The First Piece of the Puzzle
by Jean L. Embry
Trafford Publishing

"As I gaze out of my dining room window
I see the silver mist cast upon the
dogwood tree"

Poetry about celebrating life and looking at things with optimism are collected in this volume, with chapters dedicated to spirituality, memory, love, and dreams. Each poem within these chapters tells its own story, relating an experience of the author’s whether it’s a situation at work, enjoying the sights of nature, or a scary trip to the hospital with an injured toenail. The selections collected in this book are all straight from the poet’s experiences and perspective, creating an intimate relationship with the author and the audience. From awkward situations in the classroom to a trilogy of strange dreams with ambiguous meaning, every phase of life is represented to give readers a clear picture of the poet and the way that she sees the world and life.

From just the first few poems, it’s easy to feel like the reader has made friends with the author. Her natural affability and lust for life jump off the page and are infectious. By the time readers have finished this book, they will have smiled and laughed many times and feel close to someone just through the words on the page. There is also a playful use of fonts and formatting to change things up and add to the personal touches on display in these poems, which also goes a long way in making the poetry feel personalized. These selections are entertaining, endearing, and evocative, creating an easy bond between book and audience that can often be a challenge for other authors to establish. Embry holds nothing back and puts her heart on the page, which creates a situation where the poetry is at its most effective at reaching out to others.

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