Depths of My Heart
by Patricia Junious-Hawkins
Trafford Publishing

"So let love flow from the depths of your heart
And God will be seen as the greater part
What comes from the depths of your heart
Will reach the hearts of others"

To scribble out a few lines of verse is no great achievement. After all, in modern poetry there are no concrete rules regarding form or substance, and even small children can throw a few words together and call it a poem to please a parent or teacher. But what separates real poetry from doggerel is the passion at its core. True, imagery and clever phrasing help give the poet's offering a recognizable shape, but without a heart a poem is merely a husk of empty words. The author obviously takes this crucial task as a poet seriously, for each entry in her slim volume of verse beats with life and emotion.

Junious-Hawkins' pen takes on a variety of subjects. The joys and frustrations of motherhood, the influence of close friends and family on her life, and reflections on ethnicity are frequent topics in her work. It is in this latter area, especially, that her writing shows the influence and power of luminaries such as Langston Hughes and Maya Angelou. Two of the finest pieces in the book, "Black Man" and "Wake Up Black Man," cry out movingly for change on both individual and societal levels. Yet the overwhelming majority of the poems in the collection revolve around the author's love for and devotion to God and his son Jesus Christ.

Readers expecting the atmospheric moodiness of someone like Charles Bukowski or the adroit verbiage of a T.S. Eliot will be taken aback by Junious-Hawkins' poems; her verse is straight-forward, easy to understand, and employs common rhyme schemes. But that is to be expected, because the author's intent seems to simply show others her heart and write "poetry that touches the soul."

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