Foreword Reviews

Prayer, Praise and Poetry

Clarion Rating: 3 out of 5

Prayer, Praise and Poetry is a reflective poetry collection that shows reverence for nature and God.

Susan Champion’s Prayer, Praise and Poetry is an uplifting collection that shows a thorough knowledge of scripture.

The collection’s themes include faith, maturation, war, and loss. Verses are formal and often religious, though not all poems are religiously informed. Christianity is ingrained in many lines, even in poems that fit with a more wide-reaching worldview: angels send comfort and joy; the audience is encouraged to “be amazed at creation.”

Poems often end with judiciously chosen biblical quotes, especially in the opening “Praise” section, where poems take on a searching tone. The collection’s religious orientation is also evident in poetic explorations of questions like “Have you ever been trapped in a sea of sadness?” and “What Can I Do?”

The collection also traffics in observations and more mundane matters like personal debt. Non-religious poems include an Edward Lear homage and a whimsical fairy-tale riff, as well as a tribute to Queen Elizabeth II. Topical issues, including Brexit, are also covered.

Moving and heartfelt personal poems are included as well, with a series on the anniversary of the poet’s husband’s death. These vividly capture the mourning process and look forward to “perhaps strolling [together] on a celestial shore.” The poet’s life, which included time in Africa, is also reflected in expressed concern for elephants in “Bang! Bang!” and “Gangs” and in the strongly narrated, sentimental “Tribute to Nelson Mandela.”

Poems draw suitably from classical formats, with paired couplets and rigid meters, and traditional influences are apparent in their references. Stanzas are tight, scanning in textbook fashion. Inconsistent rhyme schemes and overly easy, awkward, or forced rhymes undermine some lines.

Across the collection, the dated poems evolve from basic rhymes and rhyme schemes to more complex ones. They have a consistent sing-song flavor and are organized thematically. Despite varying subject matter, the collection is coherent and consistent in tone, with a well-honed perspective.

Complete poetic stories are built upon descriptions, as in “The Quiet Man,” where concrete language conveys a character’s alienation well; the title man

knows no sound
The call of a blackbird, or the bark of a hound
He speaks with his hands, but few understand
This language of the quiet man.

Some poems are moralistic; some are funny. All get their intended messages across.

Prayer, Praise and Poetry is a reflective poetry collection that shows reverence for nature and God.

Reviewed by Joseph S. Pete

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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