When I Was the Wind
by Hannah Lee Jones
June Road Press

"The wind and the road are your parents now.
Your new body is happening west of here."

The language of poetry is both emotion and experience distilled into one of its purest forms for readers. Therefore, it is meant to be digested in small, delectable bites so the reader can slowly savor any insights into the human psyche and heart. Jones' debut poetry collection is a testament to poetry in one of its most refreshingly raw yet refined forms. She speaks both to and of the "wilderness" within everyone and its external reflection in nature (depicted in the collection through the four cardinal directions). While there is much danger and uncertainty once one decides to follow the wilderness within, the author's words encourage and guide readers on a memorable and mystical journey to wander and "become the wind" so that they can unlearn "the constellations so that the individual stars become visible."

The poems instantly plunge the reader into primal, stark imagery that speaks of suffering and longing as well as love and the strength to either continue the quest onward or find one's way back in hauntingly beautiful, sometimes heartbreaking impressions. Poems like "Outside of Hamelin" clearly depict a couple of these themes. Yet, in other pieces, discovering the point beyond the words may require repeated readings, especially for those not as familiar with literary interpretation. Nonetheless, it is clear that the author wants her message and experiences to reach all her readers, as there is a "field notes" section at the end to assist one in understanding what the author is trying to evoke or draw upon. While this may be the author's debut collection of poems, the wisdom held within its pages is immortal and particularly relevant in a world where many feel they have lost their way.

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