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Travelling in the Mind

Clarion Review (3 Stars)

The smallest of moments can have great meaning. The short poems in Daniel Micheal Hermon’s Travelling in the Mind touch on many things, from the look of “a great church” and a one-toothed man to a beloved cat and clouds in the sky. His pieces speculate on the thoughts a person might have when riding a bicycle to work or gazing through a car window. There are no limits to the paths and ideas Hermon touches on when he allows his mind to travel.

Hermon has a gift for endings. The poems’ closings often leave a lot to the reader’s imagination and make small moments seem large. For example, the final line in the poem “I Am a Nomad,” which chronicles the narrator’s journey on a bicycle, packs a punch: “[Be]Cause I am a nomad from nowhere.” This closing inspires the reader to wonder why the narrator feels as if he or she has no home or roots.

Other stand-out poems focus on what happens to the elderly in nursing or “care homes,” where they receive little attention. In “What Happens Next,” Hermon describes the “shuffling” of the elderly as caretakers seek to fill “schedules,” as well as “the cracks in residents’ lives.” This poet is not afraid to get to the truth, no matter how depressing.

The poems in Travelling in the Mind pierce surface observations. In fact, there are important lessons to learn from Hermon’s poems. For example, in “The Self-Important Person,” he describes a woman who “barks” out orders. He notes her “nervous” cough and describes how she lives in parallel universes, one where she criticizes and maintains control and another where she is uncertain and insecure.

Though Hermon’s poems are earnest and tackle universal subjects, they are quite short and use basic language. As a result, experienced poets or literature enthusiasts might balk at the obvious rhymes and basic forms. But these pieces are anything but simple. Hermon demonstrates the depths that can be reached when an intuitive mind is allowed to ruminate on life’s meaning.

However, the collection would have benefited from more extensive proofreading, and a more diligent copy editor would have corrected the haphazard use of commas throughout. Lastly, Hermon pairs each poem with a photograph, which causes his collection to feel like a personal scrapbook.

Lisa Bower