Releasing the Days
Releasing the Days by Stephen Meadows
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

I’ll admit I’m a little disappointed with “Releasing the Days.” I found many of the poems included were filler, lacking a sense of imagery and evocative resonance to really connect with me. There are themes of nature and memory, and one can tell that the author dedicates the poems to strong influences as the work goes forward, but I found many of the poems, save for a select few, lacked enough punch to carry home some of the themes Meadows touches upon.

The poems are a collection of the author’s work over a 30-year span, which I have to say impressed me as far as the span went. There were some poems that really stood out to me as far as evoking a sense of person and place. Poems that evoked a sense of person really appealed to me. “Rena at 84” depicted an elderly woman in a photograph and was among the strongest in the collection, to me, for its marked imagery. “Her pruned fingers turned/in the sun’s soft blossom eddying the way things will/ that have lost the way to go.” “Blues for Juanito”, “Grandfather,” “In the Water for Stones” and “Alejandro” also caught my attention in those measures, among a few. Certain event poems, like “The Burial,” I thought were strong in tone and evoked a certain sense of place and momentary imaging.

The problem I had with the collection, however, was that none of the poems were really as cohesive in terms of their connection or flow, and I felt many of them ended before they truly set the stage for what they were depicting. I think as the collection went forward, the poems became stronger in narrative, but there are many that, even in the structuring they had with the breaks in the lines/stanzas, the form didn’t do much to play upon the strengths of the poems.

It’s an interesting collection to read through, but unfortunately didn’t click with me as much as I thought it would.

Overall score: 2/5

Note: I received this as an ARC from NetGalley, from the publisher Heyday.

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