The Lovely Brush: Poems by Heather Awad
Metaphorically speaking the title reminds me of an artist using the gentle strokes of the brush to paint her own self portrait. There is a dreamy beauty in this collection that I have not seen for a while unless reading the classics. This is high praise considering what is familiar themes laid out in a simple style. Self-reflection gives each poem an invitation for the reader to take part in this journey.
Readers know I have a preference to rhyme style poetry, but this definitely would have been a distraction for the mood set by the poems. The author uses short lined stanza styles with the occasional free verse. The tempo is quite consistent with a slow pace that draws you into each word. Placing the reader in the theme and giving space for reflection is the most drawing aspect for me in this wonderful collection.
Moving onto themes. It is quite clear this is autobiographical, but rather than alienate it draws on common topics and some current themes in the world today. There is the sense of strong observational skills that is the mark of a good poet. Simple everyday observations and glances at nature start the collection. Followed by introspective poems looking at single life and being an introvert. Most introverts can nod along to the authors poem ‘Diffident’, which is one of my favourites.
There is a shift to that time of life that has the biggest influence on life, which is childhood and of course teenage angst. Rather than simply whine through this period the author again gives snippets of a scene to digest.
With the police force and politics being prominent news stories in America it is quite interesting to read a poetic commentary. Due to the author’s background the police side is more of insight compared to the political side with a clear stance on the current climate.
The later part of book takes you on the mishaps and pain that often occurs as we grow older in life. This section is laced with an underlined sadness. The poem ‘Thank You’ showing the difficulties of being unable to rely on family and feeling alone when looking for role models. Each poem begins to reflect on aspects that have caused pain that emotionally impacts on the reader. I am reminded of the tear in Michael Corleone’s eyes as he remembers good times following the great losses he bears on his soul while reminiscing on a chair.
With this reference and everything I have spoken about in this review it is clear there is a narrative structure to this collection. That reads like well chosen snippets from an autobiographical novel.
In summary a pleasure to read and be part of this journey with a talented writer.