Author Djehane Hassouna writes with an air of deep introspection, weaving a confession from the remnants of memory and feeling. Rather than seize an impulse, she blots the finer points of thought, reforming the products of acute awareness. As Hassouna states in the introduction, writing about her surroundings and capturing the stillness of any given moment are at the root of each poem. Therefore, the collection is less about artistry than the voicing of innocence; one which borders on credulity. Ruminations about friendship, rain, songbirds, knowledge, bills, time, and much more coalesce into a diary, a condensed commemoration that operates as a love letter to the author’s daughter. This bond is established early on in ‘Telepathy’, and continues to stir the framework of Hassouna’s repeated trepidation about the future. In many ways, this love acts as the pulse of the entire collection.
But the resulting lack of emotional range proves somewhat strenuous in the long run, as there is little poetic expression to let the reader’s eye feast on. There’s an absence of poetic devices and the kind of complex, alluring imagery that one would expect from such a collection. Instead, the author’s observations are broken down into lines to create the illusion of verse, but with no real intent. However, what does appear on the page is wrapped in elevated, rich language, and could spark an entire book dedicated to self-help. That’s because Hassouna’s spirit is serene, and draws from teachings on mindfulness. There’s a sense of wonder throughout, locked in meditations on the individual’s place in the universe and interactions with both nature and society. As such, RAINBOW OF EMOTIONS stimulates a soothing climate. As the collection progresses, the author peels back her layers a bit more, allowing the reader to interact with her doubts and fears. This is still done with a great deal of detachment, but by voicing concerns shared by all, Hassouna introduces a note of relatability to her work. These poems circle health, retirement, and the turbulent relationship with one’s own mortality.
In terms of flow, the poems are clumped together thematically, which causes them to blend into each other, disengaging the reader. While this structure is highly systematic, perhaps a little disorder would have served the collection better. Creating a seesaw of a journey by shifting from the beauty of a songbird to the flight of time, for example, would have alluded to the erratic trajectory of life, injecting a bit more vitality to the body of work. All in all, reading RAINBOW OF EMOTIONS is a lot like listening to an older family member contemplate the world and one’s place in it.
In her poetry collection RAINBOW OF EMOTIONS, Djehane Hassouna offers a series of poignant reflections with a distinctly didactic feel. Hopeful and innocent, her words encapsulate the essence of wishful thinking, tunneled from a place of profound, motherly love.
~Neil Czeszejko for IndieReader