By: James William Gaynor
Publisher: Nemeton Press
Publication Date: October 2016
Reviewed by: Diane Lunsford
Review Date: July 14, 2016
James W. Gaynor sets his poetry in motion and delivers his inner sentiments toward marriage, life and relationships in his new book Everything Becomes a Poem.
Wasting no time, Gaynor ramps his poetry journey with his opening: ‘That Thing No One Will Tell You.’ It is a direct and compact hit on the premise of the elephant in the room that no one seems to want to share. While it isn’t a dark pontification, it certainly lends pause for thought. Moving right along, Gaynor steeps his thoughts and guides the reader through a series of ‘small town’ theory, before changing course and delivering his opinion of the finality of a marriage gone south and the consummation of it all is to ‘Change the Locks.’
As the pages build in number, there is a sublime voice that resonates through the vehicle of his pen. Thematically, the prose has a consistent nuance of darkness. I give Mr. Gaynor props for delivering his theme clearly. My observations are that of a person who has perhaps tried the marriage route and discovered it was not for him. There is also a strong sense of trial and error; yet he defies the laws of gravity and bounces back one more time.
Gaynor sprinkles food for thought moments in his writings ranging from the concept of death and its five stages, ‘Five Stages of Death in the Morning’; only to redirect his audience in the next few pages by challenging the concept with ‘Street Smarts,’ a few stanzas that contain his perception of perhaps the homeless person who has more to say to the random passerby than that of a mindless orator down on his or her luck.
I was drawn to his take on the aging process and humankind’s unwillingness to accept the reality of time intersecting with youth in ‘No, Not Yet.’ This poem, in particular may be short in content, but is quite lofty in meaning. It addresses the climb toward reaching one’s goal; only to be faced with the actuality of ‘what is, is.’
I’ve not read any previous works by Mr. Gaynor. I find his work to be a bit on the dark side—a cup half empty sort of writing. That said, however, I give him credit for his delivery of poem upon poem with its (rather) jaded view to achieve perhaps what he set out to do: tell it how he sees it and leave it up to his audience to interpret the meaning. Perhaps I struggled more with poems such as: ‘The Secret to a Happy Married Life (for Men)’ as the overarching theme in this particular work (in my opinion) is to place one’s spouse on a pedestal and cherish her position… no matter what. I find this to be somewhat of a defeatist sentiment at the same time accolades are due given he raised my hackles which is, in the end, a sign of a writer who set out to solicit and succeed with reaction from the beholder. I believe Mr. Gaynor has a stronghold on the English language and knows how to place his words. I think his undertones throughout the body of this book of poetry lend way to perhaps an engaging (and dark) thriller work of fiction should he ever entertain the challenge of writing a novel.
Quill says: Everything Becomes a Poem provides an ample collection of food for thought for its audience.
1. Each poem is short - you get in, deliver your thoughts and get out. I must admit I felt an instant sense of darkness which continued to build the more I read. Was this intentional and perhaps was this therapeutic for you?
2. I found your views toward relationships somewhat jaded. Did you capture the inspiration to commit this to paper from personal experience (or observations from other’s experiences)? The two poems that come to mind are: “The Secret to a Happy Married Life (for Men) and “Changing the Locks.” You (or someone else)?
3. You have a direct opinion of death and bereavement. Was your inspiration to write “Notes on Condolence” a result of personal experience? There is somewhat of an insistence toward that the dead are dead and the focus should be on those who live on. Are you able to elaborate?
4. I enjoyed ‘Street Smarts.’ It reminded me of when I lived in Boston years ago and the many homeless people I would encounter on my walk to the Financial District. Is there a place in time where you have experienced a similar environment and was this your inspiration to set the record straight?
5. Do you suppose we as humans spend our life holding back for that penultimate moment (and when it arrives, the reality is too cumbersome to embrace the moment)? Is this why you wrote ‘No, Not Yet’?
6. Why the harsh judgment of Aphrodite? Is there an ‘Aphrodite’ in your past and is ‘Cocktails with Aphrodite’ an homage to her?
7. I got a chuckle out of your break-down of each of the astrological signs. What is your sign and how much stock do you put in the accuracy of the description?
8. What is your take on reunions—be them family, school, etc.? I detect a bit of sarcasm in ‘That Last Time We Were All Together.’
9. Thank you for the opportunity to read your catalogue of poetry. Are you working on your next project and if so, are you able to share more than a glimpse?