Sunday, July 16, 2017

A Poetry Collection Worth Reading



Ronda Miller's latest book of Poetry has recently been released. WaterSigns follows an earlier success titled Moonstain, a book I read multiple times and thoroughly enjoyed. So, I looked forward to swimming my way through WaterSigns, poem by poem. I was not disappointed. In fact, just the opposite.

In the foreword of the book, Ronda Miller says "...emotion flows like water," and I found it to also be true that her poems have a flowing trait to them. They move fluidly, line by line, bringing the reader much to digest and like. 

A mystery writer, Louise Penny, wrote a piece of dialogue spoken by a poet that I have thought of often. It came to me again when reading WaterSigns. The old poet in the book says "Poetry begins with a lump in the throat."  Many of Ronda Miller's poems must have begun that way. More than one brought a lump to the throat to this reader, as well. 

The book is divided into sections, each one headed by a very fine black and white photograph by Crystal Socha.  Sections are titled Aquifer, Confluence, Raindrops, Mirage and Reservoir. Each section is filled with poems about nature, people and life as seen through the eyes and memories of the poet. She intertwines the high plains of her childhood and memories with raw emotion. Her poems give a sense of place, are visual and filled with sensory details. They are sometimes touching, sometimes surprising but always from the poet's heart.

To conclude the foreword of her book, Ronda Miller says "I don't write poems, they right me." 

I especially liked a poem about her grandmother's glasses and one that shows Grandmother standing against the wind. In "Harvest," we see a hired man who is kind to children but has another side, as well. One titled "In Japan" made me laugh and "The One" wrought sympathy from me. Ronda Miller bares her soul in these and other poems. 

WaterSigns can be ordered from Meadowlark Books with free shipping through July 2017.  Or order WaterSigns at Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Kansas readers can find the book at The Raven Bookstore in Lawrence and at Ellen Plumb's City Bookstore in Emporia.

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