Thursday, August 18, 2011

Diminuendo by Emily Reed

Publisher:             Blue Feather Books

Love and life have similar characteristics.  They can make you feel like you're soaring in the clouds and plunge you into what feels like the depths of hell.  Nothing is harder than the ride that takes you in both directions. Emily Reed has captured that trip in a series of poems that catalog the sublime and sensual feelings of love discovered, the efforts to sustain that love and then the collapse of love as a relationship fails.  Scattered within the verses are others that deal with the wonders of children, the strains of a difficult job and musings about the nature of gods and religion.  The poems comprise a very personal journey, but one that speaks quite easily to the experiences that other people have shared.

Although there are somber poems in this book, many of them focus on the electricity that sexual love can generate and what follows when that spark begins to die.  "Awakening" captures the insight that many lesbians develop when the pieces of their lives suddenly fit together and everything begins to make sense.  It's followed by many selections that sing the praises of love and the spiraling emotions  that occur when lovers cannot be together.  Eventually they are replaced by poems like "Betrayal," "Accusation," "8,000 Miles," "Learning Curve," then into "Never the Twain," "Insecurities and Doubts," and finally "Aftermath," "Perspective" and ultimately "Phoenix."  It's a trip the reader would probably rather not take because many of the landmarks are too familiar, but it's that familiarity that keeps you reading.  The verses strike chords that resonate deep in the soul with painful, yet bitterly sweet tones.

There are also the poems that draw the reader to consider other aspects of life.  "Inevitable" deals with the realization of pride accompanied by a sense of loss as a son grows into adulthood.  "Compassion" and "Where?" reflect on the frustration felt with gods and questions about their relevance to the world. "TNA" and "The Face of Death" remind the reader that, even when things seem darkest, other people are experiencing worse problems in their lives.  Then there are the humorous musings of "Anniversary Ditty" and especially "Epelation."  Any woman who has worried about what to do with the hair on her legs will find that one irresistible. 

Diminuendo in Italian means diminishing. That applies to many things in this collection, but not to the feeling that Reed has taken the chance of baring parts of her life to share a message with the reader.  Love of all kinds can be painful, but the pain is worth the experience.  So is reading this book.

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