Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Life: The Beautiful Struggle by John J. Deleo

Life: The Beautiful Struggle
John J. Deleo
Dade City, Florida

REVIEW BY Renee Schwiesow

“Life: The Beautiful Struggle,” in its third edition opens with sixteen pages of what Deleo refers to as “Reflections.” These aphorisms are printed as original adages that are meant to inspire us to contemplation. Deleo includes such sayings as:

Rome was not conquered, it committed suicide


Being clever is not a virtue but it can buy you time

As a lead-in to the poetry, Deleo ends with a somewhat witty final thought:

Man cannot live by one-liners alone

And with this he segues into his poetry and prose. What follows are Deleo’s contemplations on life, love, and relationships set into short snippets, one strophe wanderings along his journey. And, indeed, he has a poem entitled “The Journey”

The night is darker now,
the sun more my enemy than my friend.
Where did that young boy go?
Our blood ran hotter then. . .
an empty canvas, all the colors yet to come.

His language is basic, the words hung by wooden pins from a bare rope clothesline, rather than strung on silk, making his thoughts accessible to the reader looking for something straight forward, albeit borderline cliché. He speaks often about colors, and in lines here and there we see glimmers of the spectrum begin to emerge. And though he may not paint us a rainbow of imagery, we hear him tell us that he has seen the rainbow and the shooting star.

A fan of the Massachusetts born, Emily Dickinson, Deleo shares his wish for her talent, for her vision in “Emily,”

Emily, dear,
the ease by which you penned your poems
leaves me breathless and adoring.
For try as I might, the energy to write
even one good line makes me appreciate
the treasure of thought and expression you were!
And gives this restless poet pause
in search of rhyme without flaw.

Deleo’s contributing editor, Gary Wroblewski, shares his work in the last few pages of the book. Wroblewski’s poems are longer than Deleo’s one-strophe snippets, and while not written in strict form, he does employ rhyme. He writes of war, friends, and life’s evolution. Wroblewski’s work carries with it his own brand of “truisms” and wisdom he’s gleaned over his lifetime.

Deleo and his editor, Wroblewski, have compiled for the reader “food for thought,” in an honest and to-the-point manner.

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