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Posted June 25, 2010
Writer Bares Her Soul through Poetry
When asked to review a writer's published collection of poetry, I always have a brief moment of hesitation. To me, poetry is such an intensely personal genre in which one person's expressive and soul-wrenching output may be viewed as a jumbled mess to a reader who comes to the material with a different perspective or background. But then I remind myself that what I am expected to offer when I provide my opinion on a poet's work is my specific reaction. I am entitled to review the poetry of another writer because I am entitled to my own emotional response. And, in the case of Passion's Evidence by Barbara Fifield, I was left with an ache over words that conjured up my own thoughts on loss, love, and beauty.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
This was not my first opportunity to read the work of Ms. Fifield, as I previously reviewed her novel Lucifer Rising. While I enjoyed her writing style in my initial exposure to her efforts, my appreciation for her talents was multiplied by Passion's Evidence. Fifield shares poetry that she has composed over the past twenty-five years, dividing the pieces into several powerful themes, and every page contains language that carries a message that is not content to lie flat and typed on a page. At the risk of sounding too cliché, this book really does come alive.
Perhaps the most difficult section to read was the one dedicated to her late husband, Roger. She writes to him while he sits by his side in the hospital, "I mourn for you,/my beloved/my husband/my angel/my soul mate," and as she prepares to bury his ashes by the ocean, "Your ashes lie at my bed's foot/I feel too crippled to disturb them." I could feel the grief emanating from every word that she selected to share her loss, but also understood the love and intimate connection that this man and woman shared.
As the mother of a young girl, I was affected by the poems Fifield wrote to her own daughter as she developed into adulthood. She shared the same fears, worries, and pride that every mother expresses for their children as they start to make their way in the world. As she writes in "To Mona at 36," "Mona-you dash from job to job and career to/ career-/looking for something to bring you joy." These phrases will resonate with many parents who only can watch as their kids search for direction and a calling in life that is rooted in passion.
From the pleasure in eating fresh strawberries straight from the vine to her belief in the connection that be found only in true love to the healing powers of quiet moments at the beach, Fifield has seemingly transferred her soul onto the pages of Passion's Evidence and offered herself as an emotional offering to her readers. She shares her highs and her lows, as well as the moments during which she cannot discern exactly how she should be feeling. For those who appreciate the power that a poem has to capture a moment in time, Passion's Evidence is a recommended addition to your collection.