"Why must I suffer the spectral range I see?
From one end to the other
Of this sickening, joyous, heart ripping, heart leaping ride"

After having shared her work among close friends and loved ones, the author of this brief collection of poetry is publishing it to a wider audience for the first time. Containing a dozen poems, 15 illustrations, and a segment in the back of the book for readers to use however they like, this book will stimulate the mind, the eye, and the imagination.

Each of the poems deals with realationships, about making connections with people and maintaining them as they mature into love or require redirection away from paths of hurt and pain. At times, they tell of a relationship lost, a reminiscing for someone who is no longer around, and the yearning for a reunion. The intense emotions carry from poem to poem as they swing through ups and downs. Flanking each of the poems are a series of illustrations that are evocative in their imagery, representing concepts or ideas rather than serving as a direct visual accompaniment to the poetry itself. Each drawing is done in monochromatic pencil and provides a mood to the poem that it bookends.

At the end of the book is a unique section that is designed as a space for the reader. With mostly blank pages, the reader is encouraged to use this chapter for whatever they feel compelled to do—whether it is a drawing, a poem of their own, or just a journaling space that allows them to express themselves in the same space as the poet herself. This section brings the book full circle, allowing reader and audience to both share their emotions within the same pages.

Often wistful but with a knowing demeanor that doesn’t ask for pity, this short collection of verse makes strong use of imagery in order to evoke a scene in the reader’s mind. The vocabulary is straightforward, and the structure of the poems varies in regard to rhyme, meter, and message, creating a read that is always accessible and fresh. Most readers should find it easy to personally relate to at least one or two of the poems, but the author’s style opens up and reads well enough that the entire collection will create empathy. Because there are just a few poems in this book, it is very possible to read from start to finish in a short time. However, each selection is worthy of more than one reading as well as reflection so that one can compare it to personal experiences.

Readers will find the space at the end of the book reserved for them to be a thoughtful touch, even if they don’t make use of it as encouraged. While it is common to see poetry paired with illustrations, and certainly common to see blank pages at the end of the book, actually dedicating them to that purpose is a welcome addition and helps blur the line between creator and consumer. Rosa Mae’s emotional honesty, structural flexibility, and vivid vocabulary have helped create a bundle of poems that may be over too soon for some but will definitely stay rooted in the mind of readers and demand to be revisited from time to time.

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