Poems for All Occasions
by Linda Mangram
BookVenture Publishing, LLC

"Our friends remain important wherever we are.
We want to keep them close, not have them go far."

Just as the name implies, this book compiles a large number of poems written by the author to cover many of life’s moments and circumstances. Each of the poems is placed into one of three chapters based on their overall theme and message. The first chapter’s theme is “Inspirational,” offering several poems on the subject of faith and the power and influence of God in everyone’s life. Whether it’s learning to put control of life in God’s hands or a message of support in difficult times when even suicide is being complicated, this first collection offers a glimpse of hope and a way out through a path of love and faith.

The second chapter, “On the Lighter Side,” is meant to be more light-hearted and easy-going, providing humorous anecdotes or illustrating that being patient and level-headed with life’s many frustrations is not always as easy as people can make it sound. Here, the poet opens up and becomes more personal, describing her growing up in the South and inheriting that culture’s values or her strong dislike of snakes even while accepting that God made the world with a plan and a balance in mind. If the first chapter was written with helping others in mind, the second chapter goes a long way to illustrate the author’s humanity and need for support herself from loved ones at times. The third and final chapter, “Family and Friends,” contains odes to the people with whom the author has a close, personal relationship. While many of these are cheerful and written to celebrate others, there are also stories of strained relationships and struggling to make sense of family.

Written with a tight, rigid rhyming structure, these poems are easy to read and relate to, making them truly ideal for whatever occasion arises. Much of what is written in this collection is personal storytelling, and so readers will learn directly from the author’s experiences and perspective. This approach creates a human bond between writer and audience, allowing messages and meaning to sink in deeper and more easily. The language used is also accessible, which is no small feat given the tight tempo and rhyming scheme used by the author. Even with that imposition, the writing never stumbles over itself, putting a clear dialogue and understanding first before anything else.

One of the nice touches that really completes this volume, however, is the small accompaniments that appear alongside almost every single poem. The author includes a small picture to help visualize the contents of each poem. These pictures range from family photographs to personal memories to appropriately poignant or humorous visual aids. At the end of almost every poem is also the date when it was written and a small note explaining either her inspiration or further elaborating on the meaning of what she is attempting to convey through verse. Easy to read and with a wide array of subjects and emotions to portray, this is a breezy collection of poems that can lift up the reader during difficult times or give them someone to laugh with when frustration and tension mounts.

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