Robert Zimmermann’s “From Where I Stand” is the first collection of poetry I’ve read from the author, and as such it’s my introduction to both his life and narrative style respectively.
I feel bad about saying that the collection as a whole didn’t gel with me quite as much as I wanted it to, though I appreciated that it was a short read and an insight into the author’s life and respective trials. I think of the collection of poems, there were five that stood out to me, while the rest felt like they had potential, but didn’t quite get off the ground. Zimmermann commands his use of line breaks and verse form structure well for most of the poems (a few are shaky when reading them back, because some truncated the image and ended on articles of the statements, which in my experience is a no-no in poetic structure – you always want to end on the action or verb or image that you’re conveying and have reasons behind that respective break for maximum impact).
But the biggest problem I saw among some of the poems, which is probably the reason why it didn’t gel with me, was the imagery felt lacking for the emotions conveyed. There’s a certain strength to using what images you can to convey the emotion, rather than the emotion being spelled out in the form – it’s like having the age old rule of writing: show don’t tell your audience what you’re thinking/feeling from an event, and allow the economy of words to portray it in that sense.
I really liked the poems “With Eyes Closed”, “A Storm on Two Fronts”, “Grey and Tattered” and “L.O.V.E.” But my favorite was probably “Benefit of A Morning Walk” which had some of the most potent lines contained in these stanzas:
“The sky, a fresco
painted on the world’s ceiling
with me, the only one
to take it all in.
The moment passed swiftly,
when the clouds parted
and the vibrant colors blended
into a monochromatic backdrop of
Nice progression of images there, indeed.
Overall, even if this didn’t quite hit me as much as I would’ve liked, I still would read more from Zimmermann’s compilations in the future.
Overall score: 2.5/5 stars
Note: I won this book from the author in a giveaway on BookLikes (my very first giveaway entered at that. =) )