Distrubing Reality
by Tad Paynter III

"Who really won, I ask, as I near the end of this race
A worthy adversary named greed that has no face."

The poems contained in this collection are designed to challenge the reader’s expectations, causing them to look at the world around them in a new way. There are tales of ghosts and tragic murders but also of rough characters with hearts of gold on the inside, so that early on the reader learns not to trust their first impression of a person or situation. As the poems go by, the author also opens up to provide some personal opinions on American politics and respect for the members of the various branches of the military. Not always written to end happily or to come across in a straightforward manner, each poem compels readers to learn to see things from both sides.

With several dozen poems compiled into this one book, it’s impossible not to be surprised by the author’s clever storytelling at least a handful of times while reading through this anthology. While using a steady rhyme structure as the engine for storytelling, the author plays with the meter to create stanzas with odd-numbered lines—even if the rhyme remains even. What is most impressive is the poet’s ability to tell such a detailed and tightly woven story in this fashion, and not only do that but lead the reader down one path before revealing that things are not necessarily as they seem to be. In a matter of just a couple of pages, a narrative magic trick is performed, certain to surprise and delight the audience. With some flourish of language and a wealth of interesting stories to tell, this is a book of quality poetry for those who prefer a good story rather than a heart-to-heart with the writer.

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