Sunday, April 03, 2011

IMAGINING THE SELF, Poems by Laverne Frith

Review of IMAGINING THE SELF, Poems by Laverne Frith, Cherry Grove Collections, an imprint of WordTech Communications, PO Box 541106, Cincinnati, Ohio 45254-1106,, $18, available on, 88 pages, 2011

Review by Barbara Bialick

Laverne Frith, of Sacramento, California, is the husband of poet Carol Frith, who has also been reviewed on these pages. He is co-editor of “Ekphrasis”, a journal of ekphrastic poems, each of which focuses on a single work of art. He’s also a monthly poetry columnist for “Senior Magazine”, among other accolades to be mentioned later.

Many of the poems in this book rest on abstract ideas and images of life experiences writing poetry about art and about poetry itself. To read the poems is to define them, such as in the following examples:

In “Why Poetry?” he writes “I rather think we challenge/imagination, capability/that we drive the mind/into fields of metaphorical/horrors and joys/that there is something/redemptive about process,,,”

He even defines his own self this way as in “Exhibit Me in a Well-Lit Window (after ‘The Thinker’ by Rodin)”: “as exotically as I command/in my musings/flaunt my patina/changeable as a chameleon’s/…reveal the unfulfilled/dream/in my hidden eyes.”
And further delving into the mystery of the arts in “The Hotel Window” (after Edward Hopper)”: “pure loneliness…/something she sits and endures each time anew,/relearning the bitter lessons of regret…”

As Judy Halebsky says on the back of the book, “Frith reads our emotional lives through the natural world and captures moments of insight…The poems…are in equal measure brave and gentle, facing up to the imperfections in our lives and finding in them points of illumination….”

Frith has also published chapbooks from Talent House, White Heron Press, and Finishing Line Press and a photography and poetry chapbook from Rattlesnake Press. He is a Grand Prize winner two times in the Artists Embassy International Dancing Poetry competitions. He and his wife wrote “Practical Poetry—A Guide for Poets.”

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