|Raves and Reviews
Read what reviewers are saying about:
View from the Middle of the Road IV Pathway to Dreams
View from the Middle of the Road IV: Pathway to Dreams
Xavier Clark, Daniel Y. Harris, Pete Klimek, Clifford D. Ponder
P.R.A Publishing (2009)
Reviewed by William Phenn for Reader Views (11/09)
Beginning with Xavier Clark and right on through the other three poets, "View from the Middle of
the Road IV: Pathway to Dreams" is strictly male-dominated. In her introduction, Lucinda Clark
explains this by telling the reader that she wanted to show the sensitive side of the male species. She
sets out to prove that men can and do have a knack for writing poetry.
Daniel Y. Harris is the second writer to be featured in this 65-page compilation of various styles of
masculine poetry. His work has been featured in many magazines and journals throughout the land.
His poetry style is different and shows his diversity. From "Baseball" to "The Last Romantic," his
work is colorful, descriptive and thought-provoking. Mr. Harris is very family oriented in his poetry
as is evidenced in his dedications. His offering to this volume gave it an inspiring shot in the arm.
Pete Klimek is the third poet to add his fare to this anthology. His musical background allows him
the insight to write with a song in his heart, as is the case in his offering, "Somebody Cares." Pete
has such a unique background, from his days in Prague to his migration to South Africa. His work
reflects his love of music and his South African home.
Last but not least is the fine work of Clifford D. Ponder, a man that has written over one-thousand
poems. Clifford says that his work is a template through which one may view the effect of time. His
poem "Buying a Piece of Time" depicts this exact feeling. With as many poems as Mr. Ponder
wrote, it was disappointing not to see more of them offered here, but sometimes that can't be helped.
"View from the Middle of the Road IV: Pathway to Dreams" was quite diverse and thought-
provoking to say the least. I enjoyed most of the offerings of three out of the four poets and I will
leave you to wonder which one it was that I didn't enjoy. With only 65-pages in its entirety, it will
make for a very fast read if you are on a bus or plane. I enjoyed it and gave it a B as to grade point.
This is because, when you put together an anthology, you can never please all of the people with all
of the authors' works. We are all different, and as such, our tastes vary.
Conversations at the Nursing Home: A Mother, a Daughter, and Alzheimer's
PRA Publishing (2006)
Reviewed by Debra Gaynor for Reader Views
"Conversations at the Nursing Home" is a journal filled with wisdom in the form of poetry and thoughts about the visits to her mother. Deanna Shapiro's mother was a victim of Alzheimer's. She spent the last fourteen months of her life in a nursing home. Ms. Shapiro shares with her readers the conversations she had with her mother during those visits. I found "How It Came About" especially touching. From the moment I picked up this book I knew it was written for me. Only someone else who has experience Alzheimer's firsthand can truly understand the pain and that the whole family is the victim. Ms. Shapiro points out something that I also learned, we must find humor to be compassionate. My dad is one of seven children; four have the diagnosis of this dreaded disease. At this point, I see no signs in my father. I am the Health Care Surrogate of my Aunt Libby; on her next birthday she will be 89. She has been in a nursing home approximately 10 years, and her mind has outlived her body. This book speaks poignantly to the situation many of us find ourselves in.
Ms Shapiro is an excellent writer and speaks to the heart of the situation. I commend her for sharing her story. My heart aches for her loss and rejoices that she has the strength and spirit to serve her mother. "Conversations at the Nursing Home" is well written. This should be required reading for doctors, nurses and all who have aging parents or who will have someday. I highly recommend it to all.
Poet Remembers Mother's Final Lucid
Seven Days Vermont Weekly
Releasing the past
Midwest Book Review- Laurel's Bookshelf
Echoes in Exile
P.O. Box 211701, Martinez, GA 30917
Sheema Kalbasi's credentials are impressive: award winning Iranian-born poet; human rights activist; literary translator; Director of Dialogue of Nations through Poetry in Translation; Director of Poetry of Iranian Women Project; passionate and outspoken defender of ethnic and religious minorities' rights. This latest book has drawn high praise from critics internationally, praise that is well deserved. Skillfully, through words, Ms. Kalbasi has transformed sorrow and loss into forged steel. She writes of love, loss, exile, and brave women who protect their children and defuse hate through their very existence.
Kalbasi lives in the U.S. now but honors her Iranian heritage. In this excerpt from "Dancing Tango" she remembers the city of Esphahan and the Zayandehrood River:
Time is eternity, my dignity
resides in yours and your
words are wonders that I count
as precious coins kept quietly
in the pockets of my ears.
"Nothing" shares the poet's sorrow at witnessing the destruction of a people and their ancient culture, all reported stoically and systematically in the news:
The bombs, lights that blind, and Damascus,
Burning after Teheran. Sisters calling in despair,
Brothers ambivalent to the arms of infidels. Nothing
But children die, and journalists are filming for a
"Kaddish" is a powerful poem best read in its entirety:
And on the eighth day
God created his bloody sore,
the Middle East
Where only the streets
speak of the dead,
where the buttercups
cups, cups are red
where bodies are tossed
in oil, oil,
hot hot oil.
Don't burn your finger God
on the ziz,
red, red ziz. (ziz — flower, cleft, or pass)
Allah-o-Akbar! (God is great.)
"For Women of Afghanistan" is a hard truth, a reality most people of the Western world give less than passing thought. In few words, this excerpt reveals much:
As I walk in the streets of Kabul,
behind the painted windows,
there are broken hearts, broken women.
If they don't have any male family to accompany them,
they die of hunger while begging for bread,
the former teachers, doctors, professors
are today nothing but walking hungry houses.
This excerpt from "Mama in the War" extols the quiet courage of women in all wars, everywhere through time. Such women, standing firm without weapons amidst war's chaos, are the real heroes and not the presidents, potentates, politicians, or warriors:
You are my president, mama,
you and all those women
and still defend their children
against the blinded-with-hatred
soldiers of death
all around the world.
"Eternal Friendship" is brief and to the point. Nothing is eternal:
No! Friendships are not eternal. Nothing is eternal. Not
family, not friendships, not love, not lust. Nothing...not
even the wandering eyes that will read these lines in
Sheema Kalbasi misses her homeland, her ancient culture and its beautiful legacy. She shares her loss and sorrow, from exile, through poetry, because she prefers exile to slavery or death. Echoes in Exile is an exceptional work and highly recommended.
Other sites that list reviews
Roger Humes-Reconciliation-Echoes Book Review dated January 30, 2007
Persian Journal-Book Review by Alan Corkish
Persian Mirror- Book Review- dated December 5, 2006
Payvand's Iran News-Book Review dated December 6, 2006
The simplicity of Sheema Kalbasi's work masks an anger that simmers below the surface of many of her poems, but the anger is always tempered with profound sadness at the senselessness of it all, her pity for those helpless innocents who suffer most and are forgotten all too soon is uppermost.
Wilfred Owen, probably the greatest anti-war poet ever, wrote about his poetry that 'My subject is War and the pity of War. The Poetry is in the pity." In her poem Nothing Kalbasi writes the line; 'children die, and journalists are filming for a deadline'... simple words that encapsulate the futility of it all, words that move me deeply because like Owens' work, the poetry is in the pity... But these 'Echoes in Exile' are not, in the main, reflections on war, they are touching snapshots of her family, hymns to other exiles, reflections on humanity, explorations of her own sensuality and glimpses into her private meditations, at times she lets the reader get so close that I feel that she is literally reaching out to touch me.
The poems in this magnificent collection are expansive and profound and yet are also, in one sense, ambiguous; they deserve an audience who will appreciate their simplicity and their depth, wherein their inherent ambiguity lies. I find myself memorizing large sections without even realizing I am doing it and exploring these memories repeatedly in moments of solitude, words and phrases return to haunt me provocatively.
If you are among the few who know that poetry is the highest of all the arts, if you are one of those special people who need stimulating with an excess of profundity, then this is a work you will cherish and return to time and again; with love in your heart and with your wisdom multiplied a thousand fold.
-- Alan Corkish
Many are the feelings and sensations 'echoing'—nearly overflowing—from this moving collection. Like the intimate bond the author herself describes as connecting the world of dreams and the world of reality, her verses run on the thin edge between a subtle series of opposites. Resignation and hope, sorrow and joy, loneliness and communion, loss and conquest, desire and aversion, war and peace: all these confront each other, repel each other but never separate completely, yet interlace weaving the arduous story of the poet. By using words now sweet but stern, now sharp but responsive—however always in a straight diction, without frills—Sheema Kalbasi retraces her past, the hard trip of a young girl who fled from her tormented home country, that 'modern' Iran she still likes to call the Ancient Persia, to search for a new home, a new life, her freedom.
So Mighty Are the Stories ... but likewise she can look at the present and the future with neat realism, as well as with intact wonder, so that her Mel lowly-poetical voice streams with messages not only of despondency and denunciation, but also of courage and anticipation. These Echoes In Exile then turn into the author's chant of liberation, revealing her self-sustaining force before the hatred and the division ubiquitous in the world and afflicting—above all— her beloved Middle East.
From line to line the refugee, the 'nobody' she used to name herself at the time of her flight, they all show up in their vigor and radiance, disclosing to us the true identity of the poet and her discreet, unique sensuality—not screamed out, just whispered. So a clear-cut figure and a transparent character finally come to light—simply those of a woman deeply able and willing to love.
Already, this new century seems as deafened by ideological clamor as the last, plagued by residues of cultural and literary separatism sometimes bordering on a kind of 'aesthetic apartheid'. For nations increasingly brought face-to-face across cultural divides - chasms that are now as much internal as external - the need for conversation, on its many levels, has never been more essential. Poetry, with its potential for radical openness and self-revelation, is an ideal prompt and vehicle for that conversation. Many kinds of voice continue to lie dormant in the English-speaking world; but we have at least begun to witness, in more recent times, some breakings of silence. In its quiet, intimate way, 'Echoes in Exile' reverberates with that desire to speak up. Of Iranian descent, Kalbasi is one of a swelling stream of poets now beginning to establish the conversation's many-sidedness.
-Dr. Mario Petrucci,award winning poet and writer
"Poet Lucinda Clark, in her recently published book, takes readers on a journey through one woman's life. Divided into five sections with multiple poems in each section, the poetry reflects the struggles and joy of living in modern society with all of its social and family obligations, shadows of prejudice and wanting a fulfilled life in spite of the challenges. View from the Middle of the Road Where the Greenest Grass Grows is a book worth pondering. A highly recommended read!"
-- USA Book News, September 2004
"This is a well done book of poetry—very enlightening and refreshing to read. Many will relate to the life experiences and deep thoughts transferred to paper. Each poem is as revealing and reflective as a mirror. We see ourselves and breathe a sigh of relief that someone else has been there. The revelations cause each of us to aspire for more... more hope, more strength, more wisdom..."
"I enjoyed the poems giving tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King and what he stood for and how his teachings impacted our lives. I also appreciated the poems included, written by the author's children. View from the Middle of the Road was a consortium of thoughts on life, society, and our place in both."
--Tee C. Royal, Rawsista Reviewers
"Inspirational poetry illuminates the human condition in all its struggles, frustrations and joy. View from the Middle of the Road offers readers a glimpse into one woman's views on life, race, equality, family and trust. There is much to ponder in Clark's work."
--USA Book News
Edited by Brenda Barratto and with contributions by Jessica and Xavier Clark, View From The Middle Of The Road: Where The Greenest Grass Grows, is a compilation of poetry by Lucinda J. Clark and documents her ability to use lyrical, powerful, revealing word images to convey emotions, ideas, and concepts that resonate in the mind of her readers. Wake-Up Call:
I awoke one morning
With a strong sense of longing
in my heart.
I have everything.
A great family
A great house
A great car
Accomplishment and renown.
Yet somehow it all seems
shallow and empty,
Materialistic and over done.
For spiritually I have been shaken
Physically weakened from pondering the question,
What have they done?
It was in that very moment
A realization did come.
That the world has many illusions
And now I have none.
--Midwest Review, February 2005
Reading these poems is surely one of the "bright spots on the road". We share in the universal journey by realizing that, while we go it "alone", we are not.
Brenda Baratto, editor View From the Middle of the Road
Libraries featuring View from the Middle of the Road
ISBN : 0972770364
Price : $ 10.00
RAWSISTAZ Book Reviews
In her first volume of View from the Middle of the Road, author Lucinda Clark took readers on a journey through life in poems. In volume II, Clark actually took to the road and found poets in different areas of the United States to showcase their talents in an anthology that covers their life experiences. The topics covered include love, life, politics, death, chocolate and spirit.
In his appropriately titled section, Makal Ani, a native South Carolinian, poignantly speaks from things of the heart in eleven poems. One of my favorites, "When She Cries", gives a look at how sharing in a relationship should be; when one suffers, the other does also. Another favorite, "Lustful Haikus", tells the difference between lust and love.
In her section, Lucinda Clark, a native of Pennsylvania, showcases her own poems that tell of different aspects of the American life. The first is the one that catches my eye; "A Times Table Tale" tells eloquently how we get time, how we use time and then it gently nudges you to reflect on the choices we have made.
In the third section, Robert Ward, a native North Carolinian, engages us in thoughts of the spirit. "Victory of the Spirit" captures the essence of the battle waged between good and evil every day. He poetically puts into words what many may miss in the Bible--the Word of God is your weapon against the enemy; believe in it, mediate on it and use it.
New Yorker Toni Quest composed the fourth and final section of the anthology. Her section, "trips the light fantastic" contains poems that are short and upbeat. Her first poem is called "Chocolate," which covers her love for it and captures my attention right away. There are not many women who can't relate to the love and seductiveness of chocolate.
VIEW FROM A THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD - Volume II U.S. in Us offers an intense look at life from some relatively new poets on the literary scene. In this compilation, Clark has given each one a chance to shine. I was enthralled by this collection of poetry that I found at times humorous, reflective and empowering. I believe lovers of poetry will find this a nice addition to their collections, as well as introduction to some new works on the horizon.
Reviewed by Brenda Lisbon
of The RAWSISTAZ Reviewers
- July 29 ,2007
The RAWSISTAZ Review
Click for larger image
- ISBN-10: 0982140703
- ISBN-13: 978-0982140703
$10.00 Buy at Amazon
Male Poets Share Their Voices and Views in New Anthology
Male poetry is vivid, challenging, introspective, and life-affirming. In the latest "View from the Middle of the Road" anthology, publisher Lucinda Clark decided it was time to give men a voice, and their poetry reflects how much they have to say.
Martinez, GA Four diverse male poets lend their voices to a dynamic new poetry anthology, the fourth in a series of cutting-edge collections. Experience, learn, smile, and heal through the pages of P.R.A. Publishing's "View from the Middle of the Road, Vol. IV: Pathway to Dreams" (ISBN 9780982140703), P.R.A. Publishing, 2009).
"View from the Middle of the Road, Vol. IV: Pathway to Dreams" is the latest offering in P.R.A. Publishing's series of poetry anthologies. This newest volume allows a diverse group of men to share their work and perspectives on similar and wide-ranging topics. Lucinda Clark, owner of P.R.A. Publishing, explained in a recent interview with Reader Views, "These gentlemen will touch lives because they shared their words in a place that can only increase the diversity of their audience."
The poets and their works are all the richer by being included in this diverse offering. Xavier Clark is a new poet, publishing one of his first poems in this collection. Daniel Harris deals with love, life, and history. Pete Klimek write about love, loss, and social issues, and Clifford Ponder explores life and social ills, and pays tribute to the unsung heroines of the present. The poets' backgrounds, culture, ages, religious affiliations, and personal experiences influence their writing, yet many of their themes are universal. As Xavier Clark said recently in an interview, "Well, what is there besides life and love? They are honestly the only things worth talking about."
The poems have diverse subjects as evidenced by their titles, including Harris' "Baseball," Klimek's "Social Revolutionaries," Clark's "Follow," and Ponder's, "Buying a Piece of Time." Harris' poetry is often family-oriented, while Klimek draws substantially upon his musical background and his South African home. Ponder, author of over one thousand poems, here uses his work as a template through which to view the effects of time.
This all-male anthology provides thought and pleasure for readers of all tastes and genders. In her introduction, Lucinda Clark states that she wanted to show the sensitive side of men. The collection highlights that sensitive side, but it also reveals how men accept, overcome, and process their experiences, eventually creating meaning from them, meaning deftly, subtly, and intricately weaved into poetry that delights and inspires, makes the heart sing, and the mind reflect. From the middle of the road, these poets provide a fascinating view.
About the Authors
"View from the Middle of the Road, Vol. IV: Pathway to Dreams" is an anthology featuring the works of four male poets, Xavier Clark, Daniel Harris, Pete Klimek, and Clifford Ponder. It is the fourth volume in the series produced by Lucinda Clark of P.R.A. Publishing. Biographies, photos, and an informative new interview with the publisher and authors can be enjoyed at http://www.readerviews.com/InterviewClarkHarrisetal.html
"View from the Middle of the Road, Vol. IV: Pathway to Dreams" (ISBN 9780982140703, P.R.A. Publishing, 2009) can be purchased through local and online bookstores. For more information, visit www.prapublishing.com. Publicity contact: www.ReaderViews.com. Review copies available upon request.
More Reviews Reader Views (11/09)