Further Collected Poems
by B. E. Stock

"...the new landscape
Is being unpacked, and the same eyes
Behold unfolding leaves and hear
A breeze that seems to speak in cadences
Of wordless comfort:"

In addition to the periodicals in which Stock’s poems appear, she’s published two chapbooks and a volume titled Collected Poems (2001). This new book represents work from that point through 2017. The poems are grouped under common themes. Among these are relationships, art, and religion. The poems are a mix of free and rhymed verse. They range from multiple page narrative pieces to short poems of a stanza or two. The memorable pieces in this collection employ sophisticated literary devices such as assonance, consonance, and internal rhyme to convey rhythm and sound.

Taken from the poem “Rooted,” the lines quoted above are a good example of these literary devices in use. Her skills can also be seen in “He Urges Her To Hesitate” when referencing a wedding ring:

Carry it in your pocket, bring it to the bottom of your dreams
To be tested against the color of your coral reef,
Your striped fish, the abundant weeds and rocky cliffs
I will never see.

The repetition of the consonant “c,” the internal rhymes of “reef,” “weeds,” and “see,” as well as “fish,” and “cliffs” all work in harmony to create a well-crafted, lyrical experience. Admittedly, in a volume containing over 100 poems, there are pieces that do not work as well as others. “Poetry Foundation” is a complaint which closes with a pair of trite couplets, while “The Maple Tree” and “Office Party” work too hard to rhyme to their detriment. Interestingly, the closing of the latter is reminiscent of Theodore Roethke’s “The Waking.” Stock is at her best, though, when the poems act as a mirror of our humanity.

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