Poet Jerry Lovelady loves language, the way words roll off the tongue and bounce on the ear. He has a talent for metaphor and alliteration, combined with a good sense of timing. The poems in his GRIEF AND HER THREE SISTERS run the gambit from silly lyrics to deeply introspective pieces. Lovelady is at his best when he digs deep. The book is broken up into four parts. The first part, “The River Gods,” draws its inspiration from the natural world, from sunrises to rain storms to philosophical musings on mowing the backyard. Pieces like “Nature Holds Us” and “The Stillness of the Morning” use nature metaphors and imagery to tackle abstract concepts. Lovelady’s use of personification for forces of nature and emotions, like grief and joy, are reoccurring themes in his work.
Part Two, “Love’s Blind Shambling”, dwells on affairs of the heart, though Lovelady’s subject matter extends beyond romance to include spirit and memory. Here, Love is a “friendly ninja” waiting in an ambush. The best of the lot is a simple ode to the Lover’s Bridge in Paris and “More Than Enough Love,” which finds inspiration in familial bonds and Christmas memories. Part Three, “A Rhapsody for Contrite Hearts”, examines heartbreak and loss in its many incarnations. Here, Lovelady’s reverence for the art form is displayed in pieces like “Such Is Poetry,” where he notes, “cryptically sacred, is poetry.”
The poems in Part Four, “Simple Songs of Meager Self-Awareness”, are more reflective. The verse “Grief and Her Three Sisters” continues Lovelady’s penchant for personification. Grief and her sisters, Memory, Vain Hope, and False Pride, stir up the past like a fermented stew. Yet Nature comes through in the end, Lovelady notes. “How lucky that little bird is to have found the courage to keep searching for what she needed.” Some poems in the collection pack a punch and strike a nerve. But others are mere wordplay, purple prose, and “clever” rhymes, which lessens the power of Lovelady’s more poignant work. A slimmer volume with tighter curation would have made GRIEF AND HER THREE SISTERS a more rewarding collection.
Powerful poems examine love and loss from many angles in Jerry Lovelady’s GRIEF AND HER THREE SISTERS, a collection that offers moments of captivating natural imagery, creative metaphors, and clever wordplay.
~Rob Errera for IndieReader