by Carla L. Ibanzo
Print Length: 114 pages
Reviewed by Jadidsa Perez
A lovely collection that serves as a portal to many different worlds
Carla L. Ibanzo’s Word Petals covers a myriad of topics. From life in Japan to life back home in Jamaica to reflections on tradition, this book is expansive yet succinct, thought-provoking and surprising.
Like petals on a flower, the words beautify the narrative and color it. There are poems centered around religion while others ruminate on growing older and enjoying the present. A lot of the poetry is also meant to be inspirational and to push the reader to take risks despite hesitations. There’s a nugget of wisdom in each poem that will leave a lasting impact.
The poems that I gravitated to most are the ones about the author’s homeland and family. “Jamaica Noice” and “You are Love” are especially notable. “Jamaica Noice” is like a song of praise about Jamaica that uses patois, imagery, and notable Jamaican landmarks to transcend beyond the enjoyment on the language level. In “You are Love,” the focus is on the author’s Aunt Sheila. It’s sweet, emotional, and has a wonderful message to it. I really enjoyed how the relationship is portrayed and the powerful lines: “To me you embody what it means to love.”
There is more than one speaker in this collection. Among the best of these is “Blush Pink Dahlias,” where we discover a broken-hearted man whose lover leaves without saying a word. The only thing he has to remember her by are the dahlias she planted, now in bloom. The tie-in with the flowers and the title, Word Petals, is clever and worked well for me.
While I liked the content, I do wish that some of the poems incorporated a more diverse rhyme scheme. They tend to follow the same scheme, making some lines feel lyrical but a lack of variation making it hard to make distinctions between the more serious cases. I liked the haikus as they broke up the monotony in the format, but I could have used more.
There is much wisdom to be encountered in this collection. If you’re a lover of poetry, you’re going to find plenty of pieces to admire in this book. For me, reading Word Petals was a great experience and a chance to learn about the world from a different lens.
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