Foreword Reviews

In Season's Dream

Clarion Rating: 4 out of 5

In this original, ambitious, and unexpected poetry collection, the seasons are mined for meaning in verses that impart dreams and share a new perspective on reality.

R. Tirrell Leonard Jr.‘s seasonal poetry collection In Season’s Dream, captures the natural beauty, mystery, and sensations of the American Northeast’s yearly cycles.

The initial poems about spring introduce the book’s ongoing themes: wonder, hope, and dreams. Many poems take place during walks in woods, setting an attentive, reflective pace. Although often set in a specific location in Massachusetts, the emphasis is on the poet observer enjoying time for contemplation and the gifts that nature offers for pondering, including of puddles, flowers, and air.

The book’s first seasonal section features its shortest entries, which include repeating phrases as refrains. Meant to spark sensations and be retained, they include lines like “Still, my lilies are flowing / Weaving color in the lush greens.” They pack movement, texture, and color into single, rich images.

In the summer-set poems, the subjects shift from wonder to more heated topics like dismay over the world’s warring ways, spiritual questions, and love lost. A poem about Hurricane Sandy is among the section’s other poems of lament; it reveals engagement with the wider world, including with issues of climate change and political division. Love is treated in an oblique manner: the entries’ women could be understood either as individual people, or as nature herself. Mythical figures appear, tying entries to historical and literary contexts.

The book’s autumn-set poems adopt a serious tone and invoke awareness of the surrounding universe. Some address God and fate, assuming a prayerful posture: “Before I’m faced with God, I ask to feel.” One entry insists on adaptability; later, the poems explore new forms, as with “The wind whispers through the willows, / Branching willows gracing the isle.” Words carry over from one line to the next, conveying a sense of persistence and resolve.

And the book’s winter-set poems develop the preceding sense of resoluteness even further, as in a long narrative poem whose lead character receives a cosmic mission from a ghostly presence at a campfire. Dialogue is added to the book’s techniques—a new source of of variety, depth, and interest. Over the course of the book, a noble character emerges to take up the dreams of the poems and institute a new reality in verse and attitude. The yearlong, cumulative effect results in an original, ambitious, and unexpected poetry collection.

The insightful poems collected in In Season’s Dream are transportative; they convey appreciation for the natural world and humanity’s place in it.

Reviewed by Mari Carlson

Disclosure: This article is not an endorsement, but a review. The publisher of this book provided free copies of the book and paid a small fee to have their book reviewed by a professional reviewer. Foreword Reviews and Clarion Reviews make no guarantee that the publisher will receive a positive review. Foreword Magazine, Inc. is disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.

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