun. And although there are definitely dark moments of the soul bared within this collection, the overall impression is of lightness, of optimism, of love and of hope.

It’s an uplifting and thought-provoking anthology to dip in to. So although I’m not normally a great fan of poetry, reading ‘A Little Bit Of Everything’ was an extremely enjoyable experience.
8/10 ( )
  RowenaHoseason | Jun 22, 2016 |
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