SEASONS DEFINED: A REVIEW

dsc01041

Like the birds on the cover of ‘Seasons Defined’ my soul has taken flight this summer, and with various twists, turns, swoops and sweeps my inner consciousness has been on a mysterious journey. It is an intangible experience, an inexplicable sensation without one specific cause.

Along the way two creative art pieces have become my friends; both affecting me deeply and I’ve returned to them often.

The first is a unique poetry book which I won in a Giveaway by Khaya Ronkainen. This chapbook * travelled from Scandinavia, leaving Finland early summer, only to return with me to Sweden where I savoured it in peace and serenity.

Beautifully bound with golden ribbon and tag, I unwrapped ‘Seasons Defined’ with reverential care and with sweet expectation dipped into the book. Within are sixteen exquisite poems capturing the magic of the seasons in Finland; there follows an exploration of the wilderness, the landscapes, the weather, the wildlife.

‘Hoppers chirp
Bees hum

Fostering species
Flowers bloom

Cotton clouds
Blot the sky’  (From ‘This is Country’)

Furthermore the poems become an exploration of oneself and ultimately love! This collection is a moving tribute to a country Khaya embraced as her own, as well as recognising her roots, and some poems tenderly capture the loving couple of Khaya and her husband.

we quench our thirst from a well of love
and agree, love is a beautiful thing

we dine outdoors with birds singing
and agree, it’s time to dance’  (From ‘Wilderness, My Friend’)

Life in all its facets is celebrated throughout!

As Khaya wrote in a personal handwritten inscription to me, I did indeed recognise a little, or rather a lot, of Sweden and its wilderness within the poems. I related directly to the natural world she so eloquently and vividly describes and through her words I saw the wonderful nature anew.

Whilst depicting the enchanting and bewitching seasons, Khaya’s work struck a deeper chord with me as she spoke of the solitude of the wilderness. Not to be confused with loneliness; this is an enriching, rewarding solitude that brings deeper understanding of the world and oneself.

‘I embrace silence.’  (From ‘At the Crack of Dawn’)

‘Deep in the wilderness, I stumble
The track under a canopy of spruce
Draped in snow leads to paradise

Only imagination stands between
man and reality, for in dreamland
Solitude is tangible.’  ( From ‘Winter Dream’)

The very solitude that enveloped me in its soothing arms during the summer and one which is not yet ready to release its clasp.

img_2750

Photo by Irina Kolomijets

Throughout the poems, Khaya’s sense of wonder and joy at the nature of Finland is captured with  awe and exhilaration. Her unique insight and approach is explained by the fact that Khaya is originally from South Africa. The variances of the Finnish seasons is a world away from ones experienced in the southern hemisphere. Furthermore, her poetry is influenced to a certain degree by the strong tradition of oral storytelling of the Xhosa people. I feel that within the beats of the poems there is a song to be heard, the pulse of the phrases take on a life of their own as they become all-encompassing, over-arching each other. This becomes more evident with each reading, when hidden depths are slowly unfurled.

I cannot thank Khaya enough for this precious Giveaway of both her first poetry chapbook and also of the highly unusual broadside ** of the poem ‘Summer’ with original artwork.

img_2742.jpg

To read more about Khaya & her poetry as well as to buy the print version of ‘Seasons Defined’ click here to go to her website.

‘Seasons Defined’ is also available as an ebook on Amazon UK or Amazon US.

* If like me, you’ve never come across the word Chapbook before, this is an expression from North America and refers to a small paper-covered booklet, typically containing poetry or fiction.

** Broadside were traditionally posters, announcing events or proclamations, commentary in the form of ballads, or simply advertisements.

Finally just as Khaya’s poetry moves me so does the instrumental composition below. Just as the poetry embedded itself within me, so did the music of ‘Awakening’.

From the initial crackle of an old vinyl, the quiet haunting tones of the first bars rise to a hypnotising melody that never fails to lift my heart and mood. The musical ‘Awakening’ mirrors a shift and rekindling of my conscious self.

One comment on youtube writes of ‘Awakening’:

‘Absolutely beautiful, both music and cover. The title is so apt as the shining melody, gently and persistently get brighter. The darker background fights but loses. Five stars Sammy.’

‘TIMELESS ECHOES’ – Balroop Singh

514tAGiDOqL

Titles are so important and this is true for poetry books as well. As soon as I saw the cover for Balroop Singh’s latest book I felt myself floating on its ethereal image and title – ‘Timeless Echoes’.

All through our lives we leave traces … echoes … of ourselves, our thoughts, emotions. In this poetry collection, her third book of poems, Balroop explores the ones that we cannot express, share openly with others.

‘Some secrets have to remain buried because they are ours
We do share them but only with the stars
The tears that guarded them were as precious as flowers
Soothing like balm on festering scars.’

The book description eloquently captures the premise for the collection as seen from this blurb extract:

‘Certain desires and thoughts remain within our heart, we can’t express them, we wait for the right time, which never comes till they make inroads out of our most guarded fortresses to spill on to the pages of our choice. This collection is an echo of that love, which remained obscure, those yearnings that were suppressed, the regrets that we refuse to acknowledge.’

A glowing Editor’s Review by Mahesh Nair describes Balroop’s book as ‘…a steadfast repudiation of those ills that we painfully hide under the covers of our flesh to present the polished exterior as truth. This magnetic collection of poems highlights our precious human lives with all their varied emotions and imposing relations: the lives often blinded by the strictures of the self-made duplicity, an excessively common phenomenon. ‘Listen to your heart, my friend. It knows you well,’ she writes.’’

Balroop, I am listening to my heart … and to you. I am sure these poems, these thoughts and emotions will resonate with many of us.

No poetry book post would be complete without a poem and I am delighted to include an excerpt from one of Balroop’s poems found in ‘Timeless Echo’.

Screen Shot 2018-07-06 at 11.27.07

‘Timeless Echoes’ can be purchased on the following Amazon links US UK DE FR ES IT NL JP BR CA MX AU IN

You can connect with Balroop via her blog,  Twitter,  Facebook.   Or on many other social media sites.

‘A COMPELLING DEBUT BOOK!’

book-2808775_1280

A heartfelt thank you to everyone who has read and/or reviewed my book over the past couple of months.

It’s amazing to read your thoughts about my collection through your comments and reviews!

Reviews are the ultimate gift for authors and the latest one on Amazon for The Storyteller Speaks was the perfect start of the month for me!

Overwhelmed with joy, I read it over and over and was touched how Lauren Scott managed to bring in so many aspects of my stories and poems. My warmest thanks to Lauren for her wonderful review and for letting me share it here on my blog.

Featured Image -- 5975A COMPELLING DEBUT BOOK!

The stories and poems in Annika Perry’s debut book are indeed compelling. Each one evokes various emotions from everyday life.

I’ve followed Annika’s blog for awhile now, so I wasn’t surprised at how wonderful the final outcome turned out to be. The cover alone is stunning! She has her magical way of playing with words to pull the reader in, but keep one hanging on until the end.

However, not all of her writing in this book is lighthearted; some is pretty dark. There were times when I smiled, moments when I was horrified, and occasions for tears. The beauty is that with each turn of the page to a new story or poem, the reader is pleasantly surprised.

With this being said, it was difficult to choose favorites, but I managed to pull out a few: Chillies in My Handbag, Bouquet of White, A Rare Passion, Stars of Wonder, and Loss of a Patriarch, which personally resonated with me because of my father’s passing last fall.

Another bonus to this creative compilation was the About the Stories section at the back of the book. I really enjoyed reading how each story was born.

Overall, anyone who chooses to read this wonderful collection of short stories and poems will not be disappointed. This was a wonderful start to Annika Perry’s writing journey, and I’m sure I’m not alone in anticipating new publications from this amazing author.  

5.0 out of 5 stars

by Lauren Scott’

If you want to check out The Storyteller Speaks it is available here at Amazon US or Amazon UK. Thank you so much!

Lauren Scott blogs at Baydreamer and this is her ‘space for sharing poetry and photography, and for initiating occasional discussions.’ It’s always inspiring and heart-warming to read her posts and chat away via comments. Do pay her a visit!

NB. I have turned off comments for this post.

EXCITING TIMES…COVER & BLURB REVEALED

Did you hear that whoop of joy? That screech of overwhelming excitement and happiness? It is with utmost delight and sense of pride that I can unveil the cover of my collection of short stories entitled, The Storyteller Speaks.

The ebook will be out in a few days.

TSS_Kindl_72dpi

No book cover reveal would be complete without the accompanying blurb.

About the Book

It only takes one event to change a life. What is that action, decision, occurrence? Whose life is affected? Changed forever?

In this eclectic mix of 21 short stories, flash fiction and poetry the pendulum swings between first love and murder, from soul-destroying grief to reconciliation. The tales veer from the sweet satisfaction of revenge to new beginnings, from heart-breaking miscarriages of justice to heart-warming Christmas misadventure.

One common thread binds them all; the belief that there is no such thing as an ordinary life; they’re all extraordinary.

Open your hearts and minds as The Storyteller Speaks.

In moments of thrilling ecstatic elation I just need a quick bop and this is is one of my all-time favourite songs to which I let my hair down and dance – I hope you can join me.

A week ago I posted my publishing woes when I was let down. Just as I had accepted the inevitable long delay before starting anew my journey to publication an email from Sally Cronin at Smorgadbord – Variety is the spice of life popped up my inbox.

I read it over and over. Could it be true…I both laughed and cried with joy; my hope re-kindled.

Sally wrote to say how sorry she was for me and that as she and her husband are publishers they would only be too happy to take on my book and prepare it for publication. David runs the publishing company and I was soon in touch with him at Moyhill Publishing.

Both Sally and David were adamant that we could get the book out by Christmas and ever since emails have been winging their way back and forth between David and myself.

David Cronin is a true professional, a joy to work with. His speed in returning amended proofs and answering questions is unbelievable. No query was too much, every step of the way was explained…all in the midst of proofreading and for him formatting the manuscript.

Meanwhile, there was one major hurdle – the cover, or rather lack of one! I  remembered Debby’s  beautiful cover of her latest book. I looked at her book cover designer’s website and found a fabulous cover for my book. I  immediately emailed Yvonne Less at Art4Artists. Within minutes and despite the early morning in Australia I had a reply! After this initial email it only took a few days until I had the finished cover.

I cannot thank David and Sally enough for coming to my rescue; they are both such warm, wonderful people. They work with great professionalism and expertise and the past week has been very uplifting for me.

I am overjoyed and honoured to be published by Moyhill Publishing.

The paperback book is ready however we are just waiting for print proofs and space at the printers. It will be published in January 2018.